Three and a half years ago the Bishop called our family into his office and asked me to serve as the Relief Society president in my ward. I thought he was joking. In fact, I asked him if he was serious and popped the Andes mint he had handed me into my mouth. He told me that he never jokes about callings and I promptly began choking on the mint. I was completely floored.
I had just turned 30 years old and had children who were barely 5, 3 and 1. We had been in the ward for a mere 14 months. There were still a few names I was struggling to match up with faces and I had no frame of reference for the 100+ sisters on the roll who didn't attend Relief Society at all. And, to top it off, I don't even like Relief Society (shhhhhh...). I figured things must be pretty desperate if I was to be the Relief Society president.
Despite all this I said yes. Because I have faith that "whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies." So I set about the work of Relief Society. It has not been easy. I have been continually humbled, inspired, frustrated, challenged and made to rely on the Lord. My greatest challenge has been fighting my own personality and tendencies, most specifically, I'm not compassionate by nature. But, with the help of the Lord, I feel that I was able to be compassionate when compassion was called for. And, more importantly, I was blessed with a counselor whose kindness and compassion helped to balance my shortcomings.
Over time I have come to appreciate the organization and purpose of Relief Society. I cherish the little glimpses I get of the quiet service that goes on amongst our ward sisters. I have become more grateful for the blessings in my life as I see others struggle with challenges that I have not had to face. I have grown, and I pray that I have helped others along their way and that the Lord will find my offering of service acceptable.
Yesterday I was released from that calling. I can't say that I'm sad, because that would be a lie. But, I do hope that I will continue to be challenged so that I can serve and grow and become more like my Savior because at the end of the day that's what it's all about.