Visiting Teaching

My visiting teachers are amazing. Each time they visit I receive confirmation from the Spirit that Relief Society and Visiting Teacher are inspired of  God. Women in this church are amazing. We have been counseled to ‘stand strong and immovable’ and to be ‘ambitious to do good’. And let me just say that in every ward I have been to around the world I can see how the Visiting Teaching program has changed the lives of many women.

A few months ago my mother send me this fun little hymnal-style tribute to the women in the churhch. I do not know who the author is (so I apologize for not giving credit where credit is due).

Glancing through the Hymnal last Sunday I noted that as Sisters in Zion, we who are called to serve are all enlisted to go marching, marching forward because the world has need of willing men to all press on scattering sunshine. We wonder if we have done any good in the world today because we have been given much and want to do what is right, keep the commandments, press forward with the Saints, choose the right, and put our shoulders to the wheel going where He wants us to go. However, as the morning breaks high on the mountaintop, truth reflects upon our senses, and while we still believe that sweet is the work, we also realize that we have work enough to do ere the sun goes down.And thus we askThee ere we part, where can we turn for peace?

Thank you, unknown author.

6 Ways to Belong in Relief Society

Let me start by saying that most of these tips will actually work to feel like you belong anywhere, and certainly anywhere within the church.  Let me also stress that I know that these ideas work because I’ve seen them work.  And in most cases, they have personally worked for me.  It’s really hard for me to feel like I belong.  I’m a back row lurker.  I slip in early and stake out my lonely corner and practice looking down so that nobody feels compelled to join me.

But boy does that get old.  I soon felt like I wasn’t getting anything out of Relief Society.  I felt like I didn’t belong.  I soon realized that what I got out of Relief Society was directly proportionate to what I gave to Relief Socitey, or to my sisters as a whole.

Once I realized that I had some control over the situation, I was able to experiment and finds ways to truly feel that I belong.

  1. Attend Relief Society. I know this seems like a no-brainer, but it’s really not.  If you’re not there then it’s more difficult for you to feel that you belong.  Just ask someone who’s been in Primary for a few years.  Going to Relief Society is the first step in feeling like you are a vital part of it.  For those of us with callings in YW, Nursery, or Primary, there are still ways to feel like you belong.  Ask your visiting teachers or another friend to pick up handouts or to take notes for you.  They’ll be inspired to pay attention, and you’ll get a recap of all that’s happening.
  2. Avoid the back. Now if you have a legitimate reason to be in the back, (screaming toddler, appointment with the bishop, have to leave early) then by all means fill up those seats.  But those of us hiding in the back…it’s time to move up.  Trying sitting just one row ahead next week.  Move up a row each week and see what happens.  I think you’ll find that you’re more engaged with the teacher.  It’s easier to make eye contact, or give a reassuring smile.  It makes you feel braver and bolder.  And you should be bold, you’re awesome and wonderful!
  3. Read the lesson. Finding time to read your lessons will be another post, I promise.  But making time to really read your lesson and ponder it’s meaning in your life goes a long way to connecting you to the sisters around you.  Read it early in the week, and watch as the Lord brings new experiences and reminds you of past ones that fall right into the theme and purpose of the lesson.  Being prepared allows you to be a blessing to others as well.  Maybe there’s another sister hiding in a back corner that will take comfort from your voice and experiences.
  4. Speak up. When your teacher asks for someone to read or begs someone to share an experience, raise your hand and offer up what you have to the sisters around you.  It’s a small thing, but it does so much.  Think of your offer to share as another way for you to sustain the teacher in the classroom.  It’s another way for you to witness of the blessings and help that has come into your life.  Don’t be afraid, the Spirit will guide you.
  5. Attend Enrichment. I have a huge bias here because I’m the Enrichment leader for our ward, but whenever possible attend Enrichment meetings.  Go to learn something new.  Go to provide service to your sisters and others.  Go because you love the Lord and have faith that he will lead you to things that will enrich your home, your family, and you.
  6. Pray. Pray for strength.  Pray to feel the Lord’s warm embrace.  Pray to find friends among your sisters.  Pray to feel that you belong.  He will comfort your heart, lift up your spirits, and guide you.

I hope that these basic things will help you increase your feeling of belonging, because I know that you do.  We are daughters of a Heavenly Father who loves us and we love him!  Each of us is unique, precious, and beautiful.  As we learn to reach out to those around us, we will feel the refiner’s fire molding and shaping us into the women we would be.  How grateful I am for that knowledge and comfort.  I hope that you feel it working in your life as well.