Years ago I had a question: What is the difference between a weakness and a sin? Usually, when I ask a comparison question like this I’m really asking, “How do these two things feel different?”After visiting with a friend on the subject, she saw this book in a bookstore and told me about it. I picked it up instantly. I still remember the moment I started to read. We were going on a trip and I was sitting in the passenger’s seat. As I read the first page or two, I began to sob. This was my answer! This book was exactly what I needed to overcome my feelings of perfectionism and self-doubt. This book changed my life.
Fast forward several years. By this time I had read a couple of other books by the author, listened to some talks she’d given, and found an article or two. Wendy Ulrich had definitely become a favorite of mine. Then she published, Let God Love You. The first time I read it I thought, “This is amazing!" (Everything she writes is amazing!). However, the first time I read, I didn’t implement the lessons into my life very well. A few years later, after experiencing some depression and struggles, I picked up the book again. Only this time I worked on the exercises in the back of the book. I read it in one day and by the time my husband came home from work I was changed! The poor man didn’t know how to respond to the tears and emotions of liberation I was feeling! Again, this woman had literally changed my life!
Most recently I have been serving as Relief Society President. With all of the changes and revelation that has been falling from heaven through our leaders, there was one change that has caused me some struggle. Without going into too much detail, the premise is that the Relief Society and the Elders Quorum are to work more closely together. Working out the details on what that means can be a little tricky. I was so excited to hear Wendy Ulrich had published another book and bought Live up to Our Privileges right away. I was fascinated with what I was reading and loved how she was breaking down each priesthood office, explaining their responsibilities and the meaning for women of each office. Somehow, other things got in the way (children, calling, life!) and I set the book aside. As the wrestle with the Elders Quorum and Relief Society situation became a bit more intense, I was prompted to pick up Wendy’s book. She did it again! Her words gave me the confidence to move forward and continue on the path of figuring out what it really means to work under priesthood authority...together!
Saturday, November 16th, was a beautiful day when I finally had the opportunity to meet this woman who has had such an impact on my life. I couldn’t hold back the tears while we visited. I told her, “If I believed in hero worship, you would be my hero.” I really did act a bit ridiculous about meeting her. Afterwards, I realized I didn’t even think to get a picture with her! (I guess another meeting is in order.)
Here’s the thing: some of my greatest mentors have been authors. Wendy Ulrich has been one of those mentors in my life. I tell friends, “She’s the LDS version of Brene Brown!” Nearly everything I have read has resonated with me in such a way that helps me sort out my emotions and clarifies gospel principles. She has helped me feel the difference between what we talk about in church and how we apply that teaching to our hearts. Her words have increased my aspirations to write, to learn, to share and to grow closer to my Father in Heaven.
And so I say, “Thank you, Wendy. Thank you for putting your thoughts and research into writing so that women like me can be blessed by them. Thank you for being a champion for women and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thank you for letting me harass you at the conference. And thank you for the book (so far so good). You truly are as amazing in person as you are in your writings. I love you!”
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“By right of our covenant relationship with God, our willing obedience, and our humble petitions, we are entitled to [His] grace, this enabling power of God as our Father, Jesus as our Redeemer, and the Holy Ghost as our Comforter. Their grace is sufficient to compensate for every human sin and weakness, to make us holy and without spot, and this, in the humble words of Nephi, ‘notwithstanding [our] weakness.'"