When I met my husband-to-be, he had some big-time stake calling. The kind that requires temple trips with the stake presidency. The kind that causes him to miss a date with me to BYU’s Preference dance. The kind that made girls think he was a good Mormon catch. I thought it was because he was a good kisser and a sexy dancer.
After we married, it was more of the same. Sam was a ward leader somewhere or other and I served on the activities committee or as ward chorister. The complete Biblical unequally yoked thing.
Yea, I know, I know. It’s not where you serve, but how you serve. All callings are equal before the Lord. And I’m obviously just as pious as President Hinckley.
I knew that’s how it would always be. Sam would be the area authority seventy and I’d be a nursery worker or the den mother. He was just that kind of guy. And I was just that kind of gal. And somewhere along the line I knew that meant that I was not favored of God. I wasn’t just not chosen, I wasn’t called either.
One day the bishop informed us that Sam would be released as the executive secretary within the next month. This came as something of a relief, since he was working on his PhD and time-consuming callings did not lend themselves to 18-hour study marathons. But two weeks before the release was to come, a counselor in the stake presidency came to our apartment to extend to him the call of Elder’s Quorum president. Of course (and as usual) we accepted.
As soon as the counselor left, Sam just leaned his head back on the couch and stared at the ceiling. I waited. Nothing.
“What?” I asked.
“Oh, I’m just not sure if I will ever get my dissertation done.”
That was it. I’d had it. “What do you mean? Don’t you get it? God loves you! He’ll never love me like that! It is such an honor! I can only dream that he would ever trust me like that!”
Sam just blinked back at me in the aggravating way righteous people do when “the others” come unhinged over nothing.
Two weeks later, I was called to serve as the education counselor.
Today, almost two decades later, I found out that the woman who submitted my name to be her counselor, didn’t want to. She didn’t want to so much that she argued with God about the prompting and assembled a presidency without me, before giving in.
I’d like her to know that she is right. The calling was about the ongoing ward leadership and about preparing me to be the next president and all that. But it also was about her and it was about me, too. That calling changed my life. It made me see that in spite of all my incredible shortcomings, in spite of all my sin and failing, I was still acceptable to God. And even though my perspective was incredibly distorted, it taught me that lesson in a way probably the only way that I could have understood it.