Thursday, October 6, 2011

Remembering the RS General Meeting 2011

One of my favorite quotes from RS General Meeting.

For the past 2 months I have been busy working along side over 300 other women memorizing music, lyrics and having an incredible opportunity!   I don't know how to explain what has truly happened to me this past couple of months but I could try to sum it up by saying -I've changed.   September has been an especially difficult month and yet also a glorious month!  

This past summer I was called into my Bishop's office and sat with my husband, Bishop and one of the High Councilmen in my stake.   I wasn't sure what on earth I was going to be asked to do but was very relieved to find out they were asking me if I would commit my time and talents to sing in the Choir for the Relief Society General Meeting.   I was happy to say yes but also a little nervous.  Brad had just been called  a few weeks before to serve as 1st counselor in our ward.  As I listened to the amount of time I would be away from my home I worried about how I would fulfill my commitments and be able to do it all.   I admit it was a little overwhelming to think about.   It wasn't so much the practice time but it was one more thing on top of trying to figure out our new home routine now that Brad was away serving much of the time.   I am thankful for a husband who was willing to support me and a Bishop who made it possible for my hubby to be home when I needed to be at practice.  
(Thank You Bishop Anderson!!!)

It wasn't long after this meeting in the Bishop's office that life began to be extra chaotic colorful.   School began right after our first practice as a choir (we were practicing lyrics on our own for weeks before this 1st meeting..we had to have all lyrics memorized for four different hymns).   While my girls were ready for their first day of school I wasn't ready for the drama that came home each day that week.   Being a Mother of a 6th grade daughter is much harder than I ever dreamed.  The first week was full of tears about not being good enough for certain friends and feeling left out.   It was also full of frustrations as my this same daughter came home with math homework that she couldn't really remember how to do.   I wondered what I was in for and shed some tears of my own.  But then a wonderful thing happened.....I went to choir practice.   Not only did we learn some music and sing but we were given short little thoughts or talks given by a General Relief Society Board member  and a Stake President and then at the end of our practice our director (who happens to be one of the main characters in the new movie "17 Miracles").  I left practice that night spiritually fed and my well filled in a way that helped me be ready to take on another week. 

The next week Camden finally started Kindergarten.   I cried of course and wished I would have taken more time with him while I had him all to myself.  I kissed him and smiled as he walked into his room and prayed he would have a good day.    As I picked him up from school I learned it hadn't been such a great day...Camden had gotten into trouble on his first day.  He colored all over the teachers table.   So much for a good start.   I spoke with him and we set up a rewards system here at home in hopes this would help and it did a little but the very next day Camden got in trouble again for getting paper all over the bathroom and playing in the soap.   So much for a great second day.    I was worried about Camden at school to begin with but then as my worries played out I was frustrated and worried even more.    Then I remembered what our director had said as she spoke to us at our practice.   She quoted the Prophet Joseph Smith saying "If you live up to your privileges angels cannot be restrained from being your associates".  I knew that this was what my little guy needed....some extra help to be good.   So I began to pray that Camden would have an angel on each side of him to help him learn how to behave at school.   That day he had improved...this improvement has gone on each day and Camden has learned how to behave at school.   I am sure he will still have some hard days but I feel a million times better and Camden feels alot more confident.  I am so thankful that help was sent  and prayers were answered.

This episode with Camden is one small example of what has transpired in my life during the end of August until the actual day we sang for the RS meeting.  Our family has dealt with watching our 11 year old have her heart broken by friends, her finger broken during PE, our 5 year old struggle at school, illness affecting 4 out of 6 of us.   I personally have dealt with being told I didn't have enough faith, my good name being drug through the mud online because I spoke about something I believed needed attention.   I also made a mistake in my calling in my ward that has caused me significant worry and stress and while I have made amends (and was lovingly forgiven by my friend) I struggle to let go of the worry that goes along with this particular aspect of my responsibilities.   There are other items I could list but lets just say there has been some emotionally draining events that aren't huge but have affected me deeply.    So it was a surprising moment when I heard from Sister Thompson during our dress rehearsal the Saturday before the RS Meeting.  She said something to the effect of  - Are you having a hard time?   Then went on to say something like (I don't have exact quotes) - If you haven't yet you will.   She then went on to explain as they prepare for the RS General Meeting they as a RS General Presidency they go through some hard things.  She didn't elaborate on what they were but basically said they have challenges.   I felt a sweet peace come over me as she spoke.  I finally realized why the past weeks had been so difficult.   Or course the adversary wouldn't want me to be involved in this amazing experience.  And I had days where the thought of just quitting came to my mind.   I wondered that day what the other women's stories were as they had gone through these weeks preparing.   Suddenly my load felt a little lighter.   I wasn't alone in my struggles.

As I look back on the past number of weeks I realize just how much the words spoken during each of our choir practices help sustain me through another rough week.   The words  spoken by these incredible leaders filled my well and helped me carry on.   They quoted Prophets, quoted from the new RS book "Daughters of My Kingdom" and quoted scriptures.   We were taught to "keep our eyes on the Lord","replace fear with faith", "That we are not perfect, but we are perfectable".  The list could go on and on.    We were told that our theme for this choir was "These are days never to be forgotten" and I have to tell you that I will never forget them.    While I went through many things I also received many things!   I have had thoughts come to me that are just for me to help me be a better person.   I have watched our family be blessed by the hands of friends around us and I have seen living angels come to my door bearing loafs of bread or a plate of cookies just because they were thinking about me and wanted me to know I was loved.   One particular friend came with a loaf of bread on a day where I had been sobbing all morning.  When I answered my door she knew I had been crying (it was all over my face kind of obvious)  and she said "Hi!" and I said to her "how did you know?".  She replied "I didn't.   I just wanted to serve someone today."   I thanked my Heavenly Father for sending this sweet friend to my door that day.   It helped me remember the Lord is aware of me and loves me.   Once again I think of that quote spoken of during my practice..... "If you live up to your privileges angels cannot be restrained from being your associates."  Some angels may be unseen but I know that an angel was sent to my door that day  and she delivered much more than a loaf of bread.

The day of the RS meeting came and went much too quickly.   I loved every moment of that day.   Even when our bus broke down int he  middle of Salt Lake City and we started to walk in our dress shoes, black skirts and white tops it was glorious!   Other than singing, my favorite part of that special day was seeing the love Sister Beck and her counselors have for each of us.    I felt love from them and from their General Board members.   I also had the opportunity to see my own Bishop there in the building as we walked to get our sack lunches in a hallway between the choirs seats and a small theater that we sat in while waiting to be seating for the meeting.   My Bishop saw me and came and gave me a hug.   My Bishop works for the church and was there for work but took the time to tell me and the other sisters in my ward hello.   It was another testimony to me that this Gospel is about the ONE...each one matters and each one of us is loved by our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ.    

I will never forget this experience and all that I have learned.
My heart is full of gratitude!!

If you made it to the end of this long post...
thank you for letting me share this special memory with you. 
Special thanks to my hubby....I couldn't have had this experience without your help....thanks for all you have done to make sure I was there!


Becky Jones said...

It was a life changing experience. I will be forever grateful for the lessons that I learned. One of my favorite quotes from Sister Wadley is, "You are enough!". Never forget that!!!

Unknown said...

I ♥ your blog, thank you for sharing this! sounds like an amazing experience.

The Loves said...

You are an inspiration to me - I am always uplifted and encouraged to move on in my rocky world as I read your blog! If I don't "forget" you, then it is for sure that our Savior and Heavenly Father "forget you not"!