November 14, 2018

the relief society

“Oh how we need each other!” —Marjorie Pay Hinckley

I am so blessed to be a member of the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Women need women. We each go through different experiences in life. We go through hard experiences and beautiful experiences. Within the relief society, we can lift, nurture, teach, carry, celebrate, and encourage each other. We are assigned individuals to minister to specifically. It is a beautiful and inspired program. 

I love learning from a variety of women on Sunday during lessons and discussions. I love hearing others bear their testimonies and share their experiences. I love the older women and their wisdom. I love the friendships I’ve developed through ministering.

I’ve been in many different wards directed by many different Relief Society presidents. My testimony of relief society has been strengthened in each one. 

But sometimes I have sat in those rooms surrounded by women and felt completely alone. And sometimes people have made comments that I thought were completely ridiculous. And, like last week at our dinner, sometimes someone does not know my name or who I am even though I’ve been in the ward for over two years and taught her daughter in primary for almost a year. Things are not always perfect!!

President Nelson challenged us to fully participate in relief society. That got me thinking about how grateful I am to be a part of it. And I truly am. Also, how can I make sure that I am fully participating in the relief  society and helping to fulfill the purpose of the organization? When I first heard the challenge I wasn’t sure there was much more I could do to participate, but now that I think about it there is quite a bit I could improve on.

The purpose of the relief society is to increase faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and His atonement, to strengthen individuals, families and homes through ordinances and covenants, and to unite to help those in need. What stood out to me about that is Christ, covenants, unity, and service. Within Relief Society we can help each other draw closer to Christ through example and conversation. Activities and discussions should be more Christ-centered. We can take our covenants seriously and attend the temple more regularly. We should become more united as sisters as we compare less and instead strengthen and get to know each other more as we serve together to help each other and those around us. 

More specifically, I think I can come more prepared for discussions when we meet on sundays, just like I would come prepared for book clubs or article group. Why do I treat showing up in relief society on Sunday at church any different than how I would treat attending an event or meeting outside of church? The lesson material is always available ahead of time and if I study it then I can be ready to both listen and share during the discussions. I’m certain I would get even more out of it if I was more purposeful and treated it differently than I do. 

I know I can also do better at supporting my sisters in relief society. I can notice them, introduce myself, talk with them, offer grace instead of judgement, and show more love. I can minister to those who I am assigned to, and also to those who I am not.

I can attend meetings with more gratitude for those who have prepared them. I can show up, participate, and offer support and appreciation. 

There are so many opportunities to participate fully in relief society. I am so thrilled that I get to do just that.