The tough crowd

Sunday was my first out teaching our Young Women.  I was excited, prepared and ready to go… and my girls were a bit on the silent side.  When I say tough crowd, I mean crickets.  

Total walls of silence.

I was in a state of WOW… is this really going this bad?  When I had these same girls in my Sunday School class they were communicative and participative.  I didn’t have time to think about the way the leson wnet for too long.  I know that I felt the spirit, the famiiar warmth that is there when I’m speaking from the heart that becomes a pressing warmth ws present.

I don’t know what went wrong, but sometimes I have to remember that they’re teenagers.  Reaching them isn’t always the easiest thing in the world, but I knew that Spirit was there with me every step of the way.

It’s ben a crazy week for us though.  I started my new job as a coach at work, it also means a crazy 5 am morning shift and post stomach flu, that means my body is in for a heck of a ride.  Lack of sleep plus a compromised system after that flu meant a head cold which quickly turned into bronchitis.

Luckily for me yesterday was my birthday so I’ve been spending the four day weekend I had planned off with my amazing Mister J in bed and trying to just feel better while staying out of the way.  Today my amazing hubster and his best friend are attempting to finish putting down our floor and installing the compression strips.  We’ll still need a weekend to get new base boards down, but it’s a start.

I don’t think I really have anything important to say today, toher than everyone should stay healthy and not get sick.

Grace again? It’ll pop up a few more times!

I know I’ve been talking about grace a lot, but it is my focus for another few days.  I think that by the time I’ve actually stood up before our young women that I’ll be able to teach the class cold without my notes and just go where the spirit leads.

Thats the way I like teaching and like to give talks.  I always have a plan and always want to be ready with handouts or teaching tools that I may be led to because sometimes the Spirit will hijack my lessons and lead me in a different direction that my class needs to go.

In the case of my class, I want these young women to know how important grace is.  I’m not considering grace as only a part of the atonement or a part of the plan of salvation, but also as a part of our ability to heal and our ability to not just live but thrive!

Wow!  Just wow. 

So getting ready for Sunday, which is only four more days away isn’t a scary thing, but I do have a little bit of a case of nerves.  While I’ve taught most of the girls in my class on a regular basis, there are a few that I haven’t met yet and it will be the first time presenting a lesson with our Young Women’s leadership team being present.  While I’ve given a talk in which all but two of our leadership were present, it’s definitely a huge change.

Here are the questions I answered yesterday:

  • What is grace?
  • What will we receive because of grace?
  • Why do we need grace?
  • How can we use grace in our every day lives?

I also took a look at a number of scriptures about grace including the five from the ‘What is grace?‘ lesson outline:

 For by grace are ye saved through faithand that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

 Wherefore, we search the prophets, and we have many revelations and the spirit of prophecyand having all these witnesses we obtain hope, and our faith becometh unshaken, insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea.
 Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weaknessthat we may know that it is by his graceand his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things.

32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
 33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sinsthat ye become holywithout spot.

What have I learned from delving into thses scriptures?  Well, I have a few points of interest:

  1. by grace we are saved through the power of faith
  2. after all that we can do, (good, bad, serving our fellow men and women), grace is able to save us
  3. through our identity in Christ our faith is strengthened adn we can accomplish anything
  4. grace can help us find our perfection through our identity in Christ

Not too bad of a start for this journey in grace.

The next step in getting ready for this lesson was to find a number of talks and resources that addressed the topic of grace and the ‘after all we can do’ prase found in 2 Nephi 25:23.

Yesterday, I posted about a few talks that I had found that include:

The lesson outlien itself also includes In the strength of the Lord which was given by Elder David A. Bednar in the October 2004 General Conference.

From this talk, we’re able to take away one of the most amazing bits of information about grace that I’ve ever heard or seen in print.  “Grace is strenth and an enabling power…”

I keep going back to that thought which is a theme which also occurred in the October 23, 2001 BYU Devotional which also answered an amazing question about the journey of life and what it is a amazing roll grace plays in it.

The framework for my message today is a statement by President David O. McKay. He summarized the overarching purpose of the gospel of the Savior in these terms: “The purpose of the gospel is . . . to make bad men good and good men better, and to change human nature” (from the film Every Member a Missionary, as acknowledged by Franklin D. Richards, CR, October 1965, 136–37; see also Brigham Young, JD 8:130 [22 July 1860]).

Thus the journey of a lifetime is to progress from bad to good to better and to experience the mighty change of heart–and to have our fallen natures changed.

Thats right, make bad men good and good men better through the power of the atonement with grace as it’s enabling power.

WOW!  I like wow moments and this one was very much a paradigm shift.  I don’t know about you, but with that right there, I get the chills.

Grace is the divine means to help and to strengthen and guide us through our darkest times.

For some of us, our darkest moments are ones where our lives are endangered, face a personal tragedy or struggling with the pain of depression which may come seasonally, as a result of imbalance in our brains or after facing our past.

I can’t even begin to tell you which of the circumstances are the worse, but when it comes down to it, it isn’t up to me to decide which is the worse.  In the end, it also isn’t up to us to decide if someone elses journey is harder than our own.

What is important is to know that no matter what our struggle is that we have grace to strengthen us.  Additionally, we can reach out to those around us that may be struggling to support and love on each other.

I know it isn’t always easy, but often we hear the promptings of spirit and feel that nudge to reach out to someone that may need us.

From Sunday School Teacher to Young Women’s Adviser

I have been a Sunday School teacher for quite some time.  It’s been an amazing journey that has been shared by my students in my old class (12 – 14) and my most recent class (15 – 17).

That said, when I began my last lesson I realized that some of the students I was teaching have sat through the same lesson with me for three years running.  It was a realization that would follow me through the afternoon as my husband and I would struggle to remain at church for third hour.

My husband, the amazing Mister J, like his father, the intrepid Mister Matt, has narcolepsy.  The diagnosis was not unexpected as we knew the signs and symptoms.  Luckily something separating my husband and his predisposition to this disorder is that he does not experience catalepsy like his father.

The face of narcolepsy in church throughout multiple meetings, during one of which we both taught Sunday School at that point, was not an easy one.  Mister J and Mister Matt both try their hardest to remain awake and alert but this is not a feat often accomplished without some sort of secondary stimuli.  In Mister J’s case, he place 2048 and runs through his lesson plan a second time and third time and just like his father, without some sort of secondary stimuli, they both are quickly asleep.

This particular Sunday, about a month ago, was one of those Sundays.  Despite our late morning start for our first hour at 11:30 AM, we had both managed to fast for church.  Of course, this made for a more interesting than normal day for us between his problems staying awake and my plummeting sugar as a diabetic.

We were doing our best to make our way out to the car without being snatched up into the inbetween second and third hour chatter because of how much we were both swaying on our feet before we were pulled aside by our Bishop’s second counselor.

To my shock, after three years, I was being released as a Sunday School teacher.  In all honesty, I was relieved.

At work I had just been promoted and had been praying for a schedule that would allow me the time to be more active at church.  I was finally assigned a visiting teaching companion and with the schedule I would be moving into as part of the promotion meaning I would be home by three in the afternoon with no commute traffic, I was very relieved.

And then I was excited.  Without weekly lessons to plan I had an opportunity to be far more active in our Ward Relief Society and as a convert with husband who struggles with the priesthood due to his health, this was a blessing.

An amazingly huge blessing.  Relief and joy ran through me and Jeremy was beaming.

And then the catch.

“We would like to call you as an Advisor to our Young Women’s program as a Bee Hive Advisor.”

I honestly had no idea what that meant.  I knew that this would mean that I would be involved with Young Women, but since i had not gone through the program as a young lady myself, I was a bit on the clueless side of things.

Mister J was trying not to laugh.

We had been praying so fervently for my promotion and a schedule that would allow me to be more active that we just didn’t state what we were looking for specifically.

The schedule I begin in the next few weeks means no morning commute traffic and that I have a start time of 5 AM and a commute of only 30 minutes which is definitely a huge change from 9 AM with a two hour commute.

As to leadership, I had anticipated something in the Relief Society, never in a million years did I anticipate YM!

Perhaps the next time we pray so fervently with others for a change in our lives we should be much more specific.

I’m looking forward to getting to know the Young Women in our ward, and I get to teach in the Young Women program on March 8th on Grace.  Grace just happens to be one of my favorite topics.

I’m still nervous and probably will be for quite some time.