Monday, January 07, 2013

Scripture Challenge Weeks 23-24: A Big New Adventure

The past couple of weeks, Jared and I have been pondering and praying about a big thing that was coming up. And I've been glad to find great peace and comfort in the scriptures.

Today Jared was sustained as the new Bishop of our congregation. This means that for the next few years, he'll work as a volunteer to lead our Sunday meetings, select (through inspiration), train and support all the other volunteer leaders needed to teach and run the programs and activities offered by the church in our area, and do what he can do to promote the temporal and spiritual welfare of the 400 or so people in our ward (congregation). This is a big deal.

The call came as a big surprise. We've only been in the ward a couple years and our great Bishop has only been bishop of our ward for 3 years (5 years is the usual term of service as a bishop). But as it turns out, he lives outside our ward boundaries and was just asked to serve for 3 years as a sort of "special case" assignment.

There are a lot of needs in our ward. We live downtown and many people around us are in transient and challenging situations physically, financially and emotionally. And the bishop of a ward is responsible for a LOT of stuff. But we've also got lots of people willing to help each other. I really love our ward full of diverse followers of Christ.

When Jared's name was announced and he was asked to stand and everyone in the congregation was invited to raise their hand if they agreed to sustain him as Bishop, it was a powerful moment. Wow. As that sea of hands went up and he was invited to take his new place on the stand, Jared said he felt the weight of the world on his shoulders. But after church, as Jared received a beautiful blessing from the Stake President (in charge of overseeing a dozen or so congregations in our area and extending the call of Bishop - which actually comes from the prophet of the church), he was blessed with all the wisdom and abilities and support he would need to fulfill his new duties while being a great husband and father and finding ongoing success in his professional life. As his brother, the Stake Presidency, the new counselors he's chosen to help him run the ward, my dad, and Jared's brother Joel surrounded him and placed their hands on his head to offer this blessing, Jared said he felt that huge burden he'd felt upon being sustained lift considerably as he was given the powers and blessings he needs to do what he's been called and sustained to do.

Everyone was so nice in the ward. So many people came up to express love and appreciation for our family and confidence in Jared. And I felt such love for Jared as he sat up there on the stand, tearing up a little now and then (he said his eyes were just sweating) as he looked out at all the people he'll be knowing and loving and serving more and more. With lots of help from lots of good people and from the Lord, Jared is going to do a wonderful job.

I sort of feel like we're getting on a roller coaster blindly but that all will be well. You know how you usually watch a roller coaster go several times around while waiting in line - you see how many loops and dips there will be - you get excited and a little scared - you sort of know what to expect. But this is like getting on a roller coaster that's been totally shielded from your view before you got on it and you really don't know what to expect. You're pretty sure it'll be exciting and scary but you're not sure about how many loops there will be or how deep the dips might be or how scary or wonderful some moments will turn out to be. But you do know that the safety harnesses will be totally secure (the support and help of the Lord and so many good people who are willing and able to help) and you've been promised by someone you love and trust (the Lord) that it will be a great ride and you know in your heard that getting on the ride is the right thing to do.

After Jared was sustained, they asked Jared and me along with the former bishop and Jared's new counselors and their wives to all share a few words in Sacrament meeting. Jared stood up there all strong and said just the right things. I felt totally unprepared - somehow I hadn't really thought about the possibility of them asking me to speak. But luckily I had some good thoughts from my scripture reading in mind that I could share.

Here are a few of the scripture thoughts I've had in the past couple weeks that have helped me accept and embrace this new adventure:
  • Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. (Matthew 6:34). Sometimes you just have to step out there and put your hand in the Lord's and trust that he'll take care of the details. Sometimes I get so worked up about what might happen and what might be hard that I forget about trusting in the Lord and living in the present. One of my big focuses for this upcoming year is going to be trusting. Another one is going to be living in the present.
  • By small and simple things shall great things be brought to pass (Alma 37:6). We just need to take one small thing at a time with this calling and those small things will add up to great things. I need to do the same with Power of Moms. Sometimes I get too focused on the big picture which can feel so overwhelming. The Lord's way is to take things piece by piece - line upon line, precept upon precept (Isaiah 28:10), one small act of obedience here, one small act of service there, one prayer and prompting at a time. If we just keep showing up and reaching out to the Lord and seeking inspiration, it'll all work out well.
  • Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings (Alma 37:37). To know which small and simple things to start with, we need to seek God's counsel. Whenever I remember to counsel with the Lord, I find great nudges and sometimes great moments of revelation. When I don't take the time to ask the Lord for guidance - or ask but don't take the time to listen - things just don't work out very well.


Pam said...

How exciting for your family! My husband has been Bishop 2 times and both times have been an amazing experience. Both times he was called and my hands were full to the brim with taking care of little ones, but it was a huge blessing for me to literally feel angels attend me as I took care of a lot of parenting duties alone, those long days and nights. I felt the prayers of the members of our congregation. I still treasure those sacred moments of time. I loved your thoughts. Thank you for sharing!

Hilary said...

Oh man, that sure sounds like fun!
I just took a cassserole to our bishop's wife... maybe someone will do the same for you. :)

Jill said...

Saren this will be a great blessing to your family. You have an amazing family. Best to you as "mother of the ward" :). Thanks again for your inspiration with your scripture challenge. I think you were well prepared to share your testimony.

L3 said...

You'll never stop being surprised at the blessing that will come to you and your family. You will never stop being surprised at how much of a target you and your children may become. :) Sometimes, I felt like we should get bulls-eye target shirts. The scriptures you highlighed will be perfect comfort.
Nothing is as difficult as the time between when he's called, and when he's sustained. Things will settle down now.

Rachelle said...

SO excited for you and your family. Open your windows for the blessings!!!

Shy said...

That's cool.... Enjoy the blessings of the service. Thank you so much for sharing those scriptures! Amazing. Just what I needed to hear and it goes along with what we discussed at learning circle last night.

Rebecca said...

Wow!!! I don't know why but I got all emotional when I read this. I can't even imagine the depth and breadth of good influence that will be felt by so many as a result of this call.


shawni said...

He's going to be one amazing bishop. Lucky ward.

Kelly King Anderson said...

Beautiful, beautiful! Now we ALL know why you moved, don't we? You are service driven and the Lord knows this. It's a wonderful assignment for all of you and I know you'll all be blessed as a result. Happy for Jared to grow in this calling. Amazing.


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