I was quite young at the time the Lord sent His angel Gabriel to me. I had tried all my life to serve the Lord. I kept myself clean and pure and my heart and spirit virtuous. I knew the Lord and His goodness. I had faith in the prophecies concerning the Messiah, but had no idea of my role in the fulfillment of those prophecies. When the angel appeared to me he said, "Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women."
I wondered at his saying and he, knowing this said, "Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son and shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest."
I wondered how this would be, seeing that I knew not a man. He told me that the Holy Ghost would come upon me and the power of the Highest would overshadow me. "For with God, nothing shall be impossible." I did not doubt at his saying, but I replied "Be it unto me according to thy word." I trusted in the word of the Lord and submitted to His will.
I went quickly to see my dear friend and cousin Elizabeth. As I greeted her, she immediately told me that I was a blessed woman. The Holy ghost had bourne witness to her before i even spoke that I was to be the mother of the Son of God, and she rejoiced with me. Her faith and testimony strengthened mine and caused me to praise the Lord.
"My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For He that is mighty hath done great things to me: and Holy is His name."
"And His mercy is on them that fear Him from generation to generation. He hath showed strength with his arm. He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath filled the hungry with good things."(Luke 1)
I know you too have felt to praise the Lord. I know you have felt the strength of His arm. What a blessed thing it is to be one of His daughters- to be a woman! He has given us all a special role- that of a woman- and as women- mothers. Whether of our own children, or of those around us...women are mothers.
My experience was definately unique, but perhaps you can relate to it. You see, I grew up in the small town of Nazareth where everyone knew what was going on in everyone else's lives. I assumed that most people would call me a sinner and not believe the miraculous nature of my conception, and I was right. I endured much persecution throughout my entire life. But, I did not fear men and I bore the burden of being misunderstood. I focused on the Lord.
You as women of our Savior's true church also have the choice to listen to the voices of the world, or to the voice of your God. Listen to Him and rejoice in Him! As you celebrate our Savior's birth at this time of the year, do celebrate! But not just during this season. Make everyday of your life a celebration of His infinite love and sacrifice for you.
And help eachother to celebrate! Women need women! Just as my relationship with my dear Elizabeth was such a strength to me, turn to and nurture eachother as women. And as Elizabeth and I rejoiced together in our miraculous motherhoods- rejoice in yours and hold the title of mother sacred in your heart. For it is sacred. Teach your children and the world what a divine and spectacular gift it is to be a mother. I know how much that role is valued by Him.
Trust in Him and submit your whole self to Him- that is where true happiness is found.
Learn to be submissive, for in reality our own will is the only thing that we can really give to the Lord, because everything else is already His.
I invite you to take time to ponder on all that our Savior has done for you, and all that he does everyday for you. I know as you listen and learn from His Holy Spirit, that your soul will magnify the Lord and your spirit will rejoice!
I am so grateful that Heavenly Father has given me the knowledge and the tools to raise a family in the best possible way....and so grateful that I can repent when I don't do it right!
In studying Proverbs 31 again, verse 21 stuck out to me.
"She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household are clothed with scarlet." I thought that this could mean that a virtuous woman is not afraid of the storms (trials, tests) that will come in her life or the life of her family because all her household are clothed with scarlet....representing the atonement, faith in Jesus Christ and His mighty and miraculous power and ever-reaching arms of love and mercy. I really loved that. I want to be full of faith and have my whole household to be full of faith so that we won't fear the storms of life, but face each day being 'clothed' with the power that comes from having faith in and using the atonement...from trusting in and relying on Our Savior Jesus Christ. I rejoice that part of my divine role as a woman is to teach these truths to my family by example and also by word.
What thoughts or insights did you have in doing this challenge?
Divine Nature Value Experience #2
"As a (young:) woman you are blessed with divine feminine qualities. Increase your understanding of and appreciation for womanhood. Read Proverbs 31:10-31 and two talks on womanhood from a conference issue of the Church magazines. Review what "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" says about being a wife and a mother. Then ask your mother or another mother you admire what she thinks are important attribues for being a mother. List the attributes in your journal. Then choose one of those attributes and strive to develop it. After two weeks report your success to a parent or leader." (Or friend! :)
I would love to hear the insights and things you learn from doing this challenge. Hooray for womanhood!
"Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts." Jeremiah 15:16
I feel to say that after every precious moment I have to study the words of God and whenever I feel Him speak to me through the Holy Ghost. What a blessing!
LDS.org - Ensign Article - Of Things That Matter Most
"watch over the Church always" and to "be with and strengthen them", a visiting teacher shows her love by prayerfully considering each woman she is called to serve."
"As Adam bore the responsibilities of fatherhood, so Eve bore the responsibilities of motherhood. She did not shirk them. So with welcome arms you may gratefully greet those children God may send, through your divine design as cocreator. With your husband, be obedient to the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth, as your opportunity, your spiritual guidance, your wisdom, and your health allow. You will gain joy and rejoicing in your posterity. That enrichment becomes more beautiful and precious with each passing year.
For you childless sisters and those without companions, remember the eternal timetable of the Lord is much longer than the lonely hours of your preparation or the total of this mortal life. These are only as microseconds when compared to eternity. Your willingness and worthiness are surely known to Him. The spiritual rewards of motherhood are available to all women. Nurturing the young, comforting the frightened, protecting the vulnerable, teaching and giving encouragement need not- and should not- be limited to our own children.
Sisters, be patient. I know something of the pressures you feel. Your kitchens are too small. Your budgets are too tight. Demands upon you exceed your capacity to help all you cry out to you. Through it all, "Improve the shining moments; Don't let them pass you by"(Hymns, 1985, no. 226). Take time for spiritual regeneration.
I'll share a few lines that have sustained Sister Nelson through the years. They also reflect her sense of priority:
Cleaning and scrubbing can wait 'til tomorrow.
For babies grow up,
We've learned to our sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs.
Dust, go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby,
And babies don't keep.
I'm glad Sister Nelson has not tried to be a "supermom". But she has been a "soothing" mom. This she has done simply by being herself. When priorities are in place, one can more patiently tolerate unfinished business."
Lessons from Eve by Elder Russell M. Nelson given November 1987
I love this truth! I am so grateful that Heavenly Father doesn't leave us alone on the earth. I am so grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost and the peace that I felt as I watched this, and the strength that it is to my testimony every time I hear the words of God.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks spoke about spiritual nourishment- what it is and how we obtain it.
He said, "God reveals Himself and His eternal truths- the spiritual food that the scriptures call the bread of life and the living water- to those who seek, who serve, who keep His commandments, and who wait and listen in humility for His teaching. Study and reason are appropriate to begin this process, but "the things of God cannot be learned solely by study and reason. Despite their essential and beneficial uses, the methods of study and reason are insufficient as ways of approaching God and understand the doctrines of His gospel. We cannot come to know the things of God while rejecting or failing to use the indispensable method God has prescribed to learn these things. The things of God must be learned in His own way, through faith in God and revelation from the Holy Ghost." (Dallin H. Oaks, Nourishing the Spirit )
He goes on to emphasize just how important the role of a parent is in helping their children to be spiritually nourished. "Among the most important things parents can do for their children is to provide them with worthy examples and with opportunities for personal religious experiences. Statistical studies of Church members in North America show that the example of parents is the most important single factor in shaping the behavior and beliefs of youth. These studies also show that family experiences are the strongest methods of affecting religious behavior- clearly exceeding the effect of Church activities."
I am so grateful for the organization of the Church that guides me on how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. For He is the Living Water and the Bread of Life, and it is only through Him that our spirits can be filled and renewed every day. I am grateful to be a woman and for how Heavenly Father reaches out to me and teaches me so lovingly and personally through my every day responsibilities.
Jesus said, "I am the light and the life of the world." (3 Nephi 9:18) I know that He is the only way to life now and hereafter. I am so grateful to feel His outstretched arms always reaching out to me. I love Him and am so grateful to know the way to happiness.
"Jesus Christ is the Way. He is Light and Life, Bread and Water, the Beginning and the End, the Resurrection and the Life, the Savior of the world, the Truth, and the Way. There is only one way to happiness and fulfillment. He is the Way. Every other way, any other way, whatever other way, is foolishness." Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge
In Him, all my insecurities fade away and He gives me self-esteem. I am so grateful for the truth that lies in Him.
Sometimes I feel like I still have the insecurities of a teenager. I believe that what President Uchtdorf said is true, most of the confusion in my life comes when I forget who I am. When I remember my divine identity, I am filled with hope and the feeling that I can do whatever lies ahead of me. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father reminds me of who I am when I forget.
I cried like a baby when I watched this this morning. I felt the love and acceptance of my Heavenly Father for my efforts as a mother, however imperfect they may be. Watch it and I know you will feel His great love for you as well.
Ever since I have been married, when I read the account of Nephi being commanded to build a ship, it hits me on a very personal level. The Lord calls to Nephi to go to the mountain so that He can instruct him. Then He tells him, "Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee, that I may carry thy people across these waters." (1Nephi 17:8) When I read that, I hear the Lord talking to me. He wants me to build a ship, or a home..a haven...a temple, for my people...my family, that He may carry us across the waters of our life. The pattern for me is the same as it was for Nephi. He needed to go to the mountain to hear the Lord's commandments for him. I need to go to the temple, and the quiet places in my home to hear the Lord's counsel for me. Nephi didn't know how to build a ship. I don't know how to be a wife and a mother. The Lord tells Nephi, and all of us..."I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led." (1Nephi 17:13)
I know that being a woman is a calling and blessing from the Lord. It is hard work. I am so grateful to know that I can turn to the Lord every day to ask Him for help and guidance in building my family's ship. I feel His guidance as I turn to Him. I know that He loves me and that He does and will help me just as He did for Nephi. I can feel the world laughing at me sometimes just as Laman and Lemuel mocked Nephi saying..."Our brother is a fool, for he thinketh that he can build a ship; yea, and he also thinketh that he can cross these great waters."(1 Nephi 17:17) Sometimes the adversary gets me to be the one who is mocking myself..."I can't be a mother....I'm horrible at this! I have no idea what I am doing!" But thankfully, Heavenly Father's love rescues me every time. I know that I am His daughter and I know why I am here on this earth. So even when it is hard and even when I mess up, I can be rescued through the atonement of my Brother and Friend, Jesus Christ. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf told us of God's love for us...
"Think of the purest, most all-consuming love you can imagine. Now multiply that love by an infinite amount- that is the measure of God's love for you. Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God's love encompasses us completely."
How grateful I am to feel that love! His love changes everything and makes everything possible and wonderful! I am so grateful for my role as a woman and as a mother that allows me to feel His all-encompassing love as I strive to do what He has asked me to. I am so grateful for the knowledge that the gospel of Jesus Christ gives me of the true character of God. I feel to say with Ammon, "Who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of His great power, and of His mercy, and of His long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel."(Alma 26:16)
You are partakers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel means "good news." The voice of the Lord is a voice of gladness. I do not suggest that you simply put on rosecolored glasses to make the world look rosy. I ask, rather, that you look above and beyond the negative, the critical, the cynical, the doubtful, to the positive...Said the Lord in a dark and troubled hour to those He loved, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27).
If you feel scared about the world, or the country, watch President Hinckley's full message by clicking on this link:
"Indeed, one of the signs of mature Latter-day Saint life is the ability to see a limitation in ourselves without letting it cast a shadow over all the many other things we do and say....It has always struck me as being sad that those among us who would not think of reprimanding our neighbor, much less a total stranger, for mistakes that have been made or weaknesses that might be evident, will nevertheless, be cruel and unforgiving to themselves. When the scriptures say to judge righteously, that means with fairness and compassion and charity. That's how we must judge ourselves. We need to be patient and forgiving of ourselves, just as we must be patient and forgiving of others."
Howard W. Hunter
There was an ad recently on a billboard where I live that went something to the effect of..."Tired of never being good enough? Come to our church where we accept you as you are." I am paraphrasing, but that was the jist. Obviously, there was a church targeting mormon women and our tendency to be perfectionists. It is true that we as women tend to be too hard on ourselves, which isn't good. However, it would break my heart to hear of anyone leaving the church because they were tired of trying to be better. No, we are not perfect. That is why our most loving Heavenly Father created the Plan of Salvation for us....so that we can become perfect, slowly but surely, day by day as we turn to our Savior and use the atonement. I for one refuse to give in to the idea that 'you will never be good enough, so you might as well stop trying.' No! I want to be more...more and more and more every day of the woman that my Father in Heaven knows that I can become. And I rejoice in my ability to become more because of my Savior. This song is the song of my heart!
I have been thinking a lot about missionary work lately, and I've come to the conclusion that women are born missionaries. It is in our nature to reach out to others. It is in our nature to want to meet people's needs and strengthen those who are weak. It is in our nature to look outside of ourselves. These things about women are clearly manifest when you look at the role we have been given as mothers. We have the opportunity to sacrifice our own needs and comforts everyday in order to meet our children and husband's needs. Isn't that what the Savior did for all of us? So in doing those things, aren't we testifying of the Savior and being missionaries? Heavenly Father gave us this role because He knew that only in this way could we, as women, learn completely how to be like Him. We are missionaries just by developing our true womanly qualities and not listening to what the world says a woman should be.
I have been praying recently to recognize opportunities that I have to share the gospel, and I realized that I am a personal missionary to each of my children. It is my job to teach them the gospel. I am to be the light that feeds their little seeds of testimony and the watering can that pours the Living Water on them each day of their life. I am grateful for living prophets who teach me through the Spirit how to be a better missionary to my family.
Elder Neil L. Andersen admonished us in this past April Conference to speak more frequently about Jesus Christ. He said, " As you reverently speak about the Savior- in the car, on the bus, at the dinner table, as you kneel in prayer, during scripture study, or in late-night conversations- the Spirit of the Lord will accompany your words. In our world today we need more than ever Enos's words about his father to be our children's words about us: "The words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life...sunk deep into my heart. And my soul hungered; and I [knelt] down before my Maker".
I love this song "Go With Me" by Kenneth Cope. I found this video on youtube that a young man had put together before he left on his mission. The song is from Kenneth Cope's Album 'My Servant Joseph'. It is Joseph Smith singing to all of us...to go with him to inherit eternal life. I want to go with him! and I too say- to my children and to all of the world- Go With Me!
We need to remember that the full commitment of motherhood and of putting children first can be difficult...There are moments of great joy and incredible fulfillment, but there are also moments of a sense of inadequacy, monotony, and frustration.
What can you do to reduce the pressure and enjoy your family more?
First, recognize that the joy of motherhood comes in moments. There will be hard times and frustrating times. But amid the challenges, there are shining moments of joy and satisfaction. Author Anna Quindlen reminds us not to rush past the fleeting moments. She said: "The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one most of us make....I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less."
Elder M. Russel Ballard
How grateful I am for the inspired counsel of the Lord's prophets and apostles to help us be happier and have greater direction in our lives!
I'm sure a lot of you have probably seen this...but I love it and it's worth watching over and over again! Creative Tuesdays....what did you create today, or this past week? Please share!
Today I created cheers and shouts and squeals as my hubby and I took our little ones to play at the water park. My little B hasn't smiled that big since last summer, and my little J hasn't either:)
Today I was feeling a bit discouraged and overwhelmed by my own imperfections. I was able to spend some time talking with my mom and, as always, she said just what I needed to hear. I am so grateful for her and her love for me. I think every woman needs a mother no matter how old you are. I am grateful for the role of mother in my life....for the opportunity I have to be one, and to learn from my own and so many others. Once again, I am most grateful for the plan of happiness and how the family is central to that plan.
In what ways are you grateful for your own mother or someone else's?
President Thomas S. Monson
I love this quote by President Monson. When I grasp, even just a little, the fact that I am a literal daughter of God, it changes everything that I think and do. The knowledge of who I really am fills me with hope and happiness so great that there is no room for anything else. If I could only remember 100% of the time! Thank goodness for the Savior to catch me when I fall.
Today as I was folding this.....
I was so happy! I was folding my husband's socks and shirts and with each one, I was filled with an overwhelming love for him. I think the reason it made me so happy is because folding laundry is part of fulfilling my role as a nurturer. Julie Beck said, "To nurture means to cultivate, care for, and make grow....Another word for nurturing is homemaking. Homemaking includes cooking, washing clothes and dishes, and keeping an orderly home." Women are nurturers and it makes us happy when we do it! What made you happy that you are a woman today?
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Women are creators! It is in our nature. I have decided to have 'Creative Tuesdays' and I want your help. I want you to share things that you or women you know create. You can email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It can be anything from a delicious recipe you made to a smile that you created on someone's face. Read President Uchtdorf's talk 'Happiness, Your Heritage' (by clicking on the link under Good Words That Inspire) to get some ideas. I look forward to being inspired by you!!
I know most women do and pretty often! Here's what Julie Beck had to say about this:
"A good woman knows that she does not have enough time, energy, or opportunity to take care of all of the people or do all of the worthy things her heart yearns to do...A good woman must constantly resist alluring and deceptive messages from many sources telling her that she is entitled to more time away from her responsibilities and that she deserves a life of greater ease and independence. But with personal revelation, she can prioritize correctly and navigate this life confidently."
Yes! Thank you, Sister Beck!
You can read all of Sister Beck's talk from this past conference by clicking on this link:
"He leaned back in his chair and reached for his wife's hand and said, "Now, young women, I would like you to meet my queen." There seated next to him was his wife, Emma Ray McKay. Although she did not wear a crown of sparkling diamonds, nor was she seated on a throne, I knew she was a true queen. Her white hair was her crown, and her pure eyes sparkled like jewels. ..Hers was a beauty that cannot be purchased. It came from years of seeking the best gifts, becoming well educated, seeking knowledge by study and also by faith. It came from years of hard work, of faithfully enduring trials with optimism, trust, strength, and courage. It came from her unwavering devotion and fidelity to her husband, her family, and the Lord.
On that fall day in Huntsville, Utah, I was reminded of my divine identity, and I learned about what I now call "deep beauty"- the kind of beauty that shines from the inside out. It is the kind of beauty that cannot be painted on, surgically created, or purchased. It is the kind of beauty that doesn't wash off. "
Here is a picture of President McKay and his queen Emma Ray. I want to be like her when I grow up.
I hope we all remember today that each one of us was born to be a queen, because we were. I am so grateful for the wonderful plan of salvation and for the part Heavenly Father has created for me, and all women.
You can read Sister Dalton's full talk by clicking on the link 'Remember Who You Are' under Good Words That Inspire.
I am sure most of you have probably heard of this woman, Stephanie Nielsen. Her story is so beautiful, and she is such an inspiration to me and to so many women that I had to put it on this blog that celebrates women. Here is a woman who is able to rejoice in her role amidst great hardship and pain. She knows who she is and what an honor and privilege it is to be a woman. I rejoice in her example! She is truly the definition of real beauty. Her example strengthens my resolve to focus on what really matters in my own life and to not listen to what the world says is important.
Julie Beck, Relief Society General President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
I too have a testimony of the divine role of women. Yesterday I was overcome by the influence I have over my children through a simple display at our breakfast table. My little J and I were eating cereal and as I finished, I drank the milk from the bowl. Upon seeing me do this, little J immediately put down his spoon and picked up his bowl and drank his milk just the same as he had seen me do (of course his dribbled all down his chin and made a big puddle on his lap:). I laughed and then was overcome with the realization that I am his greatest example of what is good and acceptable to do. Feeling a bit overwhelmed at my responsibility, I prayed for help from my Heavenly Father to be the example to my children that He wants me to be. I felt His peace and reassurance...and I rejoiced in my womanhood!