Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor in the Young Women’s General Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, opened her Dec. 11 devotional address describing her experience as a BYU freshman.
Although Sister Craig grew up in Provo, her family moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, right before her junior year of high school. When she returned to Provo to attend BYU, she said she “didn’t know a single soul.”
Thanks to her own determination and a challenge from her brother to learn the names of three new people each day, Sister Craig left her comfort zone to meet new people and focus on others.
“I learned that focusing on others made me happier,” she said. “It was here at BYU that I found joy in keeping my covenants … and I learned the value of time.”
Using time wisely is not just about having more self-discipline, Sister Craig said, adding that “we make real change when we understand the gift of time, the gift of a new day.”
Sister Craig quoted Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who once spoke at a funeral saying there are only three things people can take with them into the next life: their character, the ordinances of the gospel and family.
Sister Craig focused the rest of her address on the three things Elder Holland emphasized, saying they should be prioritized in life.
When Sister Craig was a young mother, her husband was a serving in a bishopric on campus. From trying to keep the children entertained during sacrament meetings to never-ending house chores, Sister Craig said “Sunday was anything but a day of rest and spiritual renewal.”
One evening, as she lay in bed, Sister Craig remembered she had not read her scriptures that day. After feeling guilty, she decided to read at least one verse — Doctrine and Covenants 64:33 — which reads, “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.”
“I will never forget the peace and light I felt as I read that verse,” she said. “The Spirit filled me and my heart was softened.”
Sister Craig promised the audience members that although challenges will arise, God will always be with them.
“If you listen to that still, small voice, truly great things will proceed in your own life,” she said. “The influence of the Holy Ghost will change your character and you will find that, whatever your path, you will not have wasted your day of opportunity.”
Ordinances of the gospel
Sister Craig also encouraged students to make ordinances and covenants a priority and to have faith the Lord will multiply and magnify their efforts.
“You will find that these ordinances will manifest ‘the power of godliness’ unto you,” she said.
Lastly, Sister Craig introduced the importance of family by asking the audience, “How do we nourish relationships?”
“The same way we nourish faith and character — with great diligence and patience,” she said.
Sister Craig recounted a story about a mother named Hailey who raised six children in Salem, Oregon. After a long day dealing with errands, doctors’ visits and a flat tire, Hailey came home to a kitchen full of dishes. As she began to clean, her seven-year-old asked if she could help him find a toy in the basement.
Although Hailey wanted to continue cleaning the dishes, she remembered the counsel to “see people not as interruptions but as the purpose of life.” Hailey said out loud, “Dishes, you have to wait,” and took the time to help her son.
Sister Craig told students to avoid seeing only the dirty dishes and notice those around them who are in need of help.
“You will have relationships that show you have not wasted your time on earth, but that you are joining in God’s great work of lifting His children,” she said.
The next devotional address will be given by President Kevin J Worthen and Sister Peggy Worthen at 11:05 a.m. in the Marriott Center on Jan. 8, 2019.