At the beginning of the year I got a calling that has been a bit of a challenge for me. I know it is silly- but being a Sunbeams teacher was honestly the hardest calling I have EVER had! I think most of that had to do with the fact that I live with a 3 year old. This calling took away the only 2 hours of my week that were almost guaranteed to be void of 3 year old interaction. My Sundays went from a day of refuge and adult conversation, to a day of toddlers, potty runs, head shoulders knees and toes, and attempting to keep 10 pairs of hands off of each other. It was hard- but it was fun too. I bonded with most of my kids and grew to love them very much! So, it was a bit of a bittersweet moment when I got released from the hardest calling I ever had.
When the Executive Secretary called to have me meet with the bishopric and stated that it was important that the meeting happen soon, I knew a new calling was on its way. I spent my morning contemplating the possibilities and getting excited! Speculation was rampant in the house as my husband and I reviewed who was leaving, and what big callings might be open. I knew a member of the Young Women's Presidency was moving, a Relief Society teacher had recently been released, and the choir director had recently sold his home. I was thrilled as all three of these callings are ones I have coveted in non-sinful ways, of course.
When the Second Counselor met with me, he was acting a little strange. He greeted my family and me, and painfully led us through some awkward small talk before getting to the core of the matter.
"Sister Goodman, we have a new calling to present to you, and I am a little unsure as to how to go about it. The thing is- this is quite an unorthodox calling. In fact, I have never heard of another person having this calling in any of my other wards! We had to get special permission from the Stake President to make this calling available, and it was created specifically for you. It really is quite unorthodox. This is by far the strangest calling I have ever had to extend. . ."
. . . and on and on and on. He went on for FIVE WHOLE MINUTES telling me how weird my new calling was to be and to ensure me that it had been created through Inspiration from the Spirit.
I was confused- and a little worried to be honest. I knew none of my other thoughts could be right as all of them were actual callings that were not unorthodox in any way. I seriously wondered if they were calling me to work with the young men, or help the priesthood leadership or something. Finally he came down to it- and the truth is, it was not strange at all.
". . . We would like to ask you if you would be willing to serve as the Third Counselor in the Primary Presidency."
Now, I have never had a ward with a third counselor in anything, but I know it has been done in the First Presidency at least twice. To be honest- it made PERFECT sense to me. Our Primary is HUGE and our building is too small to accomodate splitting it. This seemed like an obvious way to help the Presidency spread the burden of responsibility, and take better care of the children.
I was touched later that night when Katie, the President, came to my house to give me a brief synopsis of what my new responsibilities would be. She said she had a very strong and unmistakable prompting that told her I needed to be one of her counselors. She spent the next few days praying about which of her counselors to release, and could never feel comfortable with the idea of replacing either of them. This was frustrating to her as she still had the strong burning of revelation telling her that I needed to be a part of her Presidency. She took the matter to the Bishop (who is an AMAZING man), and they came up with the solution of adding a third counselor to the Presidency. They took the matter to a meeting with the Stake President who heard the issue, prayed about it, and came back with the answer that they had made the right choice.
I was very touched to hear that story because I had been struggling with my calling as a Sunbeams teacher because I seriously doubted that it was a calling of inspiration. I was fairly certain (and right, it turns out) that I was meant to teach an older class, but was told to teach the class that other people had refused. I had struggled a lot with it because I felt that I was serving out of desperation, and yet I had promised myself long ago to NEVER refuse a calling in the Church. It was very calming to my Spirit to know that this was a calling of pure inspiration. The Lord wanted me specifically to serve the children of this GIANT ward in this calling. I needed that. I needed to know that He was fully aware of me, and was truly directing my path.
My first week as a full member of the Presidency came a week after I was sustained. My heart broke over and over as it dawned on my Sunbeams that I was really no longer their teacher. I had tried to explain it the week before, but when they saw me sitting at the front- some of them were devastated. The horrible thing is, a little piece of me was happy! They love me too!
When Ammon found out, he ran into the hall with his mom and I could hear him screaming, "No! I'm not going! I want my teacher!! No- the GOOD teacher! I don't want that other teacher- I want the NICE one who likes my sweater!" Awesome- and I do love his sweater. Hannah just sat and sobbed quietly. She put her head in her lap and just silently cried. She would lift her head up, look at me, and tears would just spill over her face. Jonas refused to sit with the class. He spent the first week sitting at the front with me. He went to his class after singing time only because I told him it would make me happy.
I felt bad that they were so sad- but it really meant a lot to me that they were that upset about me not being their teacher anymore. I think it says a lot about how much teachers truly affect their student's lives. I only saw these kids for two hours a week- and most of that time I was reminding them to be reverent and stay in their seats. Somewhere in between all of that, we formed a bond. That was the hardest calling I have ever had in the church (WAY harder than this new one!!) and so I guess it is fitting that it was the hardest one for me to let go as well.
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