Young Women is the name of the program for teenage girls in the LDS church. As a girl between the ages of 12 and 18, we have a class together on Sundays, regular activities once a week, and other special activities like Girl's Camp, Youth Conference, dances and service projects. We also participate in a program called Personal Progress that helps us learn to set and achieve goals. It is a wonderful program and I feel very grateful to have been able to participate. I am sure this program made a very significant contribution to who I am today.
As I thought of writing about the Young Women's program, I found myself drawn to one particular event. I was a 12 year old, fresh out of Primary and completely open to suggestions about my future. A young sister was called to be the Beehive leader. She had a couple of kids and I think she was expecting. She worked full-time and didn't actually come to church very often. She was nice but I didn't really think she was the kind of person who would influence my life. In fact she was released after only a short time and I have no memory of her after that.
One Sunday, she brought a handout to go with the lesson. It said "You have divine attributes! You have the potential to become a Queen in the Celestial Kingdom." The message was handwritten on a little purple card with flowers in the corners.
I took it home and stuck on the mirror in my room. It stayed there for the next 6 years. I saw it every day. Sometimes I read it. Sometimes I just glanced at it and knew what it said. That little purple card was a constant reminder of who I am and who I want to become. I have no doubt that having such a reminder helped me navigate the dangerous waters of adolescence and emerge on the other side in one peice.
I still have that card, tucked away in a box of mementos. I saw it recently when I was trying to declutter. I instantly felt that same sense of importance I felt as a teenager. Not pride or arrogance but a feeling that I had potential and that my Heavenly Father wanted me to do my very best. I realized I hadn't felt that in a while.
I thought of that sweet sister from so long ago. I realized that even now I might think her contribution was insignificant, that she had not done well in her calling and that she had been replaced by someone better. I am sure I have judged many by the same measuring stick. I have learned how wrong that is. I only have vague memories of the person who replaced this sister. I am sure she did a fine job. While her consistency was certainly comforting and encouraging, she didn't make a lasting impression.
Working with the youth, even the Priamry children, can seem like a thankless effort. THe kids roll their eyes, pick at each other, stare into space, fidget, squirm, complain, play, kick, climb, cry and, sometimes smile. Bu we simply can't know what gets through. We might never know the fruits of our labors. This kind of calling requires great faith on our part.
I hope that those who work with the youth of the church never forget the power of their influence. You are adding drops of oil to lamps of testimony in the lives of those children. Each brings them that much closer to the Lord. Don't Ever give up on them!