When I got my calling to serve as the Relief Society president in our church congregation (over two years ago now…whoa!) I may have mentioned my conversation with my sister-in-law.

I was overwhelmed feeling the heaviness of this new responsibility. She had been a Relief Society president in a couple different capacities before so I knew she would have some words of wisdom for me.

When I told her the news, she started tearing up.

At first I was sure I was in for it, and she must be ready to spill the beans about how hard this new stint was going to be.

But that wasn’t why she was crying.

She was crying because she was so happy for me. “You are the luckiest that you will get to work with the women in that capacity!” she told me. “You will fall in love with all of them.”

Well, this sister-in-law was right.

There is nothing like working in the Relief Society.

Women are amazing, and in Relief Society you get to work right smack-dab in the middle of them.

You get to “hold space” for them in the sacred moments, whether heartbreaking or soul-soaring.

Just as they hold space for you right back.

I have learned I have to be really careful with my balance. There are never-ending things to do and people to love and include. But my sister-in-law was right, it is sacred work. And I’m so grateful for all I am learning, and for the women who are teaching me every day.

Some recent happenings I want to remember:

We do “ministering interviews” every quarter. That seemed like a lot at first, because there are 115 women in our church congregation. But I love that opportunity to talk one-on-one so much. In the Fall, rather than have these interviews at my house or do phone calls, we finally decided to do what we heard so many other wards have done: have a little drive-thru at the church. We hopped in each person’s car and got to catch up and “minister” to the “ministers.”

Loved that they lifted us as we tried to lift them in that slanted winter sun.

These counselors and secretary are the best ladies ever.

Over Christmas one of our friends passed away.

She has battled MS for forty years but was only 62, leaving five grown boys and their young families. It has been a pretty heart-breaking journey. I was able to be with that family in some pretty sacred space through it all, and then in sacred space again as so many women (and men too!) stepped up to love and to help and to lift and to mourn together.

So grateful for this friend who has taught me so much over the last two years. Every time I would try to comfort her and serve her she would reflect right back to me, lifting me instead. A couple texts from her from the hospital: ” I don’t have a lot of energy right now, but I just wanted to say how much I love you.” And when I asked for hospital visiting hours: “you are welcome to bring your cute self over any time.” (this is when she was in the most pain). She was an incredible woman and I am better because I knew her.

I was overwhelmed with the goodness of women once again this weekend as everyone showed up to feed the extended family after the funeral…soups and homemade rolls and salads and just so much love in that special place to honor this good woman. (this was before we moved the tables out to add chairs after the funeral):

My sister-in-law was right: I got a front-row seat to all that goodness.

A couple weeks ago I somehow got “stuck” with the role of teaching our Relief Society class at church to introduce our new 2023 theme for the year: “Everyone Belongs.”

I started out with this little clip from the Morning Show my friend had sent me:

I hope this link will show it.

Just kind of about how important it is for us to be intentional about making connections. Lots to think about with that little interaction. What is our responsibility? How do we open ourselves for connection, etc.

But we also talked about how “everyone belongs” means so much more than belonging to our ward family. It means those with different beliefs belong, those who are struggling with completely different issues belong, those who may not think the same way we do belong. If we truly believe we are all children of God, then everyone truly belongs in a very deep and true sense.

And we need to let them in and learn from them. (These women are so good at this they teach me always.)

We are using the horseshoe symbol Brooke Romney has spoken about…she is SO WISE!:

Horseshoes are symbolic because they never close.
While a circle denies entry to some, a horseshoe always leaves room for more.
There’s room for people to enter, to leave, to come back, to be seen, to belong
.”

We decided for the birthday gift for 2023 we are giving these cuff bracelets (horseshoe shape) as a reminder that “Everyone Belongs.”

Oh there is so much more going on. Every day so much more.

But I’m just here to say i’m so grateful for my sister-in-law’s words of wisdom:

Relief society is the good stuff.

Everyone belongs! If you ever want to join a Relief Society, you know I can tell you how! πŸ™‚

Happy Monday!

Similar Posts

8 Comments

  1. I remember the day I was called to be RS president, I felt this overwhelming love & responsibility to these amazing women. The 3years I served were some of the hardest and some of the best. Your sister In law was so right!
    There is something so special about been apart of their lives, it’s a beautiful thing.

  2. You may have referenced this work already. It supports what you are expressing.
    “The Good Life: Lessons from the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness” by Robert Waldinger and Marc Schulz
    The happiest and healthiest people are those who have warm connections with others, says psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, who leads the Harvard Study of Adult Development — one of the longest-running studies of adult life ever conducted. Exploring the crucial link between social bonds and quality of life, he shares wisdom and insights into how to identify and strengthen the relationships that impact your well-being most. When it comes to the people in your inner circle, “Turn toward the voices that make you feel more open and more inclusive,” he says.
    https://www.ted.com/talks/robert_waldinger_the_secret_to_a_happy_life_lessons_from_8_decades_of_research/c
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IStsehNAOL8)
    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/01/harvard-happiness-study-relationships/672753/

  3. Oh wow, I love this post! I have been immersed in Relief Society this week. As the Activities Chairman in my congregation, there is so much to do, but I am making lifelong friends because of our work together. We have been watching the previews of this movie and are excited to see these wonderful friends in action, two in their 80s’ Lily ad Jane, one in her 70’s Sally Field and Rita who is 91. Friendships get even better with time and Relief Society is such a nice place to grow old with friends!

    1. My friend does a lot of jewelry so she buys wholesale from some different places. She was able to get these for us.

  4. I was RS president for a few years quite soon after returning to church after some time away. I loved it, and completely loved all of the sisters. I didn’t know that that connection with them was possible. I think a proportion of that comes with the calling (and wears off a while afterwards- just to warn you!) but I definitely still have feeling of love and understanding which have lingered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *