When these things I have not

May I recall this Heavenly love

When clouds impede my view

That raises me to joy unbound

And gives me hope anew!

~Zoe Anne Weston


Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”


When Clouds Impede My View

Photo Credit: Tim Evinger

Just after my first wedding anniversary, while still acclimating to a new town, family, friends and life, I was randomly asked to be the payroll manager for a large hospital system to replace a well-loved, longtime employee expeditiously fired for embezzlement. Two weeks later, I was called to be the Relief Society president in the ward we’d recently moved into. Overwhelm doesn’t come close to describing what I felt.


Payroll Friday for 3,000 employees happened on my first week on the job. I’d never seen the software before. I’d never really worked with that complicated of a DOS-based software in my whole life actually. I had two employees who had never really seen the software before either, apparently to avoid discovery of the embezzlement.


I locked myself in my office for days with my ear glued to the phone with the software support rep. Periodically, the Vice President of Finance, Leslie Robinson, checked in to see payroll’s progress.  He’d been our bishop when we first married. We lived in that ward for several months before transitioning to a little house across town. He was an efficient, practical man with very high expectations that the apocalypse wasn’t happening on Payroll Friday.


Late Thursday night, I printed checks. There was no apocalypse. The world didn’t end.


I settled into the responsibility and learned the ins and outs of the job. I have an analytical mind. I deal well with challenges that can be solved with logic, reason, and consistency. I know it’s just a matter of time before it clicks and I conquer the problem.


But managing people was another story altogether. My two employees hated each other. One was perpetually angry and upset because felt she did almost all of the work (which was true). The other was constantly frazzled and defensive because she felt judged in her abilities and disrespected in her environment (which was true.) They would shout at each other and then suddenly not speak for days. I was 27 at the time. One lady was mid-40s. The other was in her 60s.


I decided the frazzled worker just needed more training. She was fairly new to the department. If you don’t understand your job, you can’t do your job. And since I was such a pro after two weeks, ha, I decided to tackle that mountain. I fully expected her to learn her job duties. It wasn’t rocket science.


What I discovered was an unwillingness to be corrected when hitting the wrong keys, inability to learn new things, a chatty mouth about people’s information, a declining memory, and a paranoia I’d never seen before.


One day I was called out of a morning meeting because no one could get through to Payroll.  The voicemail was full and no one answered the phone. As I entered the department, stony silence greeted me. Total silence. No chatter. No phones. I said I’d been called out of the meeting because no one could get through on the phone. Were they aware of an issue?


I’d given Frazzled Employee the responsibility to turn on the phones in the morning.  It was a simple job she could do. Angry Employee knew the phones weren’t turned on, but didn’t turn them on to prove how dumb and irresponsible Frazzled Employee was. Though answering the phones comprised almost the entirety of her job duties, it apparently never occurred to Frazzled Employee that the phones sat silent all morning.


I didn’t know what to do. A year or so later, after multiple attempts to bring her up to speed, and really believing she could and then realizing she might not ever get it, I got creative and found/created a new spot in the Finance department that would be better suited to her talents. My new VP signed off on it, and together we approached her about the new position.


She freaked out, shouted at us, cried, felt betrayed, she thought everyone was against her and said she wouldn’t do it. I said that she would be fired from her job, then. She took the other position.


Within days, she was a different person. She thrived in her new position. She mastered all of the tasks because they relied on her innate talents.


I breathed a sigh of relief. She’d found a new home, the right home, for her in the department. But all of the constant drama and infighting, feeling like I had to babysit every responsibility, red tape and trying to catch and monitor her mistakes to cover ourselves if she lashed back long enough to make the change (which took forever) sucked the life out of me. I swore I’d never be a manager again.


Our hospital system bought out our largest competitor. The other payroll manager had been in the job for over 20 years and had a large team of employees. I’d been there a year. I became her assistant manager.  But soon after the merger, I happily accepted a project to oversee the installation of new fancy time clocks and train thousands of employees, departments, payroll, how to use the new system.  Sweet. Right up my alley. I was finally in the right spot for me, too, I thought. I reported to the VP and CFO and worked generally with a spectacular conversion team some of the time and autonomously the rest of the time.


I Never Want To Be a Leader Again


And I refused every manager job ever presented to me again.


Simultaneously, I served as Relief Society president. I loved our ward and who I served with. I loved the sisters. But I felt a real disconnect in my brain relating to things like “yes, I’ll be a visiting teacher” to assigning a route and then the sister never going or “Sure, I’ll put a list of opening and closing hymns together for RS,” but then never getting a song list after repeated reminders.


I felt some disenchantment feeling the dis-empowerment of women I loved. Why did they choose the way they did? I’d been taught that not keeping commitments, especially self-commitments is a sign of self-esteem issues. I could not understand it. These were divinely crafted, strong, powerful women.


I was obviously a horrible leader.


I told the Lord I never wanted to be an auxiliary president again.  And He didn’t call me as president again.


For the next 16 years, except for a few months here and there, I served in ward/stake auxiliary presidencies, but never as president.


When These Things I Have Not


And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”


In January 2016, my scripture study again included attributes of God. On a temple session, I became hyper-aware of Heavenly Father’s role as a leader, the Savior’s role as a leader, everyone’s role as a leader.


I’d never really thought about God as a “manager” before, though it’s always been obvious He’s the best leader and manager there is. I couldn’t stop thinking about that realization at home the following week.


We’re here to seek and develop Divine characteristics!! But I wilted, because I am obviously a horrible leader.


After one scripture session specifically about the Lord’s leadership, I knelt down and asked for help. I had definitely seen my weakness. Had I ever really taken that aspect of it to the Lord?


May I Recall This Heavenly Love


Elisha’s servant awoke after a hopefully good night’s sleep. As he walked out on the mountain, he freaked out when he discovered an army surrounded them. In his fear, despair, and overwhelm, he cried out to Elisha “how shall we do?” Elisha, with greater vision, knew they were not outnumbered. He prayed for the young man’s vision. “And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.”


In my prayer, I told Heavenly Father I wanted to be more like Him in every way. I recognized my weakness in leading and said I thought I was finally willing to be taught how to be a leader–because I believed His promised grace and strength. I asked Him to help me overcome this fear and stumbling block.


The following Sunday, just days later, the executive secretary caught me and asked me and my husband to meet with the Bishop during Sunday School. The Bishop extended the call to be Relief Society president. I sat there dumbfounded in total disbelief.


Joy Unbound and Give Me Hope Anew


Again, I am in a fantastic ward. I can’t think of a more wonderful ward that would help me overcome my fear and anxieties.


Photo Credit: Tim Evinger

And yet, this has been the hardest challenge of my life. I haven’t developed all of the necessary Divine attributes yet, but I have learned a lot.


I’ve learned more about agency and now understand its importance than ever before. I’ve learned to see other’s choices as their divine opportunities and to honor them and their choice, despite disappointment I may feel. I personally make a lot of choices that may or may not be awesome and appreciate other people honoring my choices, too. That was a huge lesson and blessing in overcoming the hurdles associated with my previous disconnects.


I understand more about the administration of God’s kingdom on earth because I am constantly reading the Church Handbook of Instructions–all of it. That helps me keep focused and actually notice Christlike leadership skills in others.


I have felt God’s heavenly power. It’s awakened me in the night, held my tongue, loosed my tongue, opened my eyes, opened my ears, dissolved fears, increased understanding and discernment, and sent me to homes at pivotal moments, and changed my heart and mind.


And in this challenge that has ripped my soul open and laid bare every single imperfection and weakness, I feel the most profound hope because I so absolutely depend on the Savior’s grace. I tried to barrel ahead in my strength and didn’t get very far. So now I try to barrel ahead with the Lord at the helm. Everything goes better that way.


Few things bring me more joy than sitting with my friend giving her first visiting teaching lesson ever or hearing someone’s very first Relief Society lesson or being at the temple for someone’s first time and their 100th time. I feel my Savior’s love in those moments, and so many like them.


This week, a very special person sent me this poem her mother wrote.


When these things I have not

May I recall this Heavenly love

When clouds impede my view

That raises me to joy unbound

And gives me hope anew!

~Zoe Anne Weston


To read more of Delisa’s articles, click here.

My mind exploded thinking about moments these words have been so true for me. And then my friends shared their temple pictures with me and this whole imperfect journey that I just told you flooded to mind.


Am I there yet? No.


But because of Heavenly love and covenants, the Savior raises me to “joy unbound” and because I see my failings and weakness His atoning grace brings hope! I rejoice in Him and His mercy in keeping His promises and sending opportunities for growth when we ask for them and holding our hands when we stumble, fall, and get up again. Because of Him, I can be set free from fear and limitation. Because of Him, I am free.


Shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing. Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them out of their prison; for the prisoners shall go free.


About Delisa Hargrove
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have moved 64 times and have not tired of experiencing this beautiful earth! I love the people, languages, histories/anthropologies, & especially religious cultures of the world. My life long passion is the study & searching out of religious symbolism, specifically related to ancient & modern temples. My husband Anthony and I love our bulldog Stig, adventures, traveling, movies, motorcycling, and time with friends and family.

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