Tuesday, May 27, 2008

From Clancy's Jar...

What church callings have you had? Which did you enjoy the most?

(Yeah Clanc, you should have just put this one back in the jar and carried on; however, you put your shoulder to the wheel so I'll play nice and follow your shining example!)

I joined the church on September 10th 1995. I was a freshman in College at Penn State at the time and had studied for about a year before making the committment. My first calling was serving on the Activities Committee. I was so busy acclaimating to the whole culture that enveloped my new membership that I am not sure I enjoyed it because I was so stressed worrying if I was fulfilling my purpose and doing a good job!

I left Penn State and moved to Logan in the Spring of June 1996 for the big Mormon experience and was quickly devastated. I specifically remember people bearing their testimony by introducing themselves and bawling about Princess Diana being dead. I was a crappy visiting teacher, didn't understand what I was supposed to be doing and felt inadequate. I understood what a jack mormon was when I became one. I reluctantly remember attending a Ward function with Clancy where they video taped us asking about our church experience and I just wanted to crawl in a hole and hide.

In the Summer of 1997 I was busy praying my guts out and begging the Bishop (of another Ward....yes I was a Ward hopper and he tenderly took me in!) to send me on a Mission; however, EVERY WEEK in his office he told me that my heart wasn't ready (had a broken engagement) and that I should carefully consider the many fine young men in our Ward.

Bleck. This only fueled my desire to serve and I specifically remember reading D&C 6 sitting outside of his office. It is still my favorite passage of scripture to this day. I continued to set weekly appointments with "my" Bishop (he was the BEST EVER). I started calling him at home and finally got my papers ;)

I left in February 1998 and really did love my mission. I was called to serve in Brussels, Belgium. Um, I didn't even know where this country was located. The only associations I had to Belgium at the time was our Belgian Shepard growing up (she was amazing), diamonds and chocolate! That was enough for me! It was an indescribable calling that tried me in every area to every limit but by far one of the most fulfilling! I absolutely loved it and knew I was where I was supposed to be.

I feel like I learned so much more than I ever gave. I loved struggling to master French (which I don't feel like I ever did), meeting people, teaching people and helping people to feel that things that I felt. I made friends that I will keep forever and this was just a small perk on the side. My mission added so much perspective and preparation for things to come...

I got home and went back to Penn State. I was called as the Relief Society President at our Branch; however, this was rather short in duration as I took off for Utah shortly thereafter following yet another prompting that the Director of Institute also felt when he was setting me apart! Good thing because I seriously knew nothing about what I was supposed to do and didn't really appreciate RS like I should have. What was Heavenly Father thinking?!

My next calling was teaching 15 year olds, which was extremely intimidating and short lived since we bought a home and moved. Then followed team teaching the Sunbeams with my spouse. We loved our little class and their sweet innocence! It brought so much insight and really felt like quiet preparation for parenthood. I still remember the children by name and one prayer in particular from a little guy named Tyler in which he prayed and offered gratitude that "we could all have good dreams and not be dead" after 911.

After this I taught a CTR 5 class and really enjoyed them as well. they were a funny handful but I enjoyed the challenge of keeping their attention and seeing them really grasp concepts. It was always interesting to me as you could always tell which children were learning at home and being supplemented at church rather than just learning at church.

After this I was called to serve as a counselor in the Stake Relief Society. I felt so out of place and inadequate all over again. The Stake President assured me that they knew what they were doing and that they needed me. I worked with some amazing women and gained a whole new appreciation for the Relief Society (turns out it really is way more than a country club for women who make Temples out of beads!!). This really was one of those callings that opened my eyes up even further and again left me feeling like I gained so much more than I gave. I still maintain friendships from this special time of service.

I asked to be released when things got difficult in my personal life and I pretty much made a huge mess for a while. My divorce hit and I was tried, tested and had put myself in the heart of the fire. I walked my own path filled with sadness, guilt and shame while I tried to figure out where I now fit into the church as a single Mother. I pulled through, life went on, I learned a tremendous amount and next served again as a Primary teacher for the CTR 6 class. This was fun because my kids were both in Primary and challenging because they both always wanted to come to my class!

I will attest that the greatest calling of all comes from the little people in my life! There are nights like tonight that make me wonder how on earth we are all going to survive (D has diarrhea again, Ellie was puking, he woke to bad dreams, she woke to "hot pee pee") this but I do so love my children. I was told a bazillion times by way too many doctors that I would never bear children and here I sit carrying number #3. Yes, Motherhood. Heavenly Father always has his own little plan for us despite what we think we know or what we think we need!

On the B Side: I learned the hard way that service is the best way to make a difference and feel a little bit closer to who we really are and who He really wants us to be. I love the perspective that comes and even more importantly I love knowing that we can bless the lives of others. It's a process and involves so many emotions that ultimately brings about personal growth. It didn't take me long to know that anytime I am feeling bad or down all I need to do is serve another as you truly do lose yourself by looking outside of yourself. I love this and really feel a deep gratitude and sincere love for the opportunity to serve.

5 shout outs:

Clancy in Idaho said...

You CRAZY lady! I just looked and saw your comment on my post! What are you doing up so late! You're pregnant! You need REST!

I guess I probably need rest too. And no, I am not saying I'm pregnant in any sense of the word... just donating plasma tomorrow and bodies don't like to donate plasma when they haven't slept enough. So, I'll go get rest too. I was going to try to get another post up for Ella's birthday, but it's proving to be too involved.

Good night my dear!

The Lingwalls said...
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Britta said...

Sarah, I can't decide if you are a mean girl or kind of funny. Either way you must know that my blog is for me, lady!

Someday you can catch me when I'm published until then you better stick with Thomas and stuff. Seems more your speed!

The Lingwalls said...
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Kristin said...

Britta girl, you continuously amaze me! What a fabulous post... you really do a good job of teaching me when you don't even mean to. I'm also learning a lot more about you with this questions... and not just the answers to the questions. Keep it up hun... I'm impressed!