I sat and stared in disbelief as Brother Jarman, a member of the branch presidency, waited for my answer.
Maybe he had meant to say teacher or counselor. But he hadn’t. What I heard was correct; he had called me as the Relief Society president in our small branch.
I sat still for some time reflecting on my situation. I was just 27 years old and had never been married. I had recently moved to the area and was beginning a new job as a journalist. My leadership experience was limited. I had served in several callings over the years but never one like this.
Silently I asked myself if I was old enough or experienced enough or if I even had the ability to serve. What could I possibly offer the women of the branch?
I went home that night, knelt in prayer, and asked Heavenly Father for direction. After I finished my prayer, I was instantly drawn to look at my patriarchal blessing. I read this sentence: “You are to be about that work which you were assigned to do now, even while you are young.”
As I read those words, I realized that this was not about my marital status, my age, or what I could do. It was about what the Lord needed me to do. I accepted the calling.
Through my calling I was able to help people despite our different backgrounds. One woman in particular whom God led me to serve was a woman in her late 20s, a single mother of two children. It didn’t take me long to realize that she and I had different lifestyles. I wasn’t sure how to be her friend, but in time we did develop a friendship.
On another occasion I met with a less-active woman. I recall entering her home for the first time along with the missionaries and knowing that she had a testimony; she just needed a little bit of “kindling” to help it burn brighter. As we sat in her living room and listened to her, the Spirit was strong and prompted us to bear testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
In the following months she came to church sporadically. But I was continually led by the Spirit and bore my testimony to her. Today she is active and serving in the branch.
Those were some of the highlights of the calling, but the challenges were numerous. It was a struggle to feel like I was doing enough, to find balance between church and work, and to overcome feelings of inadequacy.
In the end I realized that much of what I was able to do was through the Spirit. I have since been released from the calling and have moved away from that city. But I have often reflected how that calling influenced the sisters—and me. Through it I came to the knowledge that I, as a young single sister, had something to offer others as we grew together in the gospel. Though I felt unqualified for the position, I worked hard to fulfill my calling. And as I did, I felt God’s hand guiding me and qualifying me for His work.