Friday, April 4, 2014

An increased measure of time + how I've been blessed

I've been meaning to write this post for a long time. I realize the title is "an increased measure of time"--but, well, I just haven't had the time. Can I tell you that I love my little blog? I know that hardly anyone (no one?) reads it, but I love that I've documented our lives. That being said, I've found that my blog is one of the things that often falls by the wayside when I get busy. Ever since Lila was born (maybe always?), I've been struggling to find balance between being the kind of mom I want to be, being a learner of the gospel, being a fulfiller of my calling, being a good wife, being a doer of family history, being someone who cooks and cleans at least semi-regularly, and being someone who takes a minute for herself every now and again. I realize that is a lot of things to be and, honestly, I (usually) don't expect myself to be able to be all of those things every day. But I've had a hard time trying to figure out when I need to be what, if that makes sense.

Almost a year ago, I got called to be the ward organist. I have played the piano for what seems like forever but had never touched the organ. I started learning and things were going well. In early December, I was called to be the Ward Music Chair in addition to organist (basically meaning that I'd plan the music for Sundays, plan special musical numbers, and coordinate music programs in Sacrament meeting like Easter and Christmas). In my setting apart blessing for the second calling, there was one phrase that I still remember clearly. I was blessed that as I fulfilled my calling, I'd have an "increased measure of time." Now I realize that being the ward organist/music chair is definitely not one of the more time-consuming callings. But, for me, it did mean finding time each week to take my kids to the church so I could learn to play the organ and practice the hymns, hoping they'd be good long enough to get a practice session in; finding time to plan the music for the month; and being to church early (by 8:15 a.m.) every Sunday. And I did have time to do that. Then the Stake Music Chair asked me to help recruit people to join the stake choir. And I realized that I couldn't really recruit someone to something I wasn't willing to go to myself. The choir practices at 8 on Wednesdays. At 7:45 on the first Wednesday, I was really not sure I wanted to go. Ryan was studying for his CPA test, the kids had barely gotten into bed, and the house looked--well, it looked really, really bad. As I was debating, I remembered the phrase from my blessing. I decided that fulfilling my calling was in part helping the stake chair fulfill her calling--and, if at any time I could use an increased measure of time, it was certainly that night--so I went. If you don't know, I am very shy and I really don't love going places where I'm not going to know anyone. But I sucked it up and went. The choir practice was nice, I actually did know someone, and when I got home Ryan had finished studying and had started picking up the house. I joined him and when I went to bed that night the house was cleaner than it had been all week. The next day didn't start with a mess, so I was able to focus on other things. And there was my increased measure of time.

That experience was the most "dramatic" I noticed, but thereafter I went to stake choir every week, practiced the organ every week, made my music schedule, was lining up special musical numbers, and had started to give the young women in the ward conducting lessons so they could lead the music in Sacrament Meeting on occasion. And I had time to do everything I needed to do. This experience was actually a great lesson in learning what I needed to do compared to what I wanted to do. And, honestly, sometimes something I wanted to do (relaxing and reading a book or taking a much-needed nap) trumped something I needed to do (like cleaning the house)--which I was totally okay with.

Just as I was getting comfortable in my calling, our ward boundaries got reorganized. Our ward was suddenly in need of someone in almost every auxiliary presidency. Ryan had been in the Sunday School Presidency, but the President was now in a new ward, so the presidency was all released. I was, of course, still the organist/chair. So when the Bishop called to ask if he could speak to Ryan and I, I was completely sure that he had a calling for Ryan. He visited with us for a while first. I remember that he asked how I was doing. I told him how much better I've been doing last year--which is so true. Last year I just survived tax season. I survived Lila's newborn months. I was so tired and super lonely and I just kind of scraped along until I made it through. This year has been so different. I've got friends here who I can (and do) ask to help me when I need. I've got friends who ask me for help when they need (which I love, because it means we can rely on each other!). I haven't had a particularly hard time with tax season this year. Of course night time would be easier with Ryan around, but I don't feel like I'm just surviving it. I feel so completely different this year than I did last year.

Then the Bishop said that the ward was in need of a new Primary President. And I realized that Ryan couldn't be the Primary President. The Bishop was talking to me. I initially felt a little knot in my stomach, but the fear almost immediately subsided and was replaced by feelings of peace and joy. I've told a few people in the weeks since that I keep waiting to feel overwhelmed and I just haven't felt that way at all--and it's true. I feel so energized. I keep thinking of things we need to do in Primary and adding them to my to-do list but instead of feeling overwhelmed by this daunting list I just feel ready to jump right in and start. I am serving with three amazing women who fulfill their callings and then some. I don't know how they do so much, but I sure appreciate what they do. I know I have so much to learn--but I don't feel overwhelmed at the task. I've served in the Primary Presidency as the First Counselor and as the Secretary before and both times I've just felt majorly confused or anxious going in because there was so much new to learn and so many things to do. Somehow, even though I definitely feel the responsibility that more heavily rests on my shoulders now, I don't have those feelings of anxiety or confusion. As I was set apart for this calling, I was blessed that I'd have "enough time to do the things the Lord needs me to do as I properly prioritize"--and I've already felt that. I accomplished more in the past few weeks than I have in a long time--all while feeling less stressed and worn out at the end. I've spent more time on my knees in the last few weeks than I have in a long time, too; and I've noticed the difference regular and meaningful prayer has made in my life. Already I love these children in my ward, even though I don't know all of their names yet. I know there will come times that I will feel stressed or perhaps burdened or confused, but I want to remember that absolute happiness and peace I feel now and the sure knowledge I have that I am where I am supposed to be.


Ashley Shelton said...

I read your blog! And I still think you are an incredible Mom! Congrats on your new calling, you'll be awesome!

Mandi Rolfe said...

I love to read your blog! And you have more followers than my blog does so you must have at least a few readers. ;) I bet you're fabulous in primary! And sorry that I don't always comment. Sometimes commenting is just too much effort lol!!