Wednesday, March 12, 2008

An Enriching Night

Last night I had the privilege of attending our church's monthly Enrichment night for members of the Relief Society of our church. This was truly an amazing night & very, very enriching to my life. For those of you who do not know what the Relief Society is, let me share something with you directly from the website.

Throughout the world, sisters in the Relief Society work with priesthood holders to carry out the mission of the Church. They support one another as they:

Increase their testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.

Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

Dedicate themselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.

Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.

Delight in service and good works.

Love life and learning.

Stand for truth and righteousness.

Sustain the priesthood as the authority of God on the earth.

Rejoice in the blessings of the temple. Understand their divine destiny and strive for exaltation.

Nine women from our ward were asked to share their thoughts on one line of what we call the Relief Society Declaration. Each of these women are amazing in their own way & I was so lifted up spiritually, mentally, emotionally by each of their shared testimonies. These women were so willing to pour out their hearts & share a piece of their souls with us that I was so incredibly touched. I too was asked to share my thoughts in particular of Line 6: Love Life and Learning & even I learned something from myself by sharing with others.

Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost:
When you have a major, sometimes life changing decision to make, how do you handle the pressure of that decision all on your own? How do you handle knowing that the choice you make could not only effect you but your entire family, your entire future? I have faced many a daunting decision such as this & after hearing the sister's thoughts last night on this subject, I was reminded how blessed & privileged I am to have the Spirit of the Holy Ghost in my life. Because with his guidance I cannot go wrong in any of these most life changing decisions because I know that I was guided by a spiritual gift given to me by my Heavenly Father to help me along the way. Never forget the Holy Ghost is there to help you.

Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood:
There were two major points shared about this topic that impressed me; one I did not agree with and one that I did. First it was shared that it is very difficult to find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood in today's society. We are constantly pressured by the world around us to compete with the working woman, make more money for our families & compete with the male race in many, many roles. This I did not agree with. From what I can recall (and these days it's not very far back & it's not very much) I have NEVER felt this way about myself. I have never felt pressured to be anything than what I was born to be & what I later on chose to be. First to be born a Woman & second to become a Mother. I have always felt divinely chosen to help in raising God's children to experience the nobility of being the only being on this Earth that could give birth; that would have such impact on children's lives that it would shape who they are to become as adults; to give of myself so wholeheartedly with no regrets in a position & calling like no other – that of Mother. And as far as finding joy in being a woman.I could go on for days. But, just a tidbit – beauty, curves, hair, makeup, being a wife, being a mother, shopping, shoes, girl talk, flirting, womanly persuasion, just to name a few. I rejoice every day (okay, besides while I'm PMSing & while I'm pregnant or giving birth) that I am a Woman!! The second point that I did agree with: In all the wonderful & magnificent creations God made, he created the Earth & all its splendor, the animals for companionship and for sustaining life on Earth, he created a protector and a provider for his last & great creation, which was Woman. He truly saved the best for last.

Delight in service and good works: In no other organization in the world have I ever been served so much. Have I ever been overpowered with thoughtfulness, service and good works than in the organization of the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. This organization embodies such amazing women all over the world who are willing to drop everything to help another sister in need, always smiling, always genuinely caring for that sister's life, for her very soul. It is truly amazing.

Love life and learning:
This was my topic, so I could share quite a bit about how I feel about it, mostly because at this time in my life it is a lesson I have had to learn over and over again. How to take the good with the bad & love them both. I love tears, I love crying because how else could we release so much of the good or bad that we feel? Can you imagine not having that outlet to let someone know how much you care, to let someone know how happy you are, to show your anger or hurt, to show your joy or love? It would be terrible & I joke with my husband when I am just down & out & crying my eyes out that crying really is the safest thing for me to do! Isn't it?? That is why I love our ability to cry. But, just as much I love our ability to laugh. My husband is one of the funniest people I know, one of the main reasons I love him so much, because he can make me laugh at the drop of a hat. Anytime, over anything, even in my worst moods, he can bring a smile to my face & a huge amount of laughter into my life. He too helps me to LOVE LIFE! Some of you may know that I do not have a college degree & some of you may even know that I knowingly & willingly flunked out of my first semester at college, never to return, never to try again. But, what I did do, was learn from my life experiences. I didn't do well. In fact, I lived by myself poorly, to the point where my parents had to use that store of unconditional love they have for me to rescue me from my mistakes & show me the right path again. BUT! In doing this & learning the hard way I gained many lessons I could not have, had I not lived it for myself. In this knowledge I hope to teach my children how to be strong & resourceful, how to choose good over evil & how to better their lives where I did not with my own. I may not be able to teach them algebra or chemistry, but I can teach them about life. And as a sister shared with me afterward, my time of learning is not yet over because even she at the tender age of 51, graduated nursing school & has not yet stopped learning.

Stand for truth and righteousness:
This was my mom's topic to share her thoughts on and even before she got up there, my mind was swarmed with all the lessons she taught me as a young girl about standing for truth and righteousness. As my mother and my friend, she has instilled in me a firm belief in the power of standing strong for what you believe in. I cannot thank her enough for these lessons. I have seen many a friend falter in the fight against evil. I have seen many a friend falter in giving up precious things for things less precious. But, I have also seen many a friend fight for the right. Fight for truth & stand strong in righteousness. My mother has always been an amazing example of standing strong for what she believes in & I am forever grateful to her for passing it along to me.

Rejoice in the blessings of the temple:
Understand their divine destiny and strive for exaltation: This was another wonderful topic, shared by my new friend, Christy. I was so impressed with her thoughts on how crucial it was to her life the example her parents set for her in making the temple such an important and constant part of their lives. To the point that she strove as a young girl to be a major part of the temple built in her hometown. She had been shown the wonders of the temple and wanted to know more herself and as she grew to know more she found a desire in her that would hold steadfast to the point where she made her dream come true. Her dream of being sealed in that very temple, to the one man she chose to spend time and all eternity with when that time came. In her sharing this, I was reminded how important is it to me to be that example to my children.

I thank my Heavenly Father for passing along to Joseph Smith the knowledge & authority to create this great Relief Society and for sending me to a family that love His Gospel and taught it to their children so that we too could become a part of this great & marvelous work. And I thank all the sisters last night who took of their time and of their hearts to share with others their testimony of these things we strive for as women and as members of the Relief Society.

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