I am sure when it was reveled to Joseph Smith to create a women’s group called “the Relief Society” that the Lord had a HUGE plan in mind. I think back into history and see the amazing things that have come to pass because of the inspired women of the church. Of course, being a musician, I must acknowledge our Hymnbook first, but probably more than Hymns, are the institutions of “relief” that our women’s society can, and has contributed to humanity itself. I have always been a believer in the visiting teaching program. In recent years, I have been taught that we do this out of love, and to offer support and relief yes; but also to have a gentle reminder that we all have problems, and that if we had to choose, we would probably choose the ones that we have.
I often think of those pioneer women that we all owe so much to. The countless hours of tending and caring for the sick, hours of sacrifice, while their husband were off on missions, and even war. Walking/wandering place to place in terrible conditions, and in a lot cases extreme heartache, as they lost their babies, children and even husbands, to bring their families across the plains. Why did they do this Sisters? I am sure that there were many reasons, and perhaps they were the same ones that inspired my father-in-law to leave everything he had, risk his family’s lives, and escape from East Germany. I am sure that it was all about freedom, and a better life for themselves as well as for us, their future generations. What a huge price they had to pay for what we have today, and most likely take for grantite because we have always had it.
I was really moved by the scriptures that Rosa Rice shared with us this week in the Sanitation Wraps class this week. Doctrine and Covenants 112:23-28, Doctrine and Covenants 84:49-57 as well as and article in the Ensign- April 1989 “Be aware of pride” By Pres. Ezra Taft Benson. If you read these scriptures about the destruction of the world in the days that proceed the second coming, you will note that we are looking a bigger, longer ride than any of all of the Disneyland’s combined. When I realize the turmoil and calamities that are promised to come forth, I must also think about the largest, greatest society of united sisters in the world, and the impact of belonging to that society weighs a little on my soul. We will need a lot more that sanitary wraps! Where much is given, much is expected, and sisters it is my opinion that we have been in training our whole lives, and even train our daughters and sons specifically for the days that are neigh at hand.
Contemplating this, there are a few questions that come to my mind: Am I willing and able to help out as the Lord would have me do? Am I spiritually prepared to handle what is right at our doorstep- or in my case, in my front room? Does my family have all of it’s ducks in a row, so that when bigger things happen, will we be able to help others, or will we be in jeopardy ourselves? I think that these are all good questions, and questions to contemplate as we realize that we do live in these last days, and that we were sent here to issue in the greatest of all times, the second coming of our Lord and Savior. That is both overwhelming, but also extremely exciting!
The greatest part of all is that we do belong to the greatest society of women ever created, and inspired of God. We will be the “relief” to the world as we share our hope and knowledge with the world. We will have opportunity to share what we have been learning our whole lives, and will be lead by leadership directed and ordained also of God. With credentials like that, we will be successful, but only if we are prepared ourselves, and have prepared our families as well. I am confident that each of you is doing that right now.
I didn’t really want to stand on a soapbox, and hopefully you don’t feel offended by anything that I have said. My hope in writing this is to empower all of us to see a bigger picture. My life has been blessed immensely by the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and it is my hope that I have also blessed others lives all along the way.
I want to share the following story with you to show some ways that the Relief Society of our church has blessed my family. I also want to thank each of you for your service to me and mine, in anyway.
Quilts of Love
My Grandmother Amelia, and my Mother Hermine were amazing quilters. Each of us 7 children had at least one of their adorned masterpieces on our beds that resembled favorite dresses and outfits of the past, but mostly reminded us that we were loved, safe and cared for. As a small child, we were taught to tie quilts and knew how much love went into one of these works of art.
When I was 12 years old, half of my family was in a fatal car accident in Vulcan, Alberta, Canada, in which our beloved Grandmother was killed. My Mother and my only brother Briggs were also critically wounded. We sat in the pouring rain until a farmer rescued us. He wrapped our bloody family up in a beautiful hand-quilted green quilt, and left for help. When we arrived at the hospital, I felt so bad that we had ruined his quilt, and knew that he had sacrificed something for our trembling family that day.
Six years later, when my sister Shelley and I graduated from Young Women’s, our ward quilted a blanket for each of us. Hers was green, and mine was turquoise. (Mine was prettier- or so I thought.) Several years later, Shelley died of cancer, and my brother and I fought over her quilt, knowing that it was a “love quilt” made and given to her from our ward family. Because I already had a quilt from our ward, and Briggs was her twin, I surrendered it to him. On his return home to Idaho, he came upon a car accident where a family was brutally injured. He found a pregnant Mother who had lost her ear, and all of her scared children, and quickly ran to his car to retrieve his newly acquired green quilt. He stayed with them until the ambulance came, and then watched them, and his green quilt drive away in the snowy weather.
In the fall of 2008, we had to place our daughter in a place of healing for troubled teens. Our hearts were broken, as we dropped our beloved daughter off to her temporary home. When I saw where she would be sleeping, I began to cry, for on her bed was a beautiful hand-made quilt that was sewn by many of my Relief Society sisters for a humanitarian project. My heart was lifted as I felt the love that went into making it radiate from her bed. I was humbled, and knew that she would be wrapped in love while she was so far away from home.
That same year, we had major trial one after another including death, and had also become unemployed for many months. As we exchanged letters with our daughter, and met in counseling sessions with her, we would talk about our lives and what was happening at home as well. Secretly, her school decided to do something nice for our family for Christmas. On Christmas morning, we were each surprised to open a big present with a beautiful hand-made quilt inside. Each one of my children were given the exact quilt made out of the fabric that I would have chosen to suit their individual personalities. As I marveled “how could they have known?” I opened up my quilt, and was amazed- it was solid green. Instantly, I started crying, knowing that only the Lord knew us well enough to know these details, and he was wrapping up my family in beautiful love quilts just like he always had.
These blankets that we received were also humanitarian blankets, made by our Relief Society sisters. I am humbled thinking that somewhere, someone had made that far in advance, the love quilt that my family would need to feel our Heavenly Fathers love in such a special, unique way. I know that as we, as Relief Society sisters, continue to make love quilts and send them around the world or across the street, we are sending a message of our Father’s love for his children. Heavenly Father knows “every little bird that falls” and uses His love quilts to gently catch them. For this, I will always be grateful.
My challenge to you today sisters is to examine your households, and find a place to improve, and an opportunity to give. We live in a fast paced world, but the Lord is relying on us to be “His hands”. Let’s be a “relief” to one another and lift a burden each day. We have so much to give and are expected to do so. I love you all, and so does the Lord.
Have a wonderful day,