Sunday, January 15, 2017

Personal Ministry

Today was our 2017 Ward Conference and it started off with a bang. At about 6:30am I was awaken by little Shawn informing us that the power was out. After checking my local community Facebook Group, it was confirmed that not only was our power out, but so was most of the west San Fernando Valley- and the rumor was that it would not be restored for a couple days. What the heck..... so I got out of bed, showered (I wanted dibbs on the hot water LOL) and got back in bed to kill some time on Facebook.

I really had no idea what to do about church because if power was out all over, were we supposed to still show up to the building? I hoped that there would be some type of communication but nothing came.

Thankfully the power came back on about 20 minutes later so I jumped up, put Pandora on the Kirk Frankin channel and began making the cookies that I volunteered to bring for the Linger Longer. I was in a pure state of joy- and something inside told me that I needed to have a conversation with my Stake President because I had a few things on my mind.

After the normal running around like a crazy lady to get all the kids ready and out the door Sunday routine, we arrived to Sacrament just as our Stake President was speaking and he read James 1:27 and my heart exploded. His entire talk was about how we need to be more intentional with our "Personal Ministry" towards those in need. The exact thing that I wanted to talk to him about- I began to hear the Twilight Zone theme music in my head :)

So here is the backstory:

In March 2015, I was diagnosed with Severe Depression and Anxiety, which apparently I had been battling with since the beginning of the year. Now this was a surprise to me and my family because it wasn't as if I was balled up in a dark corner all the time. There can be two extremes to this mental illness, either you respond how I described above and totally disconnect from the world or you are what I call "high functioning" Check out this article on the "Superwoman Syndrome"), in which the perception to others is as if you have everything under control and in some areas are highly
successful. Well I seemed to have the latter down packed and spent the next year and a half battling mental illness. I will save my journey through mental illness for another blog post, but it wasn't until about two weeks ago that I actually made the decision to put my #faith in God and began to focus on my own healing.

It hit me like a ton of bricks this morning before church, that because I embraced this "Superwoman Syndrome" so strong, many others may not have felt the need to reach out to me on the ministry level. For the past year I had become more and more distant from the Gospel and specifically church. Although I had an important calling as Stake Young Women Secretary, I had enough leeway where I didn't need to be super active in church (this is what was going on in my mind.) As long as I fulfilled my responsibilities of the calling, that would be good enough- and because I loved the youth and being around the other youth leaders so much, that was just enough to keep me engaged.

Finally around the beginning of the summer- I was at my breaking point, mentally, physically and spiritually. I kept myself busy and essentially sane by pumping up my Superwoman-ness and throwing everything I had into my business- and when I was released from my calling it was as if my connection from the church was also released. In my mind it was no big deal, but my health continued to decline and I had to fight hard to keep "Superwoman" alive.

So fast forward back to today:

When President Grasteit quoted 2 Nephi 33:6,
"I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell."
I realized that I am able to beat this illness because of my Heavenly Father and the LOVE that I have for him. President Grasteit challenged me (and everyone else in the church meeting) to "make my association with church very personal." This challenge has reminded me to reconnect with church- the way I connected when I visited the families while serving as Primary President, the way I connected with the Relief Society while serving as Enrichment Night Activities Coordinator, the way I connected when I was first Baptized and became a member of the Tarzana Ward. I just have to say that their is no greater calling than that to Personal Ministry and I am thankful to have been reminded of that today.

Some of the ways that I will fulfill my Personal Ministry include:
  1. Embracing my Visiting Teaching assignment
  2. Developing closer relationships with sisters in the Ward
  3. Meeting regularly with the Ward Missionaries
  4. Planning for my first visit to the Temple

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