Friday, January 22, 2016

Sharing Your Story

A few weeks ago I was invited to participate in a Relief Society Meeting, one of the meetings that happens on a weekday instead of Sunday.  The theme of the meeting was: Women of Faith.  I was asked to share a little bit of my story and tell a little bit about how I remain a woman of faith, maybe share some of my trials or challenges, etc.

When the counselor of our RS presidency stood to introduce the meeting, she shared the story of a friend who had moved into a new community.  That community had a larger LDS population than she had experienced before and she expressed the feeling that she didn't fit in there.  Maybe she felt like she couldn't relate or had such different life experiences from everyone else that she just didn't feel like she knew how to click with her new community. The purpose of our meeting was to help everyone know that even though we all have different backgrounds and come from different places, there are threads of commonality in our experiences.

After that introduction 3 of us were able to share our individual stories and something of how our lives have helped us to have faith and how we remain faithful - meaning that we continue to have faith even when times are hard.  The two other women who shared their stories had had very different life experiences from me.  They had both endured serious hardships in their lives and I found myself getting nervous because I wasn't going to share those kinds of experiences.

Truthfully, I have always felt that I have lived a very very good life.  I was born to amazing parents, had a great family life, married an amazing man who loves and adores me and I love and adore him.  We have been blessed with 2 amazing children.  He has a great job and we have a great life.  That doesn't mean that I have never had challenges and I shared a couple of things in that meeting that have been challenges for me and my family.  But really, I knew that what I was going to share that night wasn't very dramatic or really anything out of the ordinary.  I wondered if what I had to say would be a disappointment to everyone listening after the amazing experiences of those amazing sisters!  (Seriously...their personal experiences are amazing!!)

Well, I shared what I had on my mind anyway and told my story.  I shared a couple of experiences that I called the bedrock of my own personal faith and testimony.  I felt good about what I shared and even though it wasn't very dramatic, it was definitely my own story.  Since then, I have felt some amazing things. I have felt a different camaraderie with the other two sisters who spoke that night.  We may have very different backgrounds, but we share many things, including the opportunity to share that night and that has a binding power all its own.  The other thing I have felt is the love and acceptance of the sisters who were there that night.  I have had some people tell me that they could really relate with what I was sharing and that there are a lot of similarities between our lives.  Of course we have not lived the same life, but they could relate with my experiences.  It makes me want to hear more of their stories.

The stories of other women are important to women.  We deeply want to feel connected to our sisters and the truth is we all can feel connected to each other.  Even though our individual circumstances and stories differ, we really can relate with each other because we are all human beings trying to figure out life and we need other people and we need to feel connected.  Now...I just need to get women to start sharing their stories...any ideas???


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