Sunday, October 26, 2014


Our Relief Society lesson today was on The Joy of Ministering from a General Conference talk given in April 2013.  

"To minister means to love and care for others.  It means to attend to their physical and spiritual needs.  Put simply, it means to do what the Savior would do if He were here."
The teacher talked about the ministering we as women do in our homes and families, and I thought about two things (that I didn't get to say in class, so I'm writing them here instead...)

First, I thought about Sister Neill F. Marriott's talk Sharing Your Light in the General Women's Broadcast in September.  She talked about the divine responsibility that women have to bring light to the dark corners of the world.  
"You carry a circle of influence with you wherever you go.  It is felt by the people around you - from your family to the contacts in your cell phone and from your friends on social media to those seated next to you tonight.  You are vibrant and enthusiastic beacons in an ever-darkening world as you show, through the way you live your lives, that the gospel is a joyful message."
And second, I thought about an experience I had years ago as a primary pianist.  (That's my all time favorite calling in the whole ward, by the way...well, besides the one I currently have.)  For the first few months in that calling, I felt mostly invisible and meaningless back there behind the piano.  I wasn't sure those primary kids even knew there was a pianist, and they certainly wouldn't have recognized me outside of the primary room.  I just played the songs while the chorister stood in front of them and did all the hard work.  One morning, though, as I was playing my usual reverent prelude music, I had a great idea to liven things up a little, and I played Once There Was A Snowman (clearly, this was long before I had my own kids.)  All of a sudden, all those children who had been walking into the room so reverently, started dancing and hopping and making snowmen in the air.  It was slightly chaotic.  And no amount of reverent music I played after could put all those hoppy snowmen back in their seats.  It dawned on me in that moment that I had a lot more influence sitting back there behind that piano than I had ever realized.  That was the last time I played peppy songs during transition times.  

That's the way our influence is in our homes, too.  Our ministering is quiet, sometimes unnoticed and often under appreciated.  If you asked them, I'm pretty sure my kids would credit the comforts of their home to some other outside source.  Little do they know that very few things are left to chance around here.  Meals are planned.  Calendars are coordinated.  Screen time and extracurricular activities are limited.  Prayers, family home evenings, church attendance and scripture study are painstakingly carved into their little schedules.  I make sure to wake up before they do, so I can read scriptures and say my own prayers and so that my attitude isn't determined by whatever I might find first thing in the imploding fruit.  If they could only see that little invisible pianist back there in the corner, intentionally and deliberately choosing just the right music to guide their transitions into and out of their home...  It's no small job to quietly direct this show.  But the rewards are immense.  
"My days were full of forgettable things like folding laundry, reading children's books, and putting casseroles together for dinner.  Sometimes in the harbor of our homes, we can't see that by the simple, consistent acts...great things are brought to pass.  But I testify that these very acts carry eternal significance.  Great joy comes when those little boats...grow into mighty seafaring vessels filled with gospel light and ready to 'embark in the service of God.'  Our small acts of faith and service are how most of us can continue in God and eventually bring eternal light and glory to our family, our friends, and our associates.  You truly carry a circle of influence with you!" - Neill F. Marriott

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