Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Few Thoughts on Service, Laundry, and the Old Testament

What a whirlwind the last month has been. I am still reeling from the idea that we are now well into August! July was a crazy, busy, difficult, wonderful, lots of changes, kind of a month. If I had been updating my blog regularly, you would know that we had something going on every week. This Spring, around April, I started thinking about our summer. I put a few things on the calendar that I knew we had, but for the most part, I was doing my best to keep July wide open. I knew we had Jackson's baptism, but the rest of the month I daydreamed of enjoying our town (as I think that Durango in July=Heaven) and maybe sneaking in a few trips to Lake Powell. I didn't sign anyone up for long camps or lessons. We were just going to take it as it came.

And of course I should have remembered that Nature abhors a vacuum, so, come it did.

The first full week in July turned out to be the Ross Reunion. We had family wall-to-wall as we Made Memories together. It was awesome! But it was a lot of work! I was up early and to bed late every night as I tried to get the most out of it all. After it was all over, I was left with a lot of laundry, and we also had one of my nephews left behind too. Ty is Kim's oldest son and he is living with us for a while as he is working to earn money to return on his mission. He is a great kid and we have loved having him.

Of course, with Ty here, our family is doing it's best to show him some of the fun things there is to do in Durango. There have been lake days, river floats, cliff jumps, and general goofing off. Don't get me wrong, all of the boys are still working hard, but the level of play has been elevated a bit too! ;)

When I finished the laundry from the Ross Reunion, people started arriving for Jackson's baptism. We had both sides of the family represented. Kip came with his family plus a few friends. Nicole and Kim came with their kids, and of course G&G Ross made the trip for Jackson's most special day. I am just going to say that it was a little weird having a basement full of teenagers that technically weren't all related to each other! I was a little uptight about it, but of course it was all just good teenage fun. Gabe was a little miffed that they couldn't all just sleep on the couch in the Family Room together like they often have in years past. Luckily, we had enough rooms for everyone to sleep separately.

Once again, laundry was done as beds were changed and towels washed in anticipation of our annual visit from the Koford Klan. This is a tradition I hope we always keep because we always get to have a fun adventure when they come to town. And my husband always manages to relax and have a great time! This year was no different. The Kofords came the weekend before Pioneer Day and we did all kinds of fun local stuff. It is fun to be a tourist in our town sometimes!

We bid farewell to the Kofords, then we geared up for the final week of July. Instead of having more visitors, this time we got to go on a roadtrip. We helped Nicole move from here longtime home in Page to her new digs in Amarillo. It was quite the traveling adventure and one we will not soon forget. We had a surprisingly fun time loading, driving, unloading, and driving some more. I was so happy that we got to see where the Martins will call home for the next 3 years.

And now...it is August. Just like that.

My explanation of the month was to illustrate that I have been busy. I can honestly say that it doesn't just sound like I was busy, but I really felt like I was busy too. :) Which is a good thing. It was a great kind of busy. It was the kind where I had a purpose and a project for each week, and between visits, I really had to be on the ball to clean up and gear up. I think everything went pretty well for the most part (except I didn't really feed the Kofords-they had to eat cold cereal and anything they could scrounge up ;) -cooking by that 3rd week just wasn't happening...).

I do well when I am that kind of busy. I find that I am better at prioritizing and not procrastinating when my schedule is full. I tend to be happier and more productive. It has been an interesting month because even with all of the business, it has been the kind that has made me reflect and ponder the important things in life. Family, friends, and faith. They were all in the forefront it seemed as I went about my month. In the quiet moments late at night or folding towels, I found that my mind and my heart have been especially open and tender. I have felt the Spirit whispering to my heart and my mind how important certain things are in my life. This is not a typical thing for me in the course of a month. While I try to listen to the Still Small Voice, I can say that I don't usually feel it as often and as close as I have this July. It has been interesting and unexpected.

I'll just write about 1 thing that happened. On Pioneer Day, it was my turn to teach the lesson in Young Women. There was some confusion on my part about what lesson I was to teach and our President was on a cruise. The other councilor suggested I teach lesson 32, 'Service in the Community.' And yes, it was even more boring that it sounds. Luckily, Jill was here and she just happened to learn that her parents were in the newest issue of the Ensign, featured as a missionary couple that was serving in Turkey. Yeah! I put the Ensign in my church bag and forgot about it until Sacrament Meeting that Sunday. I was flipping through my manual and kept coming back to Lesson 31 'Service in the Church.' I had read through it a few days earlier and had considered teaching it instead. I had even done a Google search looking for the Willie and Martin Handcart Company Sweetwater River rescue story. There is a good summary here if you aren't familiar with it. I couldn't find the video clip I had in mind for it, so I decided not to teach 31. I put down my manual and pulled out the Ensign (while listening to the Sacrament Meeting talks of course). I had forgotten to mark the page where Jill's parents were featured, so I flipped to the back where I thought it was. I found this article. It tells of the rescue of the handcart companies by those in SLC. What a coincidence! ;)

So when I walked into Young Womens that Sunday, I told the girls that I wasn't exactly sure what our lesson would be, but that we would figure it out together. So I talked about Service and in Community and Service in the Church. As I read the story of the handcart pioneers the Spirit was really strong. I closed our lesson by sharing my testimony of Service. I thought of my girls in our class and especially about the older ones that would be leaving us soon. I told them that I knew that if they decided right now that they would always accept callings in the church, and if they would do their best to fulfill them, they would never regret it and their lives would be blessed in ways that would be unexpected and great. The Spirit testified to my heart once again that this was true. I was so glad I got to teach that lesson and was happy knowing that I had given the lesson I was supposed to.

As is so often the case in my life, I learned very soon that the lesson I taught, while it might have been meaningful to the YW, was especially relevant to what I was going through. The next week, right after I got home from Texas, a High Councilman stopped by our house (he also happens to be our neighbor, so I didn't think too much of it). After he visited with John and I for a while, he said he was actually at our house to extend a call to me.

Gulp.

He asked if I would be willing to teach Early Morning Seminary.

Double Gulp.

This is not a new calling to this household, as John taught EMS for 2 years. I saw firsthand the enormous amount of time and preparation it took for him to fulfill that calling. It was not easy. But I also saw firsthand how John serving brought our family a lot of blessings. I accepted.

So I will now be teaching the Old Testament every day before school to the 9-12 graders in both Durango Wards. Gabe will actually be a Freshman this year and he will attend each day with me-very cool (at least for me)!

And I am a little scared.

But now I know why I have had the month I did. The Lord was laying the groundwork for me to remember how important it is for all of us to 'Put our Shoulders to the Wheel.' Living in a ward like ours (a small one) we are often called on to do what seems like a lot. But if each of us will serve willingly, the load gets spread around. I know how grateful I am for the people that serve and teach my children. I also know that the Lord will never give us more that we can handle. I love that there has never been any recorded instance of the Willie and Martin Handcart Company members complaining that their trial was too much. In fact, they said that it was in their extremity that they learned to know God. He pushed the carts when they couldn't go another step.

OK, some of them did die along the way....but I am hoping that is now an applicable lesson for what I am going to do! ;) I just know that God prepared my heart because He knows that I am going to need to remember the Truth the Spirit whispered to me when it is 6 in the morning and I don't want to get out of bed yet! That is the reason I am writing it here as well. I need to remember. I need to remember that I know God knows me and my busy life. And He loves me and wants what is best for me. Because of this, He gives me a chance to serve. I hope I won't have to be in a state of 'extremity' the entire year, but I do hope I will grow closer to God through this service.

Crazy month? Yes. And so just how it needed to be so I could be prepared to serve.

4 comments:

Lucy said...

So excited for the youth in this area and so sad for me. You have a gift and talent for reaching and connecting with this age group and I'm really glad losing you in Young Womens won't mean the girls who need you will miss out. Now, I'm expecting them to know those scriptures we're always surprised they've never heard before:)

I think you are exactly right. The Lord prepares us and you will definitely have to prioritize and schedule with this heavy calling. But I have no doubt at all that your family, your community and your testimony will strengthen from your always willing heart to serve. I love you!

Nicole said...

Those kids are so dang lucky to have you as their teacher. You certainly have a gift! Keep your chin up. You are going to learn so much! (:

Bradley Ross said...

You decided to start with the hardest book of scripture of all, eh? You're not scared. Be sure to call up Pres. and find out how to handle the donut run requests.

Mimi said...

I loved this post...fun to catch up and love reading about your testimony being strengthened. I think you and Megan got together and had similar spiritual experiences at the same time (of course specific to your individual needs):). Thanks for sharing Michelle and again...enjoy seminary...that's the key:)!