When my children were young, I didn’t think I had enough time for Church callings—especially in the Primary. Because I spent all day every day dealing with children, I longed for a break on Sundays. I was sure what I needed most was the company of other adults and adult ideas to stimulate a brain I feared was deteriorating with overexposure to children’s prattle.
However, when I was called to serve in the nursery, it seemed right, so I took a deep breath and plunged in. I thoroughly cleaned and organized the meetinghouse toy closet. I was more organized than I’d ever been, and it carried over into our home. The quality of my own children’s lives escalated, and I appreciated them more. Our whole family was blessed.
Then I was called to serve as Primary president. I took another deep breath and plunged in. The nature of this calling was different from my nursery service, yet the blessings still came. My own children became more involved with Primary as they helped me create visual aids and bulletin board displays. Sharing times were often recycled to become favorite family home evening lessons. As I struggled and prayed for ideas of how to teach children, stories came to mind, which I began to write down. To my amazement, many of these stories have since been published. I may never have discovered that talent if I hadn’t accepted that calling.
One day the bishop came by and extended a new calling to me. He apologized and confessed that this calling didn’t seem reasonable to extend to me at that time, but he had felt impressed to do so and would leave the decision to me. It was a particularly challenging responsibility, and I didn’t see how I could do it on top of many other pressures in my life. I turned it down. It wasn’t until some time later that it became apparent why the bishop had felt inspired to extend such a call to me. That calling would have given me the opportunity to draw close to a daughter who was about to face a difficult time in her life. Father in Heaven knew this. I did not. In my blind logic I did not accept a call that would have prepared our family for future events.
I came to realize that callings are needed blessings. I determined to accept all callings, no matter how challenging they seem or how incapable I feel. In recent years that resolve has been severely tested.
My children are older now. Because they have at times struggled with their testimonies, I have sometimes felt like a failure as a parent and unworthy to serve in Church callings. So when I was extended a call to serve as a stake missionary, I was surprised and grateful. As I taught in my new calling, I often felt like a hypocrite for inviting people to attend a church that one of my own children would not attend. At those times I’d try to remember that Heavenly Father knew about my family situation and called me to do missionary work anyway.
The blessings of missionary work have been amazing. As a result of having the full-time missionaries over for frequent meals and meetings, my children have developed friendships that have extended beyond the missionaries’ release dates. These fine returned missionaries are corresponding with my children and encouraging them to keep the faith. A vibrant young lady who was baptized following my initial contact with her has become another friend and example to my children. She seems able to reach my children in ways that I cannot. Who could have imagined that such longed-for blessings would result because I accepted a call in faith?
It is true that when we are in the service of our fellow beings we are only in the service of our God (see Mosiah 2:17). And I have learned that when we are in the service of our God, He blesses our lives in a personal way. Heavenly Father knows our needs even better than we do, and it is often through a calling that He meets those needs.