I was made the Pittsboro Relief Society president of the
Pittsboro North Carolina ward in August 2020- right during the Pandemic.
In September I sent a letter to all the sisters with this letter:
To my Sisters of the Pittsboro Ward,
In the Bible, we read of a woman who suffered for twelve years
with a debilitating problem and the remarkable faith,
she exercised in the Savior by exclaiming,
“If I may touch but his garment, I shall be whole” (Mark 5:28).
I imagine her feeble but faithful fingers
stretching out to grasp His garment hem,
capturing the Savior’s attention and miraculous healing.
President Nelson described her situation by saying
that physical stretching was symbolic of her spiritual stretching.
This subject of stretching makes me think of my skin.
Years ago, I was in an accident resulting
in burn injuries over 80% of my body.
One of the most important therapies a burn survivor can do is to stretch the tender skin,
otherwise burn scars immediately begin to contract.
As scars heal, they shrink down tighter and tighter until
permanent immobility sets in.
Intensive stretching therapy extends function and healing,
but the problem with stretching is it’s very painful.
In both a physical and spiritual sense,
stretching is essential for growth and is often really uncomfortable,
sometimes painful, but the outcome of our
strenuous stretching can bring joy, peace, healing, movement, even comfort.
Elder Richard G. Scott explained:
“We were taught in the premortal world that our purpose in
coming here is to be tested, tried, and stretched.”
This kind of stretching has come to me in many forms.
I believe that both physical and spiritual stretching is
necessary to grow in our glorious roles as women such as;
wife, mother, sister, aunt, minister, or friend.
Personally, I wouldn’t be here today had I not endured some major stretching.
Sisters, will you stretch with me as we work together
to make Christ the center of our lives in everything we do, and in every choice we make?
My favorite thing about Relief Society is the unity
I feel with my sisters and what we are capable of together.
Please believe me when I testify that in our stretching opportunities,
the Savior will be with us every step of the way.
He is helping us navigate our feelings of inadequacy,
depression, anxiety, pain, and worry especially during these difficult days.
I love you!
Love, Stephanie Nielson
September 9, 2020