Here's the deal. I haven't been to Relief Society much in the last few months. This, after our dear prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, counseled us to participate fully in Relief Society in October!
I'm not trying to make excuses, but allow me to do so for just a minute ;)
My dad passed away on November 6. The few weeks before that, we knew it was coming. The few weeks after that, I couldn't face people and their well-meaning questions: "How are you?" "How's your mom?" I couldn't bare to give the real answers so I avoided the questions. I went to sacrament meeting in other wards where people didn't know me and didn't need to ask the questions.
It's immature, I know. Or normal. Or one of the stages of grief? Or just my way of coping? I don't know. But it's what happened and I'm trying to keep it real.
So I have been studying the women's session of conference this week and I have been incredibly inspired, I gotta tell ya. Wow. The awareness of who we are individually and as a collective whole if and when we cloak ourselves to Jesus Christ through His atonement... sometimes it just gets me, but it especially gets me when I read the love conveyed to us as sisters and the profound faith and confidence demonstrated in us from latter day prophets and leaders. I digress.... So I got to President Nelson's fourth challenge and was forced to do a little self-reflection.
"My fourth invitation... is to participate fully in Relief Society. I urge you to study the current Relief Society purpose statement... I also entreat you to savor the truths in the Relief Society declaration published almost 20 years ago."
The day he invited, urged, and entreated us, I had saved the purpose statement and declaration as pictures on my phone. I had glanced over the messages and considered how I might try to implement those ideas more fully in my life, but had spent less than 30 seconds pondering on it.
Well, here I am almost exactly 3 months later (half way to the next conference, which is certain to be filled with more invitations, urgings, and entreatings!) and I have not done a thing about this fourth invitation. I had endeavored earnestly to accomplish 1 through 3 with imperfect success, but had completely dismissed number 4.
Tonight as I re-read the counsel, I tried to focus on what I had done with the first three invites. And certainly there is wisdom in that reflection. But there was a little 'divine discontent' urging me not to dismiss number 4. I sat in the quiet stillness for just a moment when it was clearly impressed upon my mind what I needed to do. Certainly, this impression might just be for me. But I don't get the feeling that is the case. I feel this worldwide sisterhood needs to unite in these ideas TOGETHER yet PERSONALLY.
These purposes and declarations HAVE to be personal, instilled in the heart of the individual members of Relief Society, communed from the Lord to YOU as He does - one by one. If PERSONAL and PROFOUND testimony of and desire to fulfill the purposes of Relief Society fill the hearts of one sister in each ward or branch, then maybe they can strike a match and set their sisters on fire. We will be more than motivated to work together on these goals.. we will be unstoppable. We will be bold. We will be united in love and purpose and together we will rise!
So... to my point (finally! ha!)... call them affirmations, I am statements, or ...declarations. Oh wait, that IS what they called them.. DECLARATIONS! But I was prompted to turn them from the 'Relief Society Declaration published 20 years ago,' into 'My Personal Declarations for 2019 (and yours too!)' or something like that. Well, I'm still working on the name, but you get the idea. With minor edits, I took the statements to we are doing.... to 'this is who I AM,' 'this is what I AM doing,' 'this is who I AM becoming...' and stopped just shy of, '...and gosh darn it, people like me!' ;)
THESE ARE POWERFUL. Don't miss what is meant for YOU. Read them... you will know what you need. Some I left as a full sentence. Some I left out parts that might cause pain to some women. Some I focused in on a particular phrase. Find what resonates with YOU! Find what motivates YOU! Find what creates a little 'divine discontent,' something you know you want or need to work on! Then save them on your phone, print them if you want (they're all 4x6, regular photo size), make one your facebook cover photo or share on Instagram, and I would assume pinning them goes without saying... just me lol?
I'm not trying to self-help you over here. I'm just letting you know one way to savor and study these truths, as we were counseled to do, is to read them often and read them out loud! There is POWER in your VOICE. There is power in the word. There is power in spiritually creating what you desire. And there is power in following the prophet! Faith is a principle of ACTION and POWER and your faith can MOVE MOUNTAINS! Imagine what the combined faith of the Relief Society sisters can do! Let's get real and motivated... let's fulfill our purpose one by one and collectively!
So I've decided the best way to share them all is in THIS Pinterest folder 'Relief Society Declarations.' But here are a few of my favorites. My husband WILL be seeing these on the bathroom mirror, just saying! :)
If you like these, I actually started doing something similar 4-5 years ago. I took sentences or phrases from my patriarchal blessing and turned them into I am statements. I still refer to and recite them often. That's something else you could try if these declarations resonate with you as part of your 'holy habits' or 'righteous routines.'
If you've done anything to follow the counsel of President Nelson's fourth invitation, please let me know how you implemented it into your life! I'd love any other ideas to add to my own and to unite even more in purpose as sisters!