Sunday, November 2, 2008

Lesson on Individual Worth

I taught a lesson to the Young Women today on Individual Worth. I spent the whole morning trying not to break down because I knew I would be talking about Camille in my lesson. I had spent lots of time thinking about this lesson. The manual gave good topics to teach but the stories cited to teach them were ... well they were not as poignant as some others from my own life. 

I think the lesson went really well. I started by putting several items on the table. Some of these were the scriptures, a hand painted tea set, Lauren's monkey that she sleeps with every night, a jug of pomegranate juice, and a camera. I asked the girls what these things were worth and what made them valuable. 

We talked about the scriptures. They are only valuable to those who have read them and gained from them. They become valuable as they become familiar and loved. The camera is valuable for its function. The pomegranate juice is valuable because it is rare and difficult to extract by hand. The tea set was just some average tea set. Alone it is not very valuable. But I drew the pictures on it when I was five and then my mother hand painted those pictures when my daughter Ann Marie was born. It is therefore unique and totally irreplaceable. 

Then I held up Lauren's monkey. We guessed it might get 2 dollars if we were lucky in a yard sale. But to Lauren this monkey is her most valuable possession. The monkey is tattered and old but it is HER monkey. To her it is everything. If I bought the same monkey new she wouldn't want it. She would know it was not her monkey.

Then I transitioned to tell the kids how as a teenager I felt when I went to a party with my dad. He held a somewhat prominent position in our city. He knew EVERYBODY. Really. I told them how I felt people expected me to be a certain way and I had to act accordingly. I told them that because of who my dad was I felt important when I met someone he knew, and not like just some kid. 

Then I asked the girls if I felt that way because my dad had a well known job, how should they feel considering who their Father is. We are not daughters of politicians or presidents or even a king. We are daughters of God. Much is expected of us and our potential is great. We ought to feel important just because of who our Father is. 

We then read the scripture that says "the worth of souls is great in the sight of God." I asked the girls why He would find them valuable. They said because parents love their kids. I said that was true. Just like the monkey on the table, parents do love their kids no matter how beat up or ratty they get. Then I explained how above just loving your kid because they are your kid, how parents love each kid uniquely because each child is unique. 

I told the girls about my girls flowers and why each girl reminds me of each flower. I broke down in earnest when I got to the tulip and Camille. Many of these girls are new to me and so I had to tell them who Camille is and that she passed away. I explained that even though Camille was only 1 and really didn't contribute to society yet, she was MINE and she was unique. I have three other daughters. But none of them can be Camille to me. I could hold every other baby in the world and none of them would feel like my Camille. She is irreplaceable in all the world. I loved her uniquely just as I love each of my girls uniquely. 

I then told them how Heavenly Father has the incredible ability to love all of His children this way. Each of His children are unique. He know each of us fully and better than we know ourselves. Each of us are irreplaceable in His kingdom. All the other billions of His children can not fill the place in His heart that one of us will leave if we do not return to Him. That is why the Savior said the shepherd left the 99 and went after the one. He loves the 99 but the they all cannot replace the one. The one is HIS too. 

The Spirit was strong and I feel like the girls really got it.  I pretty much cried through most of this portion. Then I had a girl who wasn't teary read a quote from Elder Holland's talk "To the Young Women" where he talks about understanding who we really are. 

Next we went on to how while we all have weaknesses, as we improve ourselves we increase further our value. I made the girls find the scripture about why we have weaknesses all by themselves to make sure they all knew how to find a scripture by themselves. This took several minutes. But I think it is WAY important that when they have questions that they know how to find the answers in the scriptures all by themselves. 

As the last two were finding it, I told them about Snowman the horse and his story as told by Elder Wirthlin in conference a couple of years ago. Then I ended with the fact that even if there are weaknesses that we are not able to make strengths in this life, we no less loved by the Lord.

I bore my testimony to them and it seemed they got all I wanted them to get out of it.

I know this was a long post folks, but I wanted to record this for myself and anyone else who may want to use my ideas from it. Also, if any of you don't feel you are of worth, KNOW that you are. You are unique in all the world to our Father and you are HIS. He loves you uniquely and no one else can take your place in His heart or His kingdom. I know this is true. Be there.

34 comments:

Huggins family said...

thank you this must of been a great spiritual lesson. when i bring my justin up in our yw lesson the girls justin cry.

Stephanie M said...

I was just released from the YW's, I cried so hard, I didn't want to leave them. They are truly such a special group of spirits. Your's are extra blessed to have you as their teacher. Such knowledge, and even greater is your strength and spirit. This I believe is the most important lesson, individual worth, how can you make immoral or unrightous choices, how can you faulter when you KNOW you are a daughter of God. I enjoy every one of your posts and think of you all the time as I try to be the best parent I can be. I thank you for all you do through the hard times and the better ones as well. And congratulations, I wish you all the best with your pregnancy...being sick is the worsts! But the reward is so great!

Lori said...

I commend you on speaking from your heart and your hurt. That takes inctredible strength.

Sue said...

My daughter taught this lesson to the YW in her ward recently. I am SO sorry she couldn't have had the opportunity to read this post beforehand.

Truly beautiful thoughts and an unusually creative presentation of them. Thank you!

Shari said...

I am a silent but devoted reader, and just had to let you know how much this post meant to me today. Thank you. I feel like you were talking directly to my soul

Jill said...

Wow, I don't know anyone like you Stephanie. I truly admire the way you teach such a vast number of women, it is so Christlike. Thank you for sharing this with us. Thank you for the daily boost in your Daily Scoop.

Randi said...

I needed that last paragraph, about being worth something to God. I've been forgetting my Individual Worth lately. So thank you for the post.

Shanan said...

Steph, I have always loved your ability to teach with experiences where everybody who is listening (reading) can relate. You are an amazing teacher.

Much love!
Shanan

Anonymous said...

Stephanie, i have read your blog for a few months now but this is the first comment i have left. know i have thought of you often through this trial you are going through. camille is a beautiful little girl and i love to read your blog daily. But thank you for this post. I am struggling and I don't know why. I have a wondeful life, a great husband, three great kids and I have the gospel. But lately I am questioning my purpose in life, feeling worthless, talentless, wondering if I REALLY DO have a purpose here on earth, and not just the waste I am feeling like right now. Your post was just what I needed to hear right at this very moment. Thank you for always being willing to share, even though it must be difficult to do so. You have touched so many peoples hearts, including mine. And you were an answer to my prayer today, just by reading your post. I will find a way to feel my purpose here on earth. And heavenly father loves me just the way I am.
Thanks again.

Susy said...

I am so glad to read your blog. I feel so blessed to have the connection with a sister who is not afraid to express her feelings and spiritual ideas for others to be inspired! I know I am just a blog peek a boo-er but I have learned so much from your writings. Thank you!

Jill said...

What is the story of the snowman and the horse by Elder Wirthlin? I tried looking for it. Do you know which conference it was? Thanks!

colquitt5 said...

i have been secretly following your blog for awhile and i just have never known what to say. i just want to let you know now that i am so thankful for the little lessons you teach me daily as well as your sweet angel camille. i come away from your blog teary eyed, but also feeling so good and positive about life and how i should really be so grateful and thankful everyday of my life. i think of you and your family often and especially camille and how one of heavenly fathers choice spirits is working through you to teach people around the world such valubale lessons on love, sacrifice, grief, happiness and really to take everything and be truly grateful. i want to thank you and camille for touching my spirit daily!

jamee colquitt
syracuse utah

Noorda Notebook said...

what an awesome lesson stephanie. i loved your experience about the way you felt around your earthly father compared to the love of Heavenly Father for you.

when i think of individual worth i think of delivering each of my sons in the hospital. i know that the love that i felt for them was only a fraction of the perfect love God has for me. having two kids has just given me a taste of how much Heavenly Father loves each of us. i love the scripture "I have engraven thee on the palms of my hands."

Anonymous said...

Stephanie, I have been reading your blog for a few weeks now and really appreciate your testimony and thoughts. What a wonderful lesson you taught those girls!

I thought of you when I saw this deal. I wanted to pass it along in hope that it will help. Go to http://www.artscow.com/Create/ShowProduct.aspx?ProductId=208 and you can get a Custom Photo Dog Tag for only $0.99 (one sided) or $1.99 (two sided) + free shipping. That way you can have a necklace with Camille's picture on it and can get one for your little girls too. I just ordered one for my husband with our family picture on one side and just the kids on the other. He doesn't wear dog tags, so I'll just give it to him as a keychain instead of as a necklace.

I'm not sure if you already have something like this for your little girls or yourself, but wanted to share just in case. :)

Thanks for all your posts and for changing the way I look at life. I truly feel like I am a better mom because of you! I really appreciate it and wish you the very best with this pregnancy.

So Blessed said...

Stephanie,
Thank you so much for this post. I feel like you wrote it just for me. Heavenly Father works miracles and blesses us in ways we would have never thought of. Your post was a blessing to me today when I really needed one. Thank you!

Raena Johnson said...

Enjoyed this post immensely. I don't know why it reminded me though of a story I put on my own blog shortly after I started reading yours after you lost Camille.
http://justjohnsons.blogspot.com/search?q=broken+doll

Something about teaching young women and all the tears that go along with it. I love the idea that we as Daughters of Heavenly Father seem to have this ability more readily - to just stay and help one another cry. Sometimes it is all we need. Sounded like a great lesson and gave the girls this ability.

Mommy Poulsen said...

What a great lesson. It made me cry. TFS!

julie said...

All I can say is wow. I don't think you could have taught this lesson a better way. You explained our individual worth in such a simple but profound way. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I forgot to give you the promo code in my comment earlier today about getting those photo dog tag necklaces so cheap. The code you enter is 99DOGTAG. Hope that helps in some way! You have helped me out so much!!

Janae said...

What a beautiful lesson this must have been. I love the comparisons and insights you have. A wonderful post:)
Congrats to you guys:) we were excited to hear the news and hope you are feeling better soon!

Kelsi said...

You are so inspiring! Thanks for your daily scoop that fills my bowl to over flowing!

Amy said...

Not only do I love all the stories & scriptures you chose to share, but more importantly, I love how you built up to it, line upon line. You didn't just present the information as fact, you connected all the dots & let them take each step with you. Plus, I really liked how you had them find the scripture themselves...so important.

Thanks for always sharing these personal tidbits. They all get filed away & are remembered at opportune times.

Julie said...

Thank you for sharing that Steph. I definitely struggle with my own self-worth at times and then I remember the cross---- I was worth THAT and my value in HIS eyes is immeasurable! I really loved how you articulated this concept though the objects on the table. Most importantly how Scripture comes alive as we study it and let it soak in.

Have a wonderful evening and thank you for taking what little energy you probably have and sharing it with me!

Julie

Heidi said...

That was very touching and excellently taught. I wish I could have seen it!

And I have to say, Camille absolutely contributed to society! I often think my little toddler contributes more joy and love to this world than I ever knew was possible for a little tyke like him--he touches every life who meets him. And I know Camille was the same way. She touched lives when she was alive and continues to touch lives through your writing and memories. I hope someday you will see the depth of her contribution.

Memmott Family said...

Sounds like you gave a really great and spiritual YW lesson. Thanks for sharing
Liz

Stephanie said...

What a great lesson. The YW are so blessed to have you as a teacher!

The Holland Family said...

I gave this same lesson to my YW. I wish that I would've been able to read your post before I gave my lesson. It was great. I too lost my little Mia at 15 months. I use my experience of loosing her to teach my YW alot. Eternal Families, Testimony, Plan of Salvation, etc. Thank you for your blog. I read it alot. Your feelings are much the same as mine about your loss. I just started blogging but your welcome to visit. www.holland-days-sauce.blogspot.com
Thanks again for all that you share. You are amazing. Nicole Holland

Anonymous said...

Knowing I actually AM of worth, ut falling so short all the time is the problem. I find it difficult to not feel like each day my Father in Heaven is still disappointed in my progress. I'm not giving up, just getting tired.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading you blog for awhile now and am always amazed and uplifted by your posts. I am teaching this lesson on Sunday and have been thinking about it for a couple of weeks now and how I wanted to give it. Yesterday I went to the temple and a couple of thoughts came to me, but I still did not know how to start it. When I read what you did, I felt that my prayers had been answered. Thank you for sharing this. Your own girls and the YW of your ward are very blessed to have you in their lives.

Karengarbe123@msn.com said...

I hope you don't mind that I am going to use part of your post for a talk I am giving the young women tonight. I googled individual worth and your blog came up. We had a little boy pass away and your post really hit home with me. You sound like an amazing person. I wish you all the best. Thanks for sharing:)

Bianca THATS MY NAME said...

I am so happy I stumbled upon your blog. I am teaching an Individual Worth lesson tommorrow (last minute thing) and this entry gave me so much inspiration. I know it was a heavenly prompting that lead me to read this. Hopefully I can have the same impact that you left with your young women. Thank you sister!

Reecea Henderson said...

Thanks for sharing. I am teaching Individual Worth lesson next month and this gave me some great ideas.

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE FOOD! said...

Wow! Fantastic. I wish you were teaching my lesson!

LCannon said...

It wasn't just in your lesson, I felt the Spirit shining through the post that you put on your blog - even though it's been nearly four years since you posted it.
Actually I've been shedding a huge amount of tears this morning - nearly every post blog that have touched my eyes this morning. Trying to find the words for my own post so that I can convey my own thoughts in a positive way. I get so opinionated at times and I know I need to glance into the other side at times.
Thank you for sharing