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A New Heart

By Melissa McQuarrie

211b62fe-c569-4100-83a0-2fd868f9ab1c1Four years ago, when the bishop announced during sacrament meeting that a new bishopric would be sustained the next Sunday, I almost ran screaming from the chapel in terror. For several months I’d been shrugging off the premonition that a bishopric call was coming to my husband, and my husband had seemed to sense something coming, too, as he was pondering and praying more, and pouring over his patriarchal blessing—an ominous sign, I thought. It seems silly now, but at the time I was truly afraid. Because, unbeknownst to just about everyone except the Lord, my husband, and a few close friends (yes, I can keep up a capable facade), I had just recently surfaced from a long bout of depression and anxiety, and I still was feeling shaky and bruised and fearful of any change or disruption to the life I’d so carefully held together. So when those premonitions came, I pleaded with the Lord to be mindful of my emotional struggles and our family situation and begged Him call someone else to the bishopric, just in case.

Imagine my fear, then, when the bishop made that fateful announcement. Later that day, as I was changing out of my dress and tights, heart still pounding with dread, I told myself that we just had to get through that week without getting a phone call from the stake president’s office, and then we’d be home free. I’m embarrassed to admit that I actually toyed with the idea of taking the phone off the hook—for the rest of the week, for the rest of our lives. I felt like Jonah—or, more accurately, Jonah’s wife—wanting to encourage my husband flee to Tarshish instead of obediently sending him to Ninevah (not that our ward was Ninevah, but you get the idea). Sure enough, later that night the dreaded phone call came, confirming what I’d known and feared all along: it was the stake executive secretary, asking my husband and me to meet with the stake president the following Wednesday evening.

The next few days were exquisitely painful as I cried, begged the Lord not to do this to us—to me—and poured out my worries to my poor husband, who was struggling himself to face the impending call. Added to my fear was the guilt I felt for selfishly focusing on my own concerns and not giving my husband the support he needed. Why was I so weak, so lacking in faith? Did I actually want to hold my husband back from his own progression, from serving the Lord? Luckily I had enough sense to ask my husband for a blessing that Sunday night, and in the blessing I was assured that the Lord was acutely aware of our situation and mindful of our needs, and was lovingly giving both of us an opportunity for growth. And then I was promised that the Lord would provide a new heart for me so that I would be able to accept—even embrace—this change in our lives.

Over the next few days I thought about this phrase—a new heart—often. A new heart was exactly what I needed, and, as my husband and I talked and prayed together and attended the temple, that new heart started to grow as I received whispers of insight and comfort. Rather than feel condemned for my inadequacies, I felt understood and loved. I realized that the Lord had been tenderly preparing us for this calling for months, that He knew me intimately. And I remembered that He’d always helped me do hard things. I thought about when I was preparing to go on a mission; I’d actually told the Lord I’d go anywhere He wanted me to go except for South America…..and then I was called to Peru. And though I’d been terrified, I’d accepted the call and had ended up loving my mission. I remembered other hard tasks I’d initially shrunk from, but in each case I’d been strengthened and ultimately made equal to the task. Gradually, during those three days, I went from feeling afraid and unwilling to feeling a little less afraid and wanting to do the Lord’s will. And somehow my pleas changed from, “Please don’t make me do this” to, “Help me do this.”

That Wednesday night as we met with the stake president and my husband was called to be a counselor in the bishopric, I was still shaky and scared, but resolved and willing, as I told the stake president of my recent struggle with depression and worried aloud about my ability to cope with my husband’s demanding calling. I received empathy and kindness, and more reassurance that the calling was inspired, and promises of help and support from the Lord as I supported my husband. And in the days and weeks that followed, though I had to make adjustments, we were blessed—I was blessed—as we entered a new phase of growth and change. And, somewhere along the way, my weak and doubting heart was remade.

Have you ever struggled with accepting a calling or supporting your spouse in a calling? What blessings came as a result of that calling? How has the Lord helped you do hard things?

About Melissa McQuarrie

(Advisory Board) grew up in Australia and California and now lives in Provo, Utah with her husband, four children, and their dog, Daisy. She served a mission in Peru and has a BA and MA in English from BYU. She loves reading, writing, and quiet afternoons. She does not love grocery shopping. Now that two of her children attend BYU and her youngest children are in high school and junior high, she is trying to adjust to this "emptying nest" stage and still wondering how it snuck up on her so fast.

30 thoughts on “A New Heart”

  1. Similar – ? – I was married or the 1st time in my late 40's – 49 to be exact. I have married an attorney. His schedule is often contrary. Sometimes all of a sudden he is home, it is never the same. He commutes to his oice, so if there is no court or appointments – he works at home. (so why is it you can get nothing done when they are home? – some weird physics thing?)
    Last week he did a trial on Thursday. Each nite after he came home at varying times he announced that the evening had to be VERY QUIET! We don't have Tv, so that was pretty simple. Fortunately my hobbies are crochet and quilting, very quiet.
    He would practice his opening statements with me and his jury queries, I pretended to be the jurior that didn't understand or disagreed – that was fun, i can disagree!.
    It was sweet, intimate and time and others, strained. But…he's my man…….

  2. When our children were very young, I resented his absence all the time. And one Sunday, he came home to my persnickety attitude and said he would go ask the Bishop to be released because he couldn't continue to come home to where he was feeling so guilty for his absence. His words stung and I resolved to find that new heart. It took a while, but it changed my feelings and perspective about serving in the church.

    It was a sweet blessing to learn at that time.

  3. Struggled with accepting a calling–yes! Just a few weeks ago, while I was struggling with being childless on Mother's Day, I was called to meet with a member of the bishopric. And the only calling I could think of that needed filling (they had just shuffled several auxiliaries the week before) was Activity Committee Chair. And my heart sunk. As I thought about it, I knew I couldn't do it. My husband is struggling with his testimony, and does not come to church every Sunday. He is also struggling with our ward, and hates coming early for activities or leaving late. I have been serving on the committee for the past year, and despite promises, the committee has remained four people to serve our very large ward. And on top of all of that, I don't feel qualified to plan family activities when I don't have children. For all of these reasons, I begged the Lord in prayer and while fasting to remove this cup if it be His will. I felt empty and weak, and wanted to be faithfully willing to accept any calling, but just couldn't. Even when meeting with the bishopric member, my heart sunk when he said "Activity" until he finished the phrase as "Day Girls." And then everything was alright again. I can do Activity Day Girls.

    I don't know if the Lord would have had me serve as Activity Chair if I had been willing to accept the calling. Maybe I denied myself blessings by choosing not to be willing to accept that hard thing. I know the Lord blesses us when we serve, from experiences as the daughter of a bishop and from my own service in the past.

    Melissa M., I commend you and your husband for your willingness to serve and pray for the Lord's blessings to be with you.

  4. I learned a lot about callings one year when I was asked to be Nursery Leader. I had known about the interview ahead of time, and in discussing the possibilities with my husband, we were concerned that a call could keep us from joining the parenting class they had just announced.

    So, as we sat with the member of the Bishopric, I explained why I wanted to say yes, but was reluctant to accept — that we really needed this parenting class.

    The brother's face lit up, and he explained that the parenting class would be on Sunday nights, allowing us to do both! I knew Heavenly Father was mindful of our righteous desires, and gratefully accepted the call.

    One other thing I've learned — the truthfulness of what Melissa said about being prepared for a calling. When I was called to serve as Education Counselor in a Relief Society presidency, the Lord helped me remember how he had prepared me — previously calling me as a Teacher Development teacher, etc. It made accepting much easier.

    That calling was one of the sweetest I've ever had — partially because it was right when they were trying to teach us how to lead discussions rather than lectures – I saw amazing things happen as the sisters applied the counsel!

    But most of all, my heart grew, filled with an immense love for each of the sisters in our ward — I could feel it even driving past their houses! I think that was a taste of "joy being full." Sweet!

  5. These thoughts you had resonnated with me: "Added to my fear was the guilt I felt for selfishly focusing on my own concerns and not giving my husband the support he needed. Why was I so weak, so lacking in faith? Did I actually want to hold my husband back from his own progression, from serving the Lord?"

    My husband served in the branch presidency for a year. About two weeks before his release I had a temple recommend interview with a stake counselor. It was a really bad night, DH worked late and my teenager was at YW activity so I had 3 kids in tow. I did not have a good attitude, so when he asked how I felt about attending church I told him the brutal truth. Not that I had lost faith, but that I didn't have the physical capabilities to wrestle a 15 month old for 3 hours while serving in primary. A recent undiagnosed illness had taken away my zest for service and my patience.

    Two weeks later with no notice my husband was released. No explanation, no loving pat on the shoulder, just the release. Yes, I still see his lost opportunities as my fault. Especially now that he is going through a 'funk'. I wonder if he had retained the calling if it would be what he needs to weather this storm.

  6. My husband has been serving this past month as a new counselor in the stake presidency, but he is concurrently serving as the bishop of our ward until a replacement is called. I think several women in our ward this week may be feeling like you describe, because I certainly did, but my reticence was last month.

    Coming to know how to support a spouse in a calling that requires sacrifice for the whole family is as you speak a process of developing a new heart. It's a new opportunity to come unto Christ ourselves. What I've learned is how personal this process is, just like my own conversion, but all over again. I can't tell you what I do, it's tailor-made by the Savior to fit my needs and circumstances.

  7. When I was called to be the ward chorister, I was terrified. I was a trained opera singer, but knew nothing about leading music. When that first Sunday came I got up, waved my arm around, sat down, and cried until the sacrament hymn. I did the same for the sacrament and closing hymns and spent the rest of my Sunday hiding in the mother's nursing room.

    The organist had noticed my embarrassment (and lack of skills) and lovingly volunteered to teach me. We spent some Saturdays practicing together until I got the hang of it. I'll never forget her kindness.

    I know that the Lord will lead us to the right people to help us in our callings–even (and especially) if we have no clue what we are doing. He wants us to succeed.

  8. Thank you for your comments, ladies! Jendoop, yours was particularly poignant. I think many of us have felt that resentment and weariness you described. It's especially difficult to support your husband in a time-demanding calling when you have small children (and more so when you aren't feeling well). I don't think you should feel guilty for having those feelings or for honestly expressing your struggles to the counselor in the stake presidency when he asked you how you were doing. The counselor in the stake presidency just happened to catch you on a bad night. I'm just sorry the situation seems to have been handled poorly—perhaps the stake presidency should have followed up on your conversation a little differently by visiting with you and your husband first to see if a release was really what you both wanted, and then they could have offered counsel, support, or perhaps a release—I don't know. They should have at least explained the release to your husband and given him that pat on the shoulder. But I hope you'll let go of the guilt you're feeling over the incident and stop blaming yourself for your husband's current "funk." Hard to do, I know, but I'm sure the Lord doesn't want you to keep condemning yourself for being human, for just being understandably weary in a difficult situation. My heart goes out to you.

  9. DH hasn't been with us on a Sunday morning since 2003. He was called to be the EQ Pres 4 days before our third child was born. He was released from that calling to be put into the high council and he was released from the high council last August to be made the bishop. When he was the EQ pres, I thought I was trying to counsel with my husband about having so many meetings, about him taking up the slack when everyone (including his counselors) declined certain tasks. But I was nagging. At least that's how he heard it. And it didn't help anything. Our marriage suffered; his service suffered and my bitterness increased. So when the next calling rolled around (shortly after child #4 arrived), I decided I had to change my attitude; that I couldn't attempt to counsel with DH on his calling unless he specifically asked for my opinion. I am so glad I learned that lesson. Because this current calling is SO much more difficult (and there are now 5 children and his job is 20x more demanding than it once was) and it is a visible weight on his shoulders. I can't add to that weight with my own bitterness (and I wouldn't have realized the weight of my "counsel" if I hadn't already learned the lessono 2 callings ago).

    There are so many aspects of his calling and supporting him in it with which I struggle. He is not home. Ever. There are all these unspoken expectations and muttered comments to and about me as the bishop's wife that are difficult as well. But the blessings are real. And they are creating that new heart within me, although I fear not quickly enough as I am still bitter in my heart on some lonely days. I often wonder what sort of person I'll be and what sort of family we'll have when this experience is over. It could be our undoing or our refinement. I'm hoping for refinement and on most days, I'm working toward refinement. I find myself most often thinking about Alma's followers in the Book of Mormon who weren't initially delivered from their bondage–their backs were made stronger instead. I hope that the most lasting blessing out of my husband's service is a stronger back for me and my family members. Until then, I chant the mantra I'm trying to teach my children: "I CAN do hard things." With the Lord, I can do hard things.

  10. My dad has been a bishop for pretty much as long as I can remember. I haven't ever felt the burden, however, because of my mom's outlook on the calling. She has always constantly talked about the blessings we have received as a result of his service, and has made us as children feel lucky to have him in this capacity.

    I'm sure she had to make an adjustment, much as you did. It is this adjustment that has made all the difference for our family and for my dad's service in this area. Your attitude will be noticed by your family, your husband, and the ward members–how wonderful that you have found such a positive one so quickly!

    I'm sure there have been hard times for my mom, as there will be for you. But I can assure you that there are blessings unmeasurable, for all involved, as a result of this calling.
    Best of luck to you!

  11. Throughout our short marriage my husband has served in several time consuming callings from Elders Quarum president (while he was working full time and going to night school full time after our first baby was born) to "our" current calling as ward mission leader in an area that is booming with missionary work but not so much with member support. I say "our" calling because, although I also have a time consuming calling as Enrichment Leader, I also help him as much as I can with his calling. He is gone two, three, sometimes four times a week. Most weekends we have a last minute baptism so while he is gone at work I have to make phone calls and put together a last minute talk, a program, call the aux presidencies for their support, email the members, etc. It's time consuming, but very fulfilling.

    When my husband and I were courting I was always amazed by his level of spirituality. I knew then that as soon as we were married I would "loose him" in the service of the Lord. But I'm okay with it because I wanted that kind of a man for a husband – someone with a passion for the gospel, missionary work, and service. I knew then, as I completely affirm now, that marring a man that was completely devoted to building up the kingdom would also mean that he would be and IS a wonderful father and husband.

    Do I ever wish he was at home with me on a Friday night rather than at a baptism? Yes. Do I ever get frustrated that we do not have any member support in our struggling ward so the responsibility more often than not rests squarely on his shoulders? Yes. Do I ever get lonely? All the time. But I also know that he is being the Lord's instruments to change lives. His impact during those few hours that he is gone throughout the week will be much more far reaching than if he were to spend two hours at a movie with me. But its all okay. We have a wonderful marriage and two beautiful miracle children. The scriptures say that only in loosing your life in the service of your God will you find your life. We've found a happy, fulfilling life in the Service of our God.

  12. Angie f, I feel for you. I had a hard enough time supporting my husband in a call to be a counselor in the bishopric—and my youngest child was six at the time, so I didn't even have babies to contend with—but it would have been a whole other refiner's fire altogether if he'd been called to be bishop. I know that many bishops' wives would sympathize with you; it is just plain hard to have your husband gone all the time. I think bishops' wives carry just as heavy a load—though in different ways—as their husbands do. You deserve the Lord's richest blessings and only sympathy, support, and love from your fellow ward members (I'm sorry you don't get that all the time). In writing this post it wasn't my intention to create more guilt—heaven knows we have enough of that already. I must emphasize that my attitude shift didn't occur overnight; it took many months for me to adjust, and I still grumble when my husband is gone too much. And, if my husband were called to be bishop (knock on wood) I would have to begin the process all over again. Some wives seem to better handle having their husbands gone all the time—I'm not one of them. Angie f, I think there is a special place in heaven for you and other bishops' wives.

  13. Have you ever struggled with accepting a calling or supporting your spouse in a calling? What blessings came as a result of that calling? How has the Lord helped you do hard things?

    Funny you should bring this up. This past month of May has been a huge struggle for me. I got a new stake calling, and it wasn't the stake calling that caused panic. It was a phrase from my patriarchal blessing that popped into my mind as I met with the Stake RSP and the high councilor to be set apart: "…help others prepare for the Millennial reign." It's not that that caused the panic, either. It's all the stuff that has to happen before the Millennium that was scaring the pants off of me and the fact that I was supposed to be preparing people for it, when I myself wanted to just ignore it all. I, too, thought of Jonah. As if me not doing my little calling would stall off of the horrible things that must occur before the Savior comes again. There were other phrases from my PB that also now took on enhanced meaning, as in, "Oh, that's not figurative language. That is going to be literal. Crap." So, this seemingly small stake calling spurred on 2 different lines of fear for me: Armageddon and a fear of just how powerful I might be. The fact that my normally confident self was now unsure and afraid made me even more fearful. (Enter this quote:“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

    —-from A Return to Love, by Marianne Williamson.)

    Add in a very sudden death of the 22 yo sister of one of my best friend's, and the upcoming baptism of my soon-to-be 8 yo boy by someone other than his seemingly active dad, and I was just a big mess of panic, fear, and tears (also very unusual and troubling). And no matter how my brain tried to tell my heart not to fear by studying the scriptures and praying, I just couldn't get through.

    I got a blessing from the high councilor who is over my RS calling. I filled him in a bit on why I was seeking a blessing, and why I asked him. He is an amazing man, and gave me a beautiful blessing. He addressed several of the concerns in my life right now. But not the fear. I was a bit troubled about it. But then, later that week, we had a special stake conference with Elder Bednar presiding. All three speakers addressed fear. Elder Bednar pronounced an apostolic blessing on us "Peace and settled-ness will be our blessing. When others panic, we will have peace and order. Look to our leaders and have safety." It was an amazing and humbling answer to prayers.

    I am still a bit scared of the things that will happen in the future and of what my roles will be in the future, but each time that fear rises up, I am able to get myself in check by telling myself "Faith, not fear" (thanks, username "Faith.Not.Fear"!) and to keep stepping forward one baby step at a time. And the Lord continually is pointing out in scripture, in hymns, and in lessons the fact that he is right there and will lead me through the hard stuff if I have faith.

    I also wanted to mention how grateful I am that my doesn't-believe-anymore dh is so supportive of me and the time I need to spend away from the family for my callings. I have 2 callings (technically one calling and one assignment) right now that are both pretty meeting intensive, and he has been so good about not making me feel guilty about being away from the family. I frequently tell him how grateful I am for his help and support and not complaining.

  14. I can get this way about certain callings for myself. As far as my hubby…let's just say I encourage him to take any calling… because he needs the work. 😉 heheh

    Sometimes I focus on how "hard" a situation, etc… is. I recently saw this post on Stepper: http://stepperwashere.blogspot.com/2009/05/act-ii.html

    I loved that it reminded me that… after the trials come the growth, blessings and understanding. It's something I have to be reminded of. The Lord has a plan – we just aren't privy to it, nor are our minds able to comprehend it. I believe that in our weakness He always makes us stronger. So… I guess REJOICE in our weakness… because we'll be dang BRAWNY by the time He is done working on us.

  15. i've been in kind of an opposite position since my DH isn't a believer any more. i've kind of pined away, wishing i were one of the "widows" that i see around me in my ward…who quietly sacrifice time together with their family so that their spouse can serve the lord. not that mine DH is home more because of his non-belief…so it's the worst of both worlds in a way.

    it's a different life than i thought i was signing up for when we married in the temple, but finding a way to not resent him for his changed beliefs has been a vital process. and it's ongoing still.

    meanwhile, i feel the same sense of inadequacy that you and so many others feel when it comes to service. we all adore those people who are amazing in their callings. who do such a fantastic job teaching our kids, leading our youth, and counseling us. i have what i'm sure is the greatest ward in the church right now…and i'm so grateful for all the people who do such an amazing "above and beyond" job in their callings. but i still feel overwhelmed with mine…almost no matter what it is. but i'm trying to have a change of heart about it. i think we'll keep getting the callings we dread until we grow to a point where we love all service, no matter what it is. i know one thing, if i ever say "i'd never do that", then i will almost ALWAY eat my words in a very short amount of time. unfortunately the opposite isn't true 😉

    here's to all of us continuing to become more pure in heart!

  16. So many of us have been there, haven't we? I struggled with my husband being the Elders Quorum President for the first 8 years of our marraige. I found it hard to be alone with the young children while he was gone to so many meetings. We spent less time together after we married than before so it seemed. Now he is serving on the Bishopric and I love it. I have never seen him so spiritually in tune or felt such blessings coming our way as a family. It has also been his favourite calling ever as he has so many opportunities to serve. I do feel my attitude may have held him back in our earlier years and I feel bad about that.

    For myself I am struggling with a release and a calling. I have just been released as the education cunsellor which I have loved every second of. The whole presidency has been released after serving only 18 months together, we thought we would be together longer. I know I have worked hard, and achieved a lot, but mourn it. I was so happy and felt I had found my niche. I cried every day for the 2 weeks leading up to the release from the stand and all through the sacrament meeting on Sunday when it took place. What a baby!

    Now I am back as in the primary again. I have previously spent 15 years here and feel rather pigeionholed. I know the presidency are thrilled to have someone trained to teach professionally and who will be there every week. I know it will be good for the children too. Right now I need to know it is right for me. I will do it and do it well, but already feel that I am serving and just waiting for my release to come which could easily be years away. Acceptance is partly here, I would never turn down a calling but am doing it with a heavy heart. Funnily enough I had always loved primary until I had an amazing calling in R.S. that I fell I love with. Maybe in a few weeks I will stop crying over it all.

  17. Dear Strollerblader
    Glad to be of help :-)! I have some great friends who are teaching me the importance of Faith, Not Fear!

    I was reading Pres Monson's Priesthood Session talk when the scripture he quoted (1 Peter 3:15) popped out at me:
    "…be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you…."

    I started to think of (and list!) all the things in the Gospel that give me HOPE — it was an amazing experience that filled my heart with peace!

    And it helped me conceptualize the things I know to be true — they are a great comfort — so that I can more easily share them with others.

    I'm still working on my list — it's awesome!

  18. It's funny; I can tell that my husband is happiest when he IS in a demanding, time consuming calling. I love being with him and seeing him, but I also know that he feels more needed and special when he's working hard and serving. I think everyone one wants to feel important in the Kingdom–especially guys.

  19. FNF, I love that scripture. If I were to have ready my hopeful answer it would combat negativity.

    Melissa, thank you for your counsel and assurances. When something like this happens it creates a ripple effect in my life that is hard to not take personally.

    Kay, I have shed many a tear over a release from a calling (esp YW). We are asked to serve with our whole hearts then are expected to let it all go, with a quick announcement over the pulpit. It changes your life to receive a calling or to be released from one.

    The whole concept and process of callings is so life changing that it is another affirmation, to me, of the validity of the gospel. They are not easy, but always bring some kind of opportunity for growth. It is encouraging to me to read everyone's experiences, to know I'm not alone in my conflicted feelings.

  20. This has really got me thinking. I am anon this time because I just got a calling yesterday that has left me shell-shocked. It won't be official for two weeks, till everything else gets worked out, but let's just say, I had no inkling. When I was asked to see the Bishop I thought it might be about my current calling, and some things we're trying to organize. This came out of left field and I'm not sure I can do it. Well, I know I can do it, I'm just not sure I'm the right one to do it. I guess The Lord knows me and obviously I need to have more faith. I'm hoping for a change of heart before this is all made official, because I am feeling extremely inept right now.

  21. Blue,
    It's hard to let go of those dreams and hopes we had. It takes time to grieve the losses of what could have been. I too have had to take a new look at my temple marriage. I think that I am through the worst parts of it, and I have a firm belief in the power of covenants. Heavenly Father won't let me down. And He won't let you down either. I always wanted and expected a husband that would be a bishop. But only time will tell what miracles may happen in the future. My life has been full of small miracles, "tender mercies," these last few weeks as I prepared for my son's baptism knowing that the reality would finally be out in the open when my dh didn't baptize or confirm my son. I feel for you. Blessings and tender mercies are on their way to you, too.

    Merry Michelle,
    I am the way you describe. My dh realizes this and knows how fulfilled I feel serving in demanding callings. He knows I would not be the same person he loves if he didn't support me in letting me serve in those callings, even though he's not into the Church.

  22. You're all leaving such thought-provoking comments! I so appreciate this forum of sharing and empathizing. Kay, I sympathize—I've gone through that grieving process as well, after being released from callings I've loved. I hope the clouds lift soon, and that you find joy in your new calling. ANON THIS TIME, I feel for you! A scripture that has helped me when I've felt weak and unprepared for a calling is Moses 6:31-34; it reminds me that the Lord will strengthen me and make me equal to the task, just as He did Enoch. I know you'll be blessed in your new calling. Strollerblader and Blue, I was especially moved by your comments. The blog editors are planning an Up Close series on living with less active family members soon—I hope you'll chime in with your experiences.

  23. Kay —
    Maybe you could be the connection between RS and Primary for all the sisters who haven't been able to attend & feast on the sweetness!
    Maybe you could help the new RS presidency keep the Primary more connected (what lessons are being taught, etc.) by keeping everyone in Primary posted.
    Since you've tasted the fruit, you can help lead them to the tree! You don't have to be in RS to be blessed by the lessons, but it does help to know what the lessons are going to be!
    Good luck!

  24. I remember President Monson saying once that his wife had never complained about any of his callings. That is probably true. It is also the reason I will never be a prophet's wife. Okay, maybe not the ONLY reason. 😉 But when he said it, I couldn't help but wonder if he didn't see her in quiet, solitary moments of intense struggle. If there aren't a few good friends along the way to whom she has cried out her heart in anguish for her husband's ultimate dedication to the Lord and what it meant for the slack she took up at home with their children. If her public face and private face didn't always match. For the struggle is something I relate to much better than the other.

    I had a friend tell me, when my husband was last in Young Mens that she saw her husband's years in a similar calling as an "investment" in her own boys' future and the time that her children would be in the scouting program. I couldn't help but ask, "How can any future, potential benefit with other men be more important than time with their dad NOW??" I'm still not sure.

    One of the best friends I've ever had was diagnosed with MS the week her husband was called as bishop. She had two babies along with the two little ones she already had while he was in his calling; he was released about a minute when they were surprised with another pregnancy. Five boys. I think she spends a lot of times on her knees: she has taught me that hard times make great women.

    Thanks for sharing this; you are a great woman.

  25. Nan, like you I will never be a prophet's wife. I wonder, too, about the wives of general authorities and what they must sacrifice and endure. Thanks for your insightful comment. And your friend with MS–wow. She's a much better woman than I am.

  26. I loved in the movie Chocolat when the wind would change direction and she would sense it was time to move on… Many times in my life I've had that feeling from the spirit, that there was a change in the wind… It seemed like a tender mercy from God, helping me prepare. I felt that in your story too, that God knew you were fragile at that time and was preparing you. As a member of your ward, I am sad that your husband has been serving for four years. That means that in a year or so there will be a change in the wind. I will miss the humble, kind, and gentle leadership of your husband. I am grateful that you have supported him with such grace and love.

  27. At age 28, about 8 years after my conversion, I was called into Primary and I was terrorfied. I had NEVER been in Primary, didn't even know the class names unless my son was in it, had never even TAUGHT in primary. My fundamental insecurity was I was terrible with children, I only like my own children and all other children are barbarian monsters. So I was called to be a counsellor in the Primary presidency and I cried. I had never been so scared about a calling. (Not even Cub Scout Leader, which came 4 years later).

    In the end, after nearly 2 years, I think my calling to Primary worked out really well. I actually think I was there for the other sisters, and not the children. I love love LOVE Relief Society, always have, so I made sure that we had the bond in Primary that they had downstairs in RS. I became good friends with all the women serving in Primary, who I wouldn't have otherwise been able to work and share with, and I'm still in contact with them all today. That's the biggest blessing from my hard calling.

  28. Melissa, I just wanted to say that the testimony you bore of God's awareness, love, patience, and understanding was beautiful. Brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing.

  29. My husband recently became a bishop after having served four years as a counselor in the bishopric and several years before that as a high councillor. He has pretty much always had a major calling, and while I have become used to it over the years, I really struggled a bit with this particular calling to be bishop…not so much because of my own issues but because he was already completely overloaded in every way at work. I had truly never seen him so stressed over his job, and I was worried, because becoming a bishop has always been kind of his worst fear due to his deep concern over his ability to counsel people. Of course, I knew he would be a wonderful bishop, but because he didn't know it, I worried about the added stress and strain when work was already more stressful than it had ever been. In other words, I had already been worried about him and then this new (and dreaded by him) calling came along.

    What I want to say is that the Lord is blessing us, and everything is working out. My husband has told me of experiences counseling ward members where he cannot even believe the words that are coming out of his mouth. He knows the Lord is magnifying him, and his anxiety has fled. What's more, we are being blessed in that, for the first time in his life, he is being able to set some firm boundaries at work and feel good about it. He's also considering retiring a bit earlier, which is what I had been wishing he would do ever since work became so demanding.

    We have always been more blessed than burdened by every calling, and while we are still adjusting, I believe that will be the case when he is released from this one, too. I can now truly say that I am grateful for it, though my "new heart" still has a little more growing to do. Thanks for watering it a bit more with your thoughtful post!


  30. Thank you, all of you, for your tender and thoughtful comments. I wish I could respond to each one of you personally, but just know that each one of you contributed wonderful things to this discussion.


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