Monday, October 22, 2012

All Women are Daughters of God

Do you ever wonder what your relationship, as a woman, is to God? 

Who are we and who are we meant to become? What is our purpose and our destiny?

All women are daughters of God, and as such we each have divinely inherited qualities and a unique purpose in life. I rejoice to be a woman and cherish the opportunities to express my femininity and learn to be more loving by serving those around me in my family, community or even online.

 Jesus has a special place in his heart for women. Some of his best friends were women. He was quick to bless and teach and honor the women in his life, especially his mother, Mary.

"The world's greatest champion of woman and womanhood is Jesus the Christ."

--James E. Talmage in Daughters in My Kingdom, page 3

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that I belong to has an organization for women called the Relief Society. It is the oldest organization of its kind in the world. The motto for the Relief Society is "Charity Never Faileth." (1 Corinthians 13:8). All women who are members of this church are also members of the Relief Society. Women of other faiths who attend Relief Society are warmly welcomed and encouraged to participate.

The Book, Daughters in My Kingdom, published by the Church, explains more about the history of the Relief Society and what it is all about. A link to the book can be found {HERE}. It is available free to download or read online.

For anyone interested, the most recent General Relief Society broadcast can be found {HERE} to listen or watch for free online. I encourage any woman to view this; I found it absolutely inspiring and I felt the spirit of God as I listened. It is meant to teach and inspire any woman!







What do women in the Relief Society do?

On Sunday, in addition to regular worship services presided over by the priesthood leadership, there are classes and also meetings during the month where we women teach one another the gospel of Jesus Christ. We also teach one another informally in our homes during the month. Women also lead the children and young women's organizations within the congregation, working alongside the men who are leaders in the congregations (called wards or stakes).

We also learn the things we need to know to care for our families, like cooking or managing finances. The women in the congregation take care of food for funerals, meals for families with new babies or those dealing with illness or recoveries from surgery, and any time a family has a need that the Relief Society learns about, the connections are made to the men in the congregation and the help is given. For instance, when families move to the area, people from church volunteer to help load or unload their belongings in their new home! It is truly charity in action.

Just as no two women are alike, I have found that to be true in Relief Society, as well. I have met women of all walks of life: single, married, divorced, mothers of many and some with no children. Some young, some in the twilight of life. Some came from different faiths before joining the church themselves and others who had always been members. The women I have met through Relief Society don't fit any stereotype I am aware of. They give to each other and to those in their communities and the world without a thought of receiving anything in return and in hope of emulating Jesus Christ.

 This organization has been a blessing to me in my life, personally. Allow me to share a few instances of how it has.

Sisters (that is how we refer to each other in the Church, as brothers and sisters) from the Relief Society brought meals when my Mom gave birth to my brothers and sisters and regularly came to visit her to cheer her up and befriend her. That blessed our family because my Mom's mother had passed away before I was born and her only sister lived in another state. Having the Relief Society support her while she was in the middle of motherhood blessed me in that way. It helped her feel loved and remembered, and in turn, she was able to be more loving and kind to us children, as well as meet our physical needs better. My Mom visited other women in the congregation and lifted them as she could, blessing others, and being strengthened herself in the process.

Later, when I was grown and single, I attended church in a different congregation than my family. I did not worry about making friends; I knew I would soon connect with the other sisters in Relief Society. I served in the primary (children's ministry) with other women and learned so much from them and appreciated their friendship in return.

I have such warm memories of the friends I made as I visited with other sisters in their homes each month and others came to visit me. My most memorable visit was in my car between college classes and work! We encouraged each other in each of our real, everyday lives and our testimonies grew stronger because we lifted each other during times of fun and faith and during times of doubt.

I married and moved to another area of town, and once again found myself in another congregation (ward). This time, I felt very new to the married-adult world and was not sure of how I would fit in. Another sister, already having raised her own children, came to know me and was my companion in visiting teaching, a program by which sisters visit one another in their homes monthly and share a scriptural message and offer help as needed.

This sister taught me by her loving example how women care for each other, without affectation or pride. She was confident, cheerful and determined and her strength and kindness reached me at such a crucial time.  As she invited me to accompany her to cheer, serve, and bless the sisters we were assigned to meet, I learned to serve with love and without judgment. I also began to feel like I belonged and what I had to offer was vital for others.

I could tell so many more stories. This same sister and I went together to meet with another sister who lived in a trailer park in a difficult situation, had bad health, and many grandchildren who were dependent upon her. When we discovered the grandaughter of the woman was in a difficult situation within the neighborhood, she notified another woman in the Relief Society. That woman and her husband talked with the grandmother, gathered more information, and they raised the money to send this girl and her siblings to a pacific island to be reunited with their parent. The grandmother also received assistance to help her in the ways she needed. Her burdens were not erased, but certainly made more manageable.

This was such an out-of-the-ordinary experience. It taught me that people are meant to seek out and care for each other, even when it is not convenient or the person in need is not someone whom we would normally choose to associate with. It touched me as to the extent these women cared, enough to do something extraordinary to help others, even when their own lives were busy and hectic.

My heart is full of love for the dear women, the sisters, who overcame depression to make the time to serve, even if it was a loving word for someone else. There was one other sister, with several children and another with special needs, who always made the effort to call me and arrange visits so we could go to meet with a few other sisters in our congregation, to help them. No one knew her situation and what it took for her to make the effort to serve these other women, but I knew, she knew, and most of all, God knew.

Then, there were the sisters who came and ministered to me. When my youngest son, our third child, was in the hospital for pneumonia and he was just a few months old, a dear friend and Relief Society member came and cleaned my home and helped with my children. Others brought meals for our family. My Mom and Mother-in law, who are also members of the Church and Relief Society, helped hold my son in the hospital when I needed to rest and also helped take care of my other children when my husband needed to work. Although it was still a difficult time for our family, it was made easier to bear with their love and help. I could list so many other instances of service and love given at the hands of women who chose to be angels in my life.

I am grateful to be a member of this great organization within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It teaches me how to become more like the Savior by inviting meaningful service on my part. It reminds me of my purpose in life and encourages and teaches me what I need to know and do in order to be following Jesus Christ, in a real-life, everyday kind of way, in the roles I have as a woman: granddaughter, niece, cousin, daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend.

To you who read this post, I invite you to learn more about the organization of Relief Society and consider how it can bless your life and how you can be involved in it, as a way to bless others. I welcome email or comments along this line. May you each be encouraged in the ways you choose to bless others each day, as the unique and loved daughter of God that you are.


Blessings,

 

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing about what your church does. In our churches we don't have an official program like that but it's great isn't it to have sisters in Christ that mentor and help each other!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow Eve, that was an awesome post on the Relief Society. I loved all your thoughts. I don't know what I would have done if I hadn't had the support of Relief Society Visting Teachers through the years. I have also loved serving in the Relief Society organization through the years. I love the Visiting Teaching program.
    What a wonderful post.
    Blessings to you and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry I am a little late on replying to this post. Thanks for your comment, LeAnn!

      Delete

Thanks for your comment today! I love reading your thoughts, too. :-)