Because I have been given much I too must give.
Thanksgiving causes me to reflect on my blessings and they are many. Through none of my own merit, I have been richly favored in life. I have never been truly hungry or without shelter. I have been loved and taught by good parents. I have felt safe. I have been educated. These are blessings not everyone has.
For of him unto whom much is given much is required...
Doctrine and Covenants 82:3
In the face of these privileges I have been handed, I need to do something. I need to serve. I need to do good and I need to be good.
Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.
Doctrine and Covenants 4:2
It's easy to serve people you love. I like folding my family's laundry, showing them my love with fragrant neatly folded piles of their clothing. I like preparing their favorite foods. I like sending things to Braeden in the mail.
It's harder to serve when you're tired or feel unappreciated or frustrated. Sometimes my heart, might, mind and strength want to be left alone. Sometimes I'd rather not go to one more meeting or reach out to one more person who really doesn't want to hear from me. Sometimes I would rather my son not be on the other side of the country.
Meeting Stella was an eye opening experience for me. Hearing her conversion story and seeing firsthand the ways her life had been changed because of the gospel of Jesus Christ made Braeden's mission feel entirely worth it. I was suddenly not just willing to send my son on a mission but so very grateful that I was able to. I was at once grateful for the gospel and grateful for the missionary program that shares the good news.
Getting to know Stella even more, it is just another example of many. You can make your small sacrifice. You can send your son away to serve. You can feel like you're giving an awful lot. But, you always get more in return. What it comes down to is that however much you think you can "give back," however much you feel like you are stretching and offering your limit, you will be blessed in more ways than you can count.
Emma and I decided to ask Stella's advice on career plans. I emailed Stella and she wrote back the most lovely and kind and supportive email you could ask for. Emma has this quality, that I've never quite seen in anyone else, where she sort of glows when she's happy. I read her Stella's affectionate and bolstering compliments and her wise and timely advice. Emma glowed.
I marveled at the blessing it is to all of us that Stella is ours and we are Stella's.
We can try all we want (and we should) to serve others, to sacrifice and give. We'll never get ahead though. The blessings will always outpace our puny offerings.