Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A message to my sisters

I’m going to have to change the name of my blog to Katie’s blog about something (instead of nothing). Once again, I don’t find the following post to be pointless- and for that I apologize. Sunday was ward conference. I was supposed to give a 5 minute message in Relief Society. Since I was not in town that day, I wrote my message during the week before and my 1st counselor read it for me. I wrote this message specifically to my sisters in the 5th ward, but I think there are parts of it that every one can take something from.

My dear sisters,

I am sorry I’m not here to share this message with you in person. I hope that the same spirit I feel as I’m writing this to you will be conveyed through the reading of this letter and be present as you hear it. Actually, I’m rather grateful to have Rachel read this instead of my delivering it in person, because it will save me the embarrassment of crying in front of you.

Usually when I’m asked to teach a lesson, give a talk, or share a message without a topic being assigned one of two things happen: Either I know what I need to say right away and it’s the easiest talk/lesson/message ever written or, I think of a topic right away, but then think that’s not what I’m supposed to go with, struggle to find what I think it is I’m supposed to share, write and rewrite the lesson or talk only to return to the original topic I had thought of first. This time lucky for me there was no struggling and is one of those times where the message practically writes itself.

If there is one thing I would want for us to know at this time, it is that we are loved. I know we know this. It is such a simple truth and a truth that has been taught to us since we were sunbeams: “I am a child of God, and He has sent me here...”, but it is a truth that seems to be easily forgotten, and every once in a while we need a little reminder. The knowledge that God loves us is not just a comforting idea in our heads to be repeated as a “Sunday school answer”- it is a comforting feeling. It amazes me how much love our Heavenly Father has for each and every one of us as individuals and as a group of sisters in the Antioch 5th ward. My desire for us is that we are able to not only know in our heads that we are loved, but to be able to feel of it.

Growing up, I had always known God loved me. Primary made sure I knew. I knew it in my head and could repeat it whenever I was asked. When I was in Young Women’s we had a lesson about God’s love for us and how we were of worth. We were encouraged to ask our Heavenly Father during our next personal prayer if he loved us. I thought this was a stupid assignment. I’m not fond of people telling me what I should be praying about, especially in my personal prayers. I already knew God loved me, everybody knows that. During my prayers that evening, despite my dislike of being told what to do, I found myself sincerely asking my Heavenly Father if he loved me. The feeling that overcame me before I could even finish formulating my question was surprising. My answer wasn’t just a confirmation in my head of what I already knew was true like I expected or the normal “this is right and good” feeling, but an overwhelming feeling I was sent of how much I was cared for and loved- that God loved me was no longer just an abstract idea in my mind that I could repeat in Sunday school. I wasn’t expecting that feeling. I wasn’t expecting any feeling, at least not a feeling as strong and sure as that one was. It brought tears to my eyes as my understanding of what I meant to my Heavenly Father hit me. It left such an impression that I can remember that experience to share with you 10 or 11 years later.

I love my Heavenly Father, and I am so grateful to know of the love that he has for me and for you, and for each of us sisters in the Antioch 5th young single adult ward. I am grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ that makes it possible for us to return to Him. I love my savior. He loved us so much that he gave his life in ransom for ours. The scriptures teach us that: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son...” (John 3:16) and “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). We are loved. We are of worth. We are cared about. It’s a wonderful feeling that I hope we are all experiencing and never forget.

Sometimes, many times, God’s love is seen and experienced through the love that we have for each other. In this way we also prove our love to Him. It is not necessary for us to die for those we love, but there are other ways we can “lay down our lives for our friends”. Mosiah 2:17 says “... when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” I know that we all have a deep love for our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ, it is what brings us together as sisters in Zion. I truly appreciate the love that we have for our sisters here in this ward. I can feel of the love that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for each of us and I know that our love of each other is a reflection and a symbol of the love we have for Them. I’m grateful for visiting teaching and the opportunity to share our love for our sisters, Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ through this service. I appreciate all of our efforts we give each month to strive to get every one of us visited, I know it’s not easy. I am grateful for my visiting teachers and the time they take to share their love for me.

I want you to know that you are loved by so many people. Your family and friends love you, my counselors and I love you, your visiting teachers love you, the bishopric and their wives love you, the stake RS presidency loves you, Stake leadership and general authorities love you, but most importantly Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ love you. I know we know it, but I hope we can feel it because knowing it in our heads isn’t nearly as nice as feeling it in our hearts. We are of worth. We are known. We are loved. We should know it, and we should feel it.

Finally I would just like to thank you for everything you do and for all that you contribute to our Relief Society. We are a fantastic group, and I feel so blessed to be getting to know all of you.

I feel like I should write: Sincerely, or Love, Katie, since I wrote this like a letter, but I guess I should end it the way we’re supposed to: in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.