Things are going to be changing for me in 2013. Today, I went to church and I enjoyed my last Relief Society lesson for a little while and I enjoyed my last Sunday School lesson as well. You see, I've been asked to teach the four and five year old kids in my church for at least the next year. That means I won't be the Wolf Den Assistant leader any more and I'm kind of sad.
I guess I should have seen this coming though. I've had several people in the Primary ask me if I was enjoying my calling (that's the term LDS people use when they are referring to the volunteer position they do for their church). I always said that I was. They always like to shake things up every couple years or so though in our congregation.
I went to church knowing it would be my last time with the adult members of the congregation for a bit. I will miss hanging out with the grown ups. But I can't wait to hang out with the kindergartners They are super amazing people and I know they will teach me a lot. I get to meet them at a fun breakfast the Primary leaders have planned for Saturday morning. I'm so not ready for church to start at 9:00 in the morning either. That's gonna be rough.
I'm trying to gather my thoughts in order to talk about the things we learned today. The whole three hour block of meetings just felt like I was being taught the things I needed to learn. Being a better parent to my children, why we need to repent and forgiving others. All things I know I can work on during this coming year.
I was talking to Kurtis about Zachary this morning. He's going to be twelve years old this year. It's a big deal. He'll be able to receive the priesthood if he wants to. I think he wants to, but in my mind, it's a huge responsibility that should not be taken lightly. He's not exactly one that I would call responsible and we've had some issues with the choices he's been making lately. He swears sometimes. Mostly at school where he thinks he can get away with it. He doesn't do his homework or pay attention in school. Now he is going to be evaluated for ADHD (again). We are fairly certain that his problem is not that he can't, but simply that he doesn't do things he doesn't want to do. We try to explain to him that life is pretty much always doing things that you don't want to do. These things give me pause though when it comes to giving him something that he will need to make sure that he keeps himself worthy to hold. I'm trying to tell myself that we're back at the same situation I was with Kaleb when I didn't want him to be baptized because I didn't think he was ready. That's it's not my decision, and it's not, but I want him to understand what he is getting himself into. That this is not something to just play around with, or think it only matters on Sunday.
Which brings me to repentance. Everybody makes mistakes. I've made some pretty big ones. Nobody is immune. We need repentance. It's essential to Heavenly Father's Plan of Salvation. I love the way our Sunday School teacher put it today. Repentance is not just something to make us miserable. It's something that will bring us closer to God. We don't need to wallow in our sins and our misery about the mistakes we've made. We need to let ourselves become humble and turn to our Savior. He's given us a way to get to know Him better. I'd never thought about it like that before. It touched my heart and I thought more about how I can remember to ask for forgiveness when I make mistakes. Sometimes, it's hard to even recognize when I have made a mistake. That's why it helps to be humble, I suppose.
Ah that big word. Forgiveness. How do we let things go when they seem like such a big deal in that moment? How do we move on? How do we forget? How do we forgive ourselves? The wonderful family who spoke in Sacrament meeting today used this talk to base their own talks on. It's a beautiful sermon given to us in LDS General Conference that was held in April. Many of you will remember it, but I am going to quote President Uchtdorf any way: "Forgiving ourselves and others is not easy. In fact, for most of us, it requires a major change in our attitude and way of thinking - even a change of heart. But there is good news. This 'mighty change' of heart is exactly what the gospel of Jesus Christ is designed to bring into our lives." He goes on to say the way this is done is through the love of God. He says, "The more we allow the love of God to govern our minds and emotions—the more we allow our love for our Heavenly Father to swell within our hearts—the easier it is to love others with the pure love of Christ. As we open our hearts to the glowing dawn of the love of God, the darkness and cold of animosity and envy will eventually fade."
These are powerful words. He also reminds us of the scripture in Luke 6:38: "Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."
I love these words. Jesus Christ is saying be kind to others no matter what. We must learn to forgive others and learn to forgive ourselves. Sometimes, the only way we can do that is to pray to God for help in letting it go. But I know that from personal experience that if we do just that, He will lift our burden. It literally will feel as though a weight has been lifted off your shoulders and you are no longer carrying that burden alone. It was immediate for me. I still need to figure out how to move on and how to forget and to trust again, but that is the part that will come with time. We are not alone. We need to remember that often, we are all just trying to do our best - even if it isn't good enough. And this is exactly why we should all just give each other (and ourselves) a break once in awhile.