We have had an amazing year. We've lived, we've loved, we've traveled, we've served, we've worked, some of us have hunted and fished and some of us have made candy and painted snow flakes.
Most of all this year, though, I've learned.
I've been reflecting on the past year, trying to figure out what to write. And this is what I came up with.
Our primary theme this year was "I Am a Child of God". Seems simple, right? Something that most of us know and have heard all of our lives, right?
Today, we did a recap of the theme for the end of the year in primary. I read the kids the same story today that I read them on the first Sunday of 2013 - "You Are Special" by Max Lucado. I know it's not your typical LDS book but it teaches a valuable lesson. And today, as I was reading it and looking at each of these beautiful, kind, good children...these words hit home.
“Remember, you are special because I made you. And I don't make mistakes.”
I am not a mistake. I am not broken. I am not worthless. I am not less of a person because of my weaknesses.
As we discussed this, we came to the conclusion that our Heavenly Father made us who we are on purpose. We are who and what and where we are supposed to be. We are here to learn and to grow from our experience. It's okay that we're not all the same. Each of us has a unique talent and a spot in this world to fill that no one else can. I asked each child what their special talent was and got some amazing answers. And then they asked me...I honestly could think of something for every person in that room...(about 30 kids and some adults...) and couldn't think of anything for me. Until I looked at those faces looking back at me. No one can love them like I can. I'm really good at loving people. And when I said that...they all agreed. And the more we talked, the more I realized that I was not teaching this lesson for them. This lesson was for me.
I wish I could tell you how strongly I feel about this. I wish you could see how much it has affected me. I wish you could know what I know. Some of you do...and some of you don't. I wish I could bring each of you to primary with me and let you learn what I have learned. No one can be Katie Jennings like I can. No one can do the things that I do in the way that I do them. No one can love people like I can. I have struggled this year with finding my place in this world...and I think I know where it is. It is in the heart of the Shepherd's fold- loving, fellowshipping and teaching.
I wish I could shout from the rooftops that I am a Child of God and I am special. I wish I could look each of you in the eyes and make you know that you are too. But...since I can't...
This will have to do.
You are loved.
You are special.
You are a Child of God.