women sitting on couch

Illustration by Allen Garns

When I was called as Relief Society president, I was a busy young mother. I had grown up in the Church and lived my life according to its teachings, but I knew I wasn’t perfect and felt concerned about my ability to help the struggling sisters in my ward.

One Sunday in church I felt particularly downhearted. All day I had been stopped by sisters who needed me. Some needed help with welfare, and some just needed me to listen to them. Then the Spirit prompted me not to go into sacrament meeting when it started, and to my surprise I met a less-active sister in the hall who needed comfort and help and could not wait until the end of the meeting.

When church ended, I was exhausted! I cried in the car all the way home. In my head the following words rang: “Talk to the bishop!” I felt that the bishop would have something wise to tell me about how I could feel less burdened with my calling, but I didn’t want to bother him at the end of a long day at church. I had decided to put off calling him when the phone rang. It was my bishop. He had felt prompted to call me.

I told the bishop how draining it had been for me when so many things needed to be solved at once and how sad I felt that I could not help more sisters. He listened patiently. We also went through some of the welfare questions that had come up during the day, and I felt better.

When the conversation ended, I said, “I thought you would have something wise to tell me about how not to feel so overburdened.” He answered that he wished he had something like that to say, but unfortunately he didn’t.

Even though my question wasn’t answered, I felt happy when I hung up the phone. I felt that the Lord had answered my need for guidance and support.

During the following weeks the feelings of insecurity returned, and I prayed to understand what I needed to do to become a better Relief Society president. One day, as I listened to general conference, some words caught my attention, and the Spirit spoke strongly to my heart. I understood that the reason I had felt so inadequate was because I was inadequate on my own.

Through his example, my bishop had shown me how important it is to listen to the Holy Ghost. It is the Spirit that is the key to our callings in the Church, not our own talents or skills. For the first time in a long time, I felt peace and assurance.

I still lack experience and am just as busy with my family as before, but I no longer believe that I must carry out my calling perfectly. Heavenly Father can provide me with the things I need to carry out His will and is able to magnify our efforts as long as we keep His commandments.