To be perfectly frank when I first made the transition from young women in to Relief Society I felt a bit odd. Suddenly I found myself surrounded by women who knew much more about life, and who had a ton of experience. After working past those feelings of inadequacy so often attached with comparison, I began to understand what a rich and valuable resource I was now a part of. Over time the magnitude of that resource has come to mean even more to me in my life, particularly as a single adult.
My first truly immersed experience with Relief Society came as a recently returned missionary. I was seeking for more purpose in my life and, therefore, began an intense amount of praying that I would find it and recognize it. The Lord in His kindness taught me a very important lesson, line upon line. First the Lord saw fit to call me as a secretary in the Relief Society. There, I was blessed to understand the importance of working together with other sisters to try to help the Lord’s work progress. Sitting in those meetings with those sisters I learned a tremendous amount about what it meant to receive revelation and to act according to the will of the spirit. Then, I was blessed to become a teacher in the Relief Society- that spirit of revelation began to mean even more to me as I poured my heart and soul into studying the gospel. I then began to understand why the Lord valued teaching his daughters the doctrine of the gospel. Some of those scriptures studies have been the favorite of my life.
Then, suddenly out of nowhere (which actually means, carefully planned and prepared by the Lord), the Bishop called me into a random room and said, “Ashley, the Lord would like you to be the new Relief Society President.” Who knew that one moment would make such a poignant impact upon my life? Instead of no purpose I found myself a bit overwhelmed by the amount of purpose I had. Each one of those sisters that I was called to serve now entered my prayers, my thoughts, and my time. On days that were hard for me the Lord would place a sister from my ward in my path who had a harder day. It was eye opening to witness the deep struggles that sisters faced. Addictions, depression, self-deprecation- I saw Satan attacking the woman of the church. In the same moment I also saw some of the most beautiful and secret acts of service, compassion, and love. Visiting teachers were going above and beyond. Friends were looking out for each other. I truly saw sisters who were acting as the Savior’s hands in the lives of other people. So, while I saw the opposition that many individuals faced, I also saw as James E. Talmage once said, “The World’s Greatest Champion of Woman and Womanhood is Jesus Christ” Those women who acted like Christ brought others to feel of His tremendous love for them.
It was also at this time that I learned another lesson, men and women work side by side to help the work of God move forward. In Daughters In My Kingdom we read, “the women of the church have united with the men who hold the priesthood to build God’s kingdom on the earth and strengthen the homes of Zion” There wasn’t one day during the year and a half of service that I didn’t talk with either the Bishop, one of his counselors, or the Elder’s Quorum President. We were in constant communication about who needed help and how we could facilitate that help. The brethren helped with the sisters, and the sisters helped with the brethren. We worked together to see miracles at this time in our lives! I saw how much faithful home teachers changed people, and I saw how much power there can be in unity.
As I sat pondering upon these precious experiences this week and seeking that purpose again I realized I had to look no further than to the Relief Society. Perhaps it is true for you as well. If you are looking for a friend, have you tried visiting teaching? If you are looking for an improved gospel study, have you tried reading the lesson each week? If you are searching for ways to serve, have you spoken to your compassionate service leader? If you are looking to understand God’s plan for your life, have you studied, “Daughters in My Kingdom”? If you are looking to find purpose in life, have you tried actively participating in Relief Society?
I have learned for myself through experience and through the spirit that Relief Society is the Lord’s organization for His daughter’s here on the earth. I have found friendship, scriptural knowledge, service opportunities, unity with priesthood leaders- all through the Relief Society. These are blessings attainable to every single adult sister in the church if she chooses to accept them.
Ashley Dewey is extremely talented at being single. Hobbies include awkward conversations with members of the opposite sex, repelling third dates, talking to boys about their girl problems and to girls about their boy problems. In her spare time she also has a very fulfilling school life, work life, and social life. Besides being a professional single, Ashley is also a BYU graduate with a degree in linguistics (Aka word nerd). She enjoys studying other languages, particularly American Sign Language, and finds most all of them fascinating. She is currently pursuing a masters degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. Ashley works most of the time and has often been accused of being a workaholic. Currently she works full time as a merchandiser and supervisor in a retail store, and part time doing social media work. On her day off she works (really it doesn't feel like work) in the Provo LDS temple. The only kind of work she finds difficulty focusing on is house work. Her favorite activities in her free time are reading, writing, creating social experiments, and spending time with great friends and family. Specific activities with those family and friends include: going to concerts, plays, dance recitals, BYU basketball and football games, and watching sports on television.