Sunday, March 24, 2013

"Look Mom, My Friends Are Here!"

I was asked to share a few words at the Relief Society weekday meeting this month. It is the "birthday" of relief society this month and we organized a "speed dating activity" for the evening so the women could get to know each other better. I wanted to post the talk I put together. I had a hard time coming up with what I wanted to say. I thought about it all week, looking up stories and such on the internet, but nothing was inspiring to me. Luckily, during school it all just came to me. The spirit really works in amazing ways like that.

Relief Society Birthday Talk:

My kids love running around at McDonald’s. They love to take a bite of their cheeseburgers and then go down the slide… Back for a French fry or two and off to more playing. Zoey always says when we first walk in “Look mom! My friends are here!” about other children that are there playing too. She has never met these children, but to her they are her friends, and often time in minutes it seems as though they had been friends for years.

I admire this in Zoey. She accepts everyone into her circle. She has enough love to share with a play place full of children. She loves them and accepts them as her friend without hesitation. They don’t have to prove themselves as worthy friends. She gives no judgment. She just loves.

Can I be silly in saying that Relief Society is the McDonald’s playhouse for women? I experienced relief society for the first time at USU after high school.  I was embraced in two different wards in Baltimore, and also by this ward when I moved here a year ago. With 6 million women around the world in over 170 countries I know that I can walk into any LDS church building and say “look mom! My friends are here” How lucky we are to be part of an organization that accepts us all with open arms, without hesitation and with lots of love.

This year we are celebrating the 171st Birthday of relief society.We come from such an amazing heritage of women. More than 170 years have passed since the Prophet Joseph Smith met with a small group in Nauvoo, Illinois, to organize the women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Our history teaches that the same principles that existed in the early Church are our foundational principles today.

I love the first line of the RS declaration that states “our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction”.
This knowledge and our purposes—to increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and help those in need—draw a connection between our past and our present.

While in 1840’s women lacked the right to vote, own property, or often the right  to speak in public.  Now in 2013 it seems we can’t shut up. Such different times, yet Relief Society serves the same purpose now as it did then.

Elaine Jack 12th RS general pres stated : We are part of a grand whole. We need each other to make our sisterhood complete. When we reach out to clasp the hands of our sisters, we reach to every continent, for we are of every nation. We are bonded as we try to understand what the Lord has to say to us, what He will make of us. We speak in different tongues yet we are a family who can be of one heart”

Yesterday I called my mom for our  daily chat and she asked if she could call me back because she was having dinner with Diane O’Neil. Diane in her mid 30’s has been inactive since she graduated high school. My mom is her visiting teacher and meets with her regularly and many other inactive women in her ward. My mom is always having these women over for dinner, going on walks, spending the day shopping and so many other things. My mom considers these women her friends. These women consider my mom her friend. They are not given the dreaded inactive title in her mind. They are women who my mom loves and generally care for.  Not only does my mom know and love Diane, but so many of the women in her ward who have reached out to her through the years, seen her grow up and love her for her. Who knows if and when Diane will come back to church but if she ever did, I know she would be able to walk into that relief society room and say “Look! My friends are here”

Sister Mary Ellen Smoot 13th general RS president declared "My desire is to plead with our sister to stop worrying about a phone call or monthly visit and concentrate instead on nurturing tender souls. Our responsibility is to see that the gospel flame continues to burn brightly. Our charge is to find the lost sheep and help them feel our Savior’s Love."

President Kimball said, “You are going to save souls and who can tell but that many of the fine active people in the Church today are active because you were in their homes and gave them a new outlook, a new vision. You pulled back the curtain. You extended their horizon. You see, you are not only saving these sisters, but perhaps also their husbands and their home”

Our theme this year is to develop a PURSonal relationship with our Heavenly Father  and what better way to do this than  by serving and friendshipping the sisters in our ward, I know that it will bring us closer to that goal.

We all need friends. We all need to feel that we are seen and heard and accepted. I know that the women in our Relief Society has so much love to give. Our relief society presidency loves and cares for all of us so deeply. It is comforting to be led by women that truly understand what this organization is all about.

I hope tonight can be a fun night for us sisters to get to know each other better and have fun building friendship as we celebrate another anniversary of the organization of the Relief Society. 

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