On Mother’s Day I got to Skype my oldest son who is in Chile serving a two-year mission for our church. He only gets to call home twice a year, and this was one of those days. I was so impressed by the young man he has become… I thought, “This has been a long 19 year journey.” I thought of all of the frustration and destruction he caused as a young child. I thought of the nights that my sleep was interrupted. I thought of the career I had sacrificed to raise my four children while my husband was gone during medical school and residency.
As I looked back, I realized that all of the sacrifices had been worth this moment.
“Being a mother is really a great thing!”
The world today seems to devalue our divine role of being mothers. I’ve heard it said that “motherhood is next to Godhood.” Who else cares for us as unconditionally as God if not our mothers? I believe that motherhood is a calling from God, to take His children and care for them as He would care for them, to teach them as He would have them taught, and to love them as He would love them. By so doing, we can be His hands. What role could be of higher importance to society than that of mothers? Yet, in recent times, mothers (and mothering itself) are often looked down upon and made to feel less.
As women of faith, we have an obligation to support and encourage each other in this role. We have a power to reach out and mother not only our own children, but other children that cross our paths. Whether we are biological mothers or surrogate mothers, we can have ‘mothering hearts’ and use the special abilities that God has given us as mothers to reach out and be the hands of God.
In a speech entitled, Womanhood: The Highest Place of Honor, the late James E. Faust said, “One of your unique, precious, and sublime gifts is your femininity, with its natural grace, goodness, and divinity. Femininity is not just lipstick, stylish hairdos, and trendy clothes. It is the divine adornment of humanity. It finds expression in your qualities of your capacity to love, your spirituality, delicacy, radiance, sensitivity, creativity, charm, graciousness, gentleness, dignity, and quiet strength. It is manifest differently in each girl or woman, but each of you possesses it. Femininity is part of your inner beauty.”
Women of faith need to be different than woman of the world. We need to stand out, not because of our ability to stand equal to men, but because of our unique traits. We needs to look on these traits as important gifts that God has bestowed upon us so that we can be better mothers and do His work.
Margaret D. Nadauld, a former president of a world-wide young women’s organization, said, “Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity.”
Women acting in mothering roles have a power like no other. As the poet William Ross Wallace said, “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” These word that were penned in 1890 have never been more needed than today. When society advocates turning that role over to schools and the state, we as mothers of faith need to be firm. We need to look to God to find value in our roles–not to the world.
A mother’s influence is incomparable to any other kind of relationship.
Through her teaching and example, her sons adopt high morals and learn personal discipline. They learn how to respect women. Daughters develop their own virtue and gain the confidence to stand up for what is right even when it is unpopular. D. Todd Christofferson said in his address entitled, The Moral Force of Women, “A mother’s love and high expectations lead her children to act responsibly without excuses, to be serious about education and personal development, and to make ongoing contributions to the well-being of all around them.”
There are no immediate accolades for motherhood. No raises for tending to fevers in the middle of the night, no awards for reading books, no advancements for patiently teaching a child to study. The rewards for this kind of dedicated service are reaped years later in the character of the children we have served. Margaret Nadauld also said, “When you observe kind and gentle mothers in action, you see women of great strength. Their families can feel a spirit of love and respect and safety when they are near her as she seeks the guidance of His Spirit. They are blessed by her wisdom and good judgment. The husbands and children, whose lives they bless, will contribute to the stability of societies all over this world. Grateful daughters of God learn truths from their mothers and grandmothers and aunts. They teach their daughters the joyful art of creating a home. They seek fine educations for their children, and have a thirst for knowledge themselves. They help their children develop skills that they can use in serving others. They know that the way they have chosen is not the easy way, but they know it is absolutely worth their finest efforts.”
In the trenches, we often have to remind ourselves of our worth–and the worth of the long term service that we are doing. By devoting our lives to mothering, we in fact learn to be more divine ourselves. The years of service teach us to be selfless. We find patience is a virtue that has been gifted to us. Maybe the rewards for mothering are not only seen in those we serve, but also in us and in the person the role of mother helps us to become.
“Daughters of God know that it is the nurturing nature of women that can bring everlasting blessings, and they live to cultivate this divine attribute. Surely when a woman reverences motherhood, her children will arise up and call her blessed (see Prov. 31:28).” by Margaret Nadauld
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