How many times have you read something from the 2006 general Relief Society broadcast--this year? Not exactly a priority on my daily planner list, either. But somehow, I don't remember why or how, this past March I found myself reading a story that President Gordon B. Hinckley shared in September of 2006 about a single mother who felt alone and overwhelmed. I could easily envision her looking across the darkened street toward her home, wishing for a heavenly night's escape from her cares and responsibilities. My heart went out to her. And then came the beautiful conclusion. Unfortunately, it wasn't long before daily routines and other obligations intruded and hijacked my brain. I forgot all about the story.
A week or so later, during the Saturday afternoon conference session, David S. Baxter began retelling the very same account. My inner alarm went off. It felt like no accident--this story was definitely for me and so I needed to remember it. But once again, I forgot it. That is, I forgot until I started browsing yesterday through conference talks for something to share with you this month. From the moment that I discovered this story (again!), everything came together effortlessly for May's handout. Here is the story as related by David S. Baxter in his conference address, Faith, Fortitude, Fulfillment: A Message to Single Parents:
"In the general Relief Society meeting of September 2006, President Gordon B. Hinckley related an experience shared by a divorced single mother of seven children then ranging in ages from 7 to 16. She had gone across the street to deliver something to a neighbor. She said:
“As I turned around to walk back home, I could see my house lighted up. I could hear echoes of my children as I had walked out of the door a few minutes earlier. They were saying: ‘Mom, what are we going to have for dinner?’ ‘Can you take me to the library?’ ‘I have to get some poster paper tonight.’ Tired and weary, I looked at that house and saw the light on in each of the rooms. I thought of all of those children who were home waiting for me to come and meet their needs. My burdens felt heavier than I could bear.
“I remember looking through tears toward the sky, and I said, ‘Dear Father, I just can’t do it tonight. I’m too tired. I can’t face it. I can’t go home and take care of all those children alone. Could I just come to You and stay with You for just one night? …’
This story vividly illustrates that Heavenly Father is mindful of our single sisters, most especially in their struggles of feeling alone and overwhelmed. I do not know the heartaches of being a single parent--I can't pretend to know exactly how this sister felt that night. But one of the reasons my heart went out to her so strongly was because I've known my own dark days. I've had a chronic illness since I was 14 and have had some seemingly eternal days of weakness, inability, and pain that caused me to yearn for the very same heavenly relief. This beautiful story reminds us Heavenly Father's love and support--His perfect love and support--are always with us here, in every difficulty we face.
You can print the pdf of the main part of the handout here (overall, it's 5.5 by 8.5", so it comes 2 to a page). You can also choose to print out, cut out, and attach the optional star layer that's pictured in the version at the very top of the page. The star layer shows the prayer of this sister. It can be lifted to reveal the response. I put some barely perceptible hearts around the star to symbolize that Heavenly Father's love is constant, even when we don't notice it there. And if you'd like to include something extra with your handout, a Milky Way bar would be a great tie-in.
|Print out the star pdf here.|
"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8: 38, 39