This Sunday something happened that really hit me hard…
For the past year or so we have struggled going to all three hours of church. We would go, take the sacrament, and then leave. But… it wasn’t just for no reason or because we didn’t want to be at church, because we most definitely did. When we first moved to Logan we were told that we absolutely HAD to join a Married Student Ward because we would meet so many good friends and it would help our social life. Neither of us cared about our social life necessarily, but because we were told that we needed to, we decided to move our records into a married student ward- probably the biggest mistake we ever made. Haha
The first week we were there we got to sacrament meeting and awkwardly sat there as we were new and nervous. After the meeting ended we walked into the hall to head to Sunday School and there were 3 different couples that instantly came up to us and introduced themselves, made us feel so welcome, and were so nice. My first reaction was that this ward was going to be the best ward and I was so excited that we were going to meet so many awesome people. After talking in the hall for a couple minutes, we headed into relief society. I figured that we would walk in and that they would let me sit by them since we had just chatted in the hall (maybe I’m just naive and think people are all so genuine and so nice). We got in there and I found a row that had 4 empty seats, sat down and expected that they would sit down next to me. Instead they went to the other side of the room and sat the three of them with two of their other friends. And in that moment I seriously felt like the biggest loser. I thought these girls that were so kind and caring to me in the hall were going to become some of my greatest friends. Once we left the halls where everybody could see how kind they were being and got into a room where nobody would notice, they completely ditched me. I know it doesn’t sound like it’s that big of a deal, and looking back, it really isn’t. I’m dramatic, and I know that. But, I was so upset that I had been so excited and then looked so dumb.
So, the next week I decided to not get my hopes up to become great friends with those girls. We decided to go to sacrament meeting and to Sunday School and then leave so I didn’t have to go to Relief Society. 🙈 We got into Sunday School, the lesson started and within minutes the lesson turned into a ‘im greater than you’ fest. One person would comment, and then another would comment and try to one up the person before them, and then another, and another, and it just continued. People would raise their hand and share all these experiences and opinions they had to make themselves look so much better than everybody else. It was so awful. I absolutely love when people share their stories and experiences, but I hate when people shove things in your face and that was exactly what the whole class was like.
Multiple different situations like these happened to both, Fuzz and I, for the past year. We got so sick of people in our ward pretending not to know us when we went to the grocery store and said hi when we saw them, and we got so sick of listening to people in class tell everybody how much better they were than us. Neither of us ever didn’t want to go to church, we love church. But, we got so sick of it that we decided to just go to sacrament meeting and then leave. We fell into such a bad habit of that so this year one of our goals was to go to all three hours of church, no matter what the people were like.
So, for the past couple weeks we have been to all three hours (😃), but this Sunday something so powerful happened for me. One of the ladies in the relief society presidency had such an impact on me, and she probably will never even know. The relief society presidency came over and visited me, so I got to know this sweet lady. Then, this Sunday she taught the lesson in relief society and it seriously changed my heart from what the past year has done to it. She didn’t do anything imparticular, and it wasn’t even necessarily the lesson, it was just her. She is the sweetest, most genuine, down to earth, loving, real, beautiful lady. She is a mother, a wife, and a normal person. She doesn’t pretend to be somebody that is perfect. She doesn’t pretend that she has everything put together, and doesn’t make you feel inadequate or that you suck at life because you aren’t like her. She is funny, and honestly the best word to explain her is real. Everything about her is real, and raw, and genuine. She’ll probably never know that she touched my heart so much, but I am so grateful that she did.
Because of this sweet experience, I was able to remind myself that church isn’t about the people, it’s about the Lord and the Savior. Church is about trying to better yourself, serving others, and learning of Christ. Church isn’t about ‘going to church’, but about living like Christ.
I think it’s easy for people, in any religion, to get caught up in the activities, and the people, and the social atmosphere that comes with church. Those are all great things, but not the most important things.
Another thing that this sweet lady and the past year taught me is to strive to be that genuine, real person that others feel comfortable around. I think it’s easy, in any religion, to get caught up in wanting everybody to think you are doing great and to prove to others you have your life together and figured out. But, let’s be real, who really has their life completely figured out. Rather, going to church and holding yourself strongly, showing that you are genuinely trying to live a good life, and loving others.. that’s what it’s all about. And, I just hope that I can be that person for somebody some day.
Even though I’ve had my struggles the past year, I still have a strong testimony of the gospel. I know that the atonement is such a blessing in my life, because I am so far from perfect. I’m grateful to live in a place that I have the gospel so convienently at my finger tips and that I live so close to a temple. I love that we can so easily get on our phones and access scriptures, general conference talks, and words of the Lord. I’m grateful for the knowledge I have of eternal families and I’m so happy that I get to spend forever with my family. Even though I’ve struggled with some, I know that all in all, there are so many great people in the church to look up to. I am so blessed, and am so extremely grateful for everything that I have been blessed with. I’m praying that this year I can become better and overcome my struggles. And, I’m so grateful for this sweet lady that has made such an impact on my life. 💕
‘Rely on the Lord, for only he can turn a mess into a message, a test into a testimony, a trial into a triumph, & what’s broken into something beautiful.’ -Zandra Vanes