“Where We Find Relief,” Liahona, March 2018
When my family and I lived in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, I served for a time as ward Relief Society president. I thrived on the wonderful associations I had with the good sisters in our ward. I loved planning uplifting activities, conducting Relief Society, attending meetings with ward leaders, and serving families.
I spent a significant amount of time going into homes to visit with sisters. I also ministered to mothers who were exhausted, sick, or simply overwhelmed—sisters who needed comfort, both spiritual and physical. I felt fulfilled and needed outside of my responsibilities as a young mother of six children.
Then my life suddenly changed.
My husband accepted a job promotion in another state. Within a month we packed up and left our home in sunny Las Vegas for a small rental house in cold Casper, Wyoming. The same week that we moved, I found out I was pregnant—with twins!
The night we arrived at our rental home, I became violently ill. I remember lying in bed hardly able to move while I watched my husband manage our children and unload our moving van. That was the beginning of the worst physical challenge of my life. For the next four months, I couldn’t keep a meal down and barely had enough energy to serve my family, care for our children, and—sometimes—make meals.
As my husband adjusted to his new job, I adjusted to our new town and enrolled four of our children in school. Our tiny rental home was cramped, and for several weeks we lived out of boxes. I would send our school children out the door every morning and then spend the day on the couch while my two toddlers played nearby.
One morning after the children had left for school, the doorbell rang. One of my toddlers opened the door, and there stood a sister from our new ward’s Relief Society presidency. She was holding a basket of items and had her own daughter with her. She had come to welcome me to the ward.
I was mortified.
There I was, still in my pajamas, lying on the couch with a bucket beside me. My two partially dressed toddlers were playing on the cluttered floor amidst boxes that still needed to be unpacked.
This wonderful sister came in and set her basket down on a corner of the table. Then she sat in our cluttered living room and visited with me—asking all about me and our family.
As we talked, I felt humbled. Just a month earlier, I had been in her position, visiting people and offering aid. Now the tables had turned. I was flat on my back in a messy house in desperate need of relief. I was lonely, overwhelmed, and dealing with a situation larger than my abilities. I was one of those sisters who needed help. The Lord had quickly and successfully reminded me that I needed Him and the help offered through His servants.
After she left, the sight of her welcome basket on my table gave me relief and light. During the next few weeks, I savored the contents of the basket and was grateful for our budding friendship as she visited again and again, offering help and support during those difficult months. I gained a new appreciation for the hope and relief that one sister can bring to another.
A few months later we bought a home big enough for our growing family. My difficult pregnancy ended with the birth of two beautiful children. And the kind Relief Society sister became my close friend and continues to strengthen and uplift me with her testimony and example. I often reflect on the difficult morning of her first visit and feel grateful that she fulfilled her calling.
I testify that we are “all beggars” before God (see Mosiah 4:19). Our circumstances may change at any moment, bringing us to a new realization of how much we depend upon our Father—and upon those who serve us for Him. I know now more than ever that Relief Society is a place where sisters of all situations can and should find relief as they care for, serve, and love one another.