Catch, Call and Release



In our church we have what we refer to as "Callings". Since our church is a lay church (nobody gets paid for their service) responsibilities are divided up into different jurisdictions. The congregation is divided into several groups and presidencies preside over each group. These responsibilities are usually given for an indeterminate amount of time, but generally last a couple of years or so.

For the last few years I have served as the Young Women's President in our congregation. This meant that I (along with my amazing counselors and advisers) was responsible for the girls aged 12-18. For most of the time we had about 18 girls in our care.

It was a period of growth for me. It was not an easy calling. Which is not to say there weren't plenty of moments of fun, hilarity and great joy. The girls were so kind to me. But there was also a great amount of angst because I grew to love and care passionately about these sweet girls. Heavens knows that even at my advanced age, I am not without my own set of angst and hormones. But they are teenagers! They deal with a lot, I do not envy them their youth because it is not the care-free time some portray it to be. It's a tough, tough time. It can be exciting and thrilling and wonderful...but it's not care-free.



This Sunday I got "released" which meant that I was relieved of my responsibilities which will now be taken over by somebody else. In some ways it seems like yesterday that I was talking about this process in reverse.

Because I had been in for quite a while, it was not entirely unexpected, and not entirely unwelcome. It is an intense, emotionally draining and time-consuming responsibility and there are periods of burn-out that come with that.

At the same time, it is sad and it is a shock to the system. Once it all sunk in and I had the chance to give my last lesson and say my last good-bye to "my girls" as their leader, I could not help but lapse into the ugly-cry. I felt for them. Teenagers would rather go technology free for a WHOLE HOUR then witness an old lady going into the ugly cry, as she squeaks about how much she loves them and how special they are. They may even trade that ordeal for 2 hours sans texting. Which is saying a lot.

My wise sister who has served as the president of every auxilliary, warned me that I would feel bereft and a little at sea when it all sank in, and she was right. Suddenly this major role in your life is no longer. I'm not the mom anymore. These girls were my babies. I love them so very much. I prayed for them very often, with great intensity. I worried about them constantly, I cried over their trials. I tried so hard to help them see what I see in them, what I know God sees in them. I stayed up late most Saturday nights making birthday cards, preparing lessons and cutesy handouts for them to throw away, together with my (truly awesome) counselors, I planned weekly activities and organized events. I went to camp. And the meetings. Lots of those.

But gosh I wish I had done more. More of the stuff that really counts. I am told that everyone feels as though they could have done more, wishes they had done more. If this is true, I am no exception. I wish I had done more. And as ready as I felt I was so many times to be free of the emotional burden of the responsibility, if I could go back and do it all over again, I would. And I would do more. I could have done more.


This whole "calling" process is not always a picnic. We don't get to sign up for the job we want or think we have time for, or think we'd be good at.

But most of the time we take the job, even if we feel inadequate about it or just plain do not want to do it. We do this because we believe that our calls are inspired. We believe that God wants us to be in a certain place, doing certain things with and for certain people at a certain time for a reason. Even if it seems like an impossibly inappropriate match for us. We take on callings we think we don't want and can't do, because along with a sense of duty, deep down we know they are inspired and we don't want to lose out on the blessings and experiences we know will come with them. Or the growth. Because these perks are considerable and at times, undeniably miraculous. Sometimes other people are blessed by our service, but we are always blessed by it. That's guaranteed. Tried and tested.

Along with the blessings, growth and joy I have had through this experience, I have discovered yet another advantage of this process. It is a great metaphor for life itself. And I'm all about the metaphors for life. We get to have a small taste of the lack of certainty in life, the finite nature of it. In callings as in life, we don't know when our turn at the wheel is going to end. When our time to make a difference, to learn, love and grow in this realm is going to end. It's best to seize the day. And to do more today. Regrets, powerful as they are, do not turn back time. When it's over, it's over man. Different opportunities and wonders may lie ahead but we do not get back what has passed.

In light of my post below, you can tell that I struggle with this...complacency, procrastination, burn-out. These are all stealthy robbers of opportunity and life...it's good (although somewhat painful) to have reminders like these. I'm so grateful for the experiences I had, the relationships I formed and the blessings I received. I would do it all again.

I'm reading: Catch, Call and ReleaseTweet this!

10 comments:

Jen Lynn said...

Wow, it's cool to see all those girls all growed up. :)

Now, just don't go getting depressed, ya hear???? If you know what I mean...

2busy said...

A bitter sweet moment...

Kallie said...

I got a bit emotional seeing those girls -- it's been such a short, but long time. I know you were a great influence in their lives. Well done. well done.

Dahling said...

I know how you put your heart and soul into this calling, and how much you truly love and care about the girls and your Heavenly Father. He will bless you for everything you have done, and now has a new assignment that only you can fulfill. I know you will do it just as well.

Jill said...

aaahhhh Kirstykins....Not only was your life changed by them but their lives were all changed by you...each little flyer, card, activity and campout showed then that someone besides mom and dad cared about them...Knowing you the way I do I am sure you drilled it into their heads that they are all worthy and capable of amazing things...You had a purpose and fullfilled it...Not many can say that...

Joan Moon said...

I loved working with you in Young Women's...especially the Girl's Camp experience Holiday Inn and all~ You will be great in your new calling - !!

Tooj said...

Although I do not "know" you, and I know you said you didn't get to "pick" this calling....I couldn't imagine a better model for this particular task. The traits you display on this blog alone make me think you're perfect. You speak of things in your life with such tenderness and sweet disposition, patience and ENERGY. What more could teenage girls need? Honestly?

I love reading about your day to day, but I also love reading about your faith and the things you experience with it and through it. I may not know which direction I'm coming or going, but reading your stories give me SOMEthing.....and I'm NOT a teenage girl. :) Your reach is far and wide, Kirsty. I hope you enjoyed your calling!

Peg said...

As usual, you were awesome! What is your new calling and who replaced you?

Jen Lynn said...

I agree with Tooj. Kirsty, your reach IS far and wide. You're a good woman!

Anonymous said...

BoooHoooo!!!!! I loved your old lady ugly cry bit! I do a lot of it while teaching my Institute class, and believe me - a lot older, a lot uglier. And much as it might have embarassed them, I think it helped them know that you really DO love them, which is SO important! Well done on a job really well done! Those close to you know how much you put into it, and sure, we can always do better, but your efforts were another persons very much better. I am proud of you!
Lots of love,
Marmie.