Monday, November 16, 2009

What Primary (Still!) Teaches Me . . .

This week it was my turn to do Sharing Time for the Primary children. I love this part of my calling; even though I am not at all comfortable speaking in front of a group, it always helps my testimony grow when I see how much the Gospel means to those children, and witness the formation of their own testimonies.

This week the topic was setting a good example of service in our family. Which made me think of all the good examples of service that were set for me. I grew up in a wonderful family, with faithful parents who put raising their family first, who always helped those around them, and steadfastedly served in their callings. They were the greatest example of service in my life. And there were others who taught me by example, as well.

I remember the day, quite a few years ago, when I was called to be the Primary President. We had only been in the area for about a year, and our ward had just been divided. My only previous experience in Primary was as the pianist. I actually giggled when the Bishop extended the calling. (Me?) That might seem disrespectful or sacrilegious, of course unless you knew that the Bishop and his wife were good friends of ours.

I said "Are you sure? I have never done anything like that before." And all he said in reply was "Oh yes, we are sure". Somehow those simple words lifted me up and gave me courage.
But as soon as I stepped outside his office, I burst into tears. I was overwhelmed. How was I going to be able to serve in this capacity? My fourth child was a toddler, and my husband and I were trying to get a new business off the ground. The time commitment seemed overwhelming.

But as I prayed and pondered on how in the world I could fulfill this calling to serve these precious children, I was prompted by the Holy Ghost in two ways: to pick 2 specific women to be my counselors, whose talents and capabilities far exceeded my own, and most importantly, their strong testimonies would bring spirituality to the Primary where mine was so lacking. (My testimony wasn't weak, but my spirituality certainly was.) The second prompting was to draw on the experiences I'd had as a primary pianist.

In what way could I do that? Our prior wards had always had wonderful, spiritual, and accomplished women in the Primary. I had been given the opportunity during those years to watch and absorb each week all of the wonderful ways that they served in their callings. I drew so much from that as I struggled to fulfill my role. There were many times that I wanted to give up. But with the support and love of my counselors and the example of those previous sisters, I learned and grew in the Gospel.
I am so grateful for all that I learned from that experience. Now, about 12 years later, as I serve again as a primary counselor, I am thankful for the wonderful sisters that I am blessed to work with, especially our wonderful president. I know what she is going through, and I try to do all I can to lighten her load. I know that my Heavenly Father has given me these experiences to not only serve others, but to help me learn and grow.

And I carry with me the realization that I may be looked upon as an example to others, and that I have the responsibility to be the best kind of example that I can. A heavy load to carry, but I hope that I can in some small way, inspire others to love and fulfill their callings, no matter what they may be.
No calling in the LDS Church is insignificant. I have learned that firsthand.


Debbie said...

Such a honest and humble post. The only calling I've had in primary was the primary chorister, which I loved to death! I've sub a few times in primary and I simply love the innocent testimonies of those precious children. It is a great place to be!

Lisa said...

I also love serving in primary. The children are thirsty to do what's right and feel the spirit. I did sharing time yesterday too :)

susette said...

Oh wow Loralee. The same exact feelings were resurfacing as I read this post. I had been a primary pianist as well for a number of years ages ago and about 2 years ago was given the same opportunity to serve as Primary President. I almost laughed too. Great counselors make a HUGE difference and I had some very wonderful ladies serving with me. Great teachers are so beneficial as well. It's amazing how well the primary program can function when everyone is doing their part and serving with all their heart.

I'm sure you have touched many lives in your calling! Keep up the great work.

wendy said...

I was giggling over how you said your testimony wasn't weak, but your spirituality was.
I often find myself lacking in "spirituality" -----or maybe it is just more reverance I am lacking in.

You will do a great job!! don't worry. Kids are forgiving --just love them and they will love you back.

Jacquie @ Joy Made Full said...

There is such a sweetness in teaching children.

Following through MBC.

Barbaloot said...

Wow-Primary President? I can't imagine that time and effort that takes. I'll stick with the singles' ward for now:)

M-Cat said...

Love this post. I haven't been in Primary very often, but I love it there. Your so right about drawing on past experiences.