Join a Historic Gathering of Women

 

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Two questions for you:

Why is it important to gather as women of faith?
And, who have you invited to join you at the General Women’s Meeting?

“There is power in gathering,” Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president said. “We need to see all the seasons together so that we can strengthen one another and glean from our unique perspectives along that covenant path.”

I’ve felt crummy for a week or more. Do you know my biggest worry? That I would miss attending this historic meeting in the physical company of my youngest daughter and other women. When an upcoming surgery was set for a later date, I cheered that I could still go, even if it meant resting all day to get there.

I thought it would be enough just to invite my daughter. But all the time I’ve been lying on the couch and resting, I’ve thought of a young friend I’ve made. I’m her visiting teacher, but we don’t visit in the usual ways. We meet for hot chocolate or something. Last time we were supposed to meet at Target to just wander and talk. But something happened. I was a little late. And then she didn’t come or I missed her. I never learned why.

I went out of town, and when I got back, unexpected medical issues preoccupied my time, my thoughts, my energy. Besides my parents, my husband and children and priesthood leaders, who do you think surrounded me with love, concern and help?

My sisters. Women friends I’ve met in former congregations and prior church service. And the women of faith in my current ward and stake Relief Societies.

They’ve gathered me in, knowing my need for emotional support, renewed faith and everyday help.

How do we do that as women? How do we gather each other in with charity and love and provide what’s needed to face our challenges, be uplifted, and not just carry on, but thrive in faith?

Let me share some examples:

A woman I am assigned to visit teach, a mother of nine children, dropped everything and arranged within 15 minutes to drive me to urgent care.

A woman who is a nurse talked to me about gross symptoms to ease my worry until I could see my doctor.

My visiting teacher (who is also the Relief Society president) spent time with me, encouraged me to go ahead with tests even when I thought they were ridiculous, and followed up with a text to me even as she was leaving for a trip to a family memorial.

The long-time friend who introduced me to my husband talked to me for hours the night I received news of needing surgery and my husband was out on church service.

My sisters and sister-in-law opened up on the phone and shared their own stories of medical panics and resolutions to help me see that most problems are eventually resolved.

My neighbor brought a meal. Our bishop’s wife offered to vacuum and change my sheets. The compassionate service leader found room in her already-full piano schedule for my daughter to finish out lessons she had started elsewhere.

My daughter set the table without asking, and said, “I like to hear thank you more than please.”

Every act, every visit, every text, every phone call from one of these women to me was a figurative gathering me into the bonds of charity and helping me to feel God’s love.

The paintings in the online exhibit Practicing Charity: Everyday Daughters of God Exhibit show visually what I am trying to share. One painting, Saplings, has this description:

It is challenging to create a painting that embodies true charity without being overtly sentimental, but Peterson succeeds in her simplicity of gesture. A simple hug between two friends captures the quality of service we are to give to one another. As we serve others with love, the line between who is serving and who is being served—the friend in need or the friend who comforts, the mourner or the mourning—is blurred.

So, what does this say about gathering?

Gathering brings us together to strengthen each other in faith, hope and charity.

Gathering give us a time and place to practice the gift of faith-filled nurturing that we so keenly understand and intuitively perform.

Gathering allows us to recognize and fulfill needs.

Gathering brings the divine light within each of us together and shines forth an even greater abundance of light, knowledge and faith.

Watch what these women have to say about gathering:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8f0jEYMhGOU

Who have you invited to join you in this historic meeting?

As for me, I texted my young friend. Our exchange picked up right where we left off—missing each other at Target—and carried forward with an invitation, an explanation of what this meeting is, and an arranged time and place to meet and go gather together.

Even as I need to feel the strength of women around me, so does she.

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. Summer
    Mar 28, 2014

    Can’t wait to see the Women’s Broadcast! It’s nice to feel the strength of other women striving to live the gospel. Gives me the motivation to keep trying even when times are hard.

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