I met with my stake president on Sunday.
So. Many. Emotions.
I was really nervous. I felt that I needed to reach out to him at this point in my life, but how awful would it have been if I left there feeling invalidated and uncared for? That was a real fear because I didn't have a good experience with my bishop. And I didn't have a good experience with my LDS counselor who had stellar reviews from what I could tell (and the referrals I was given to him). So I was very nervous to meet with my stake president, but it exceeded expectations by far.
The meeting was exactly what I needed. I was heard. The things I was struggling with were not taken lightly, and he did not use them to make me feel foolish for not having some kind of blind faith in things I was struggling to understand. He listened. He heard. He taught. He spoke with love, kindness, and empathy. I could feel from him something I've been yearning to feel for a long time now in my current ward. The spirit and light I felt in that room with the stake president were simply undeniable, and I was reminded of the love my Heavenly Father has for me, for all of us.
At one point, he told me, "You have been dealt a very unfair hand." And he mourned with me. How validating is that?!
I'm so grateful I had this opportunity, and I'm even more grateful I didn't chicken out of my meeting. I gained so much, and it gave me strength. We had a really beautiful discussion about the Atonement, and reflecting back on this meeting has made some of my other trials this week that much easier.
So many of us have had poor run-ins with church leaders. I pray that we can all have an experience like this where you leave feeling understood, edified, and light.