Three and a half years ago, I knew this day would come- though I had no idea it would be 3 1/2 years- I figured shorter. I also figured when this day came, I would jump for joy. I didn't know I would be torn between that emotion and sadness and reluctance. So, what am I talking about? Yesterday, I was released from serving with the Young Women at church. A truly bittersweet day.
A quick explanation for readers not of my faith (for those who are, feel free to skip to the next paragraph...) Our church members do all the work- no one is paid, not even our bishop- as volunteers. We are asked by the leadership to serve- we are given "callings". We believe that the leadership prayerfully considers who should fill each roll and that they are inspired as to who to "call" to a certain position. When they feel they know who it should be, we are asked to fulfill the calling. We always have a right to say no, but we generally accept because we believe that serving in different areas, even in one we never expected or wanted to, gives us opportunities to learn and grow in different experiences. We believe that the leaders are inspired, so there must be a reason the Lord wants us to serve in that capacity.
So, when I was called to the Young Women (girls age 12-18) I was terrified because I had no experience with teenagers and was honestly kind of afraid of them. I was more tempted to say no then I ever had been before. But, I also learned who the other adult leaders would be, and they were my friends, and I knew there had to be a reason why I was being asked, so I accepted. The first presidency meeting I went to with my fellow leaders did not go well for me. I am not even sure they know this. When I had that first meeting with Katie, Kelly and Tiffany, I felt so overwhelmed and inadequate. They all discussed different ideas while I sat there feeling lost, like I had nothing to offer. My two (at the time...) young children were acting up so I could barely concentrate as it was. I left that meeting and cried the whole way home. But, they were patient with me and I prayed a lot and managed to grow and learn the calling just as Heavenly Father promised I would. The women I have served with in this calling (Katie, Kelly, Tiffany, Mary, Beth, Bylle, Autumn, Suzanne, Ashley, Andrea, and Alysha) have become dear friends- and I may not have gotten to know them as well, if not for working with them.
I feel like my best teachers were the Young Women themselves. I learned so much about them and their needs and their challenges. They really have so much to deal with, but are such amazing girls. I never imagined how deeply I would come to love them, worry about them and pray for them. The calling is challenging time wise- Sunday lessons, weekly activities, camp, and other activities that take the leaders away from home. But, I often looked forward to the activities we did together.
However, there comes a time with any calling where it must end. Most callings last a couple years- sometimes more, sometimes less. Then we are released and called elsewhere, giving someone else a turn to serve there and you a chance to serve somewhere else. On one hand, I was tired and burnt out and ready to move on. But, I had also become used to the calling and the girls and there was comfort in it. I knew I would be released soon anyway because it had been so long. But, Aaron's school schedule changes next quarter to where he will have class the same night as the Young Women activity nights so I can't be there. The girls need someone who can be there.
I was truly sad to say "good-bye" to the girls. What I really honestly don't understand is that they were sad to see me go too- even the ones who I didn't think cared as much for me. I really feel that I got more from serving with them then they did from me. I really don't know what I gave them other than love, my time, and I did my best, though I can't help but feel it wasn't enough. I will certainly always remember them. I can't wait to see the women they will be someday because they will be amazing! I am so grateful I rose above my fears and accepted the call. It has been an amazing, crazy, fun, stressful, sometimes aggravating, spiritually uplifting ride.
I am still awaiting what my next calling will be. I don't yet know. For now, I am enjoying the peace of no responsibility for the week or so until I am called to the next position. I know it won't be long. And really, even though the peace and quiet is nice, I wouldn't want it to last too long. I like being involved, serving and contributing. I am definitely a person who needs to feel needed. I will update when I know what is coming! Any guesses?
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