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!!