The last two weeks have been discouraging. My final deadline passed and although I could count possible sources for the remaining four stories I needed, they weren't coming in. I had schedule conflicts, sickness, family visits, and church responsibilities. One responsibility that weighed on my mind was a Relief Society meeting scheduled for this week. I've recently been called to the Relief Society board and it was my first time helping with a midweek meeting.
We used the book "Daughters in My Kingdom" as the subject for three talks given by different sisters in the ward. Last October, I was sitting at a broadcast of the Relief Society General Meeting. If you recall, they also used "Daughters in My Kingdom" as the subject for their talks. I didn't hear all of Sister Thompson's talk. It was during it that the spirit washed over me with a powerful prompting to make a collection of inspirational stories about the Relief Society. I cannot forget that feeling as I sat there, wanting to be uncertain of the meaning of the prompting, but not quite able to be.
Last night I made a circle. After months of stretching beyond my comfort zone to find stories, I found myself sitting in a small meeting of sisters, listening to them share their own thoughts and personal experiences related to Relief Society. A miracle unfolded. These women have been my primary leaders, young women leaders, and now my sisters in Relief Society. I love them. As they spoke of the past, I recalled were I was, the moments their own experiences took place, the thoughts in my mind, the difference they made in my life.
I couldn't sleep last night. With the stress of that meeting gone, I knew it was time to refocus on the book. All along, I've moved forward with the hope that the Lord would step in if I did all I could do. Four stories short, I didn't know what else to do. When sleep didn't come, I slipped out of bed and curled up on the couch in the living room. The time on my phone's screen read nearly three in the morning. I unlocked it and tapped on the email icon to pull up the first of my three email accounts (I know, it's a lot.)
Between the time I'd got home and three in the morning, a single email arrived in my inbox, a story from my mom's visiting teaching partner.
Grateful, I opened my second email inbox, and scrolled through the junk mail. A single email told me a sister in my ward had send me a story, attached to a private message on my facebook page.
Relief hit. I'd been waiting for that story for weeks. Two stories more, that's all. I could do that.
It's rare to get more than one story in a day, let alone two, but it's become a habit to check my third email account; the one I set up to collect stories. It is usually empty and I didn't expect much. It'd been empty all day.
Scarcely believing it, I pulled up the inbox and found two more stories from a sweet sister I met at a writer's conference.
I got teary eyed as I read the final stories and looked for the perfect place to put them in the book. I have fifty stories today. But I have so much more. I have new friends. I have a collection of unwritten stories collected in my heart. I have an even stronger testimony that this is the Lord's work and that with Him, nothing is impossible.
As I told my husband about my experiences at last night's meeting, I marveled that one experience can touch so many people, uniquely and individually tailored to each person's needs.
My husband smiled at me. "Its almost as if Someone planned it that way," he said.