Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mother's Day 2014

The Monday before Mother’s Day, I received a call in which I was asked
 to speak in Church that Sunday.  
The call took me by surprise due to I am not a “traditional mother.” 
I have not had the blessing of bearing and rearing a child but I agreed to speak.

Over time I have learned that as a speaker or as a teacher
 you always learn something powerful and new.  
This Mother’s Day talk was no exception.  
The lesson I learned from it has forever changed my perspective on the word, “Mother.”  
It is my hope that like me the lesson I learned from this talk will also change 
many others perspective on the word “Mother.”

First I would like to start with the words that I was inspired to share 
and along with them I will include the new insights that I have learned.  
I hope these words speak to your heart as they spoke to mine:

“A few years ago in a session of General Conference, 
Elder Jeffery R Holland shared these words attributed to Victor Hugo:

She broke the bread into two fragments and gave them to her children, 
who ate with eagerness.
‘She hath kept none for herself,’ grumbled the sergeant.
‘Because she is not hungry’, said a solider.
‘No,’ said the sergeant, ‘because she is a mother.”

Sister Julie Beck has an extra special place in my heart, 
and in a General Conference she gave a talk entitled:
 “A Mother Heart.”

What is a mother heart and how is one acquired?  
We learn about some of those qualities in the scriptures.  
To paraphrase Proverbs: “Who can find a… woman {with a mother heart}? 
For her price is far above rubies. …She…worketh willingly with her hands. …
With the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. …
She stretcheth out her hand to the poor. …
Strength and honour are her clothing. …
She openenth her mouth with wisdom; 
and in her tongue is the law of kindnesss.  
She looketh well to the ways of her household, 
and eateth not the bread of idleness.”                      
(Proverbs 31:10,13,20,25-27)

A Woman with a mother heart has a testimony of the restored gospel, 
and she teaches the principles of the gospel without equivocation.  
She is keeping sacred covenants made in holy temples.  
Her talents and skills are shared unselfishly.  
She gains as much education as her circumstances will allow, 
improving her mind and spirit with the desire to teach 
what she learns to the generations who follow her.”

My mother who raised me had a “mother heart.  
Those who knew her basked in the warmth of her love 
and were recipients of her self-less service.

Sister Beck continues:

“Female roles did not begin on earth, and they do not end here. 
A woman who treasures motherhood on earth 
will cherish motherhood in the world to come, 
and “where {her} treasure is, there will {her} heart be also.” 
“By developing a mother heart, 
each girl and woman prepares for her diving, eternal mission of motherhood. 
“Whatever principle of intelligence {she} attain{s} unto in this life, 
it will rise with {her} in the resurrection.  
And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life 
through {her} diligence and obedience than another, 
{she} will have so much the advantage in the world to come.” 
(D&C 130:18-19)

“In my experience I have seen that some of the truest mother hearts 
beat in the breasts of women who will not raise their own children in this life, 
but they know that “all things must come to pass in their time” 
and that they “are laying the foundation of a great work”. 
(D&C 64:32-33)
“As they keep their covenants, they are investing in a grand, prestigious future 
because they know that “they who keep their second estate
 shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.” 
(Abr. 3:26)

“Covenant-keeping women with mother hearts know 
that whether motherhood comes early or late; 
whether they are blessed with a “quiver full” of children here in mortality or not; 
whether they are single, married, 
or left to carry the responsibility of parenthood alone—
in holy temples they are “endowed with power from on high.”
 (D&C 38:32), 
and with that endowment they received the promised blessings 
and are “persuaded of them, and embraced them
 (Heb. 11:13).

“Every girl and woman who makes and keeps sacred covenants can have a mother heart.  
There is no limit to what a woman with a mother heart can accomplish.  
Righteous women have changed the course of history and will continue to do so, 
and their influence will spread and grow exponentially throughout the eternities. 
How grateful I am to the Lord for trusting women 
with the divine mission of motherhood.  
Like Mother Eve I am “glad” (Moses 5:11) to know these thing.”

Sister Linda K Burton also mentioned some traits of a “mother heart”:

“{She} raises her children in light and truth
“{She} serves as a mentor and offers a helping hand along the covenant path”
“{She} listens to the promptings of the Holy Ghost and act{s} upon impressions received”
“{She} lives the gospel daily in small and simple ways” 
{She} spreads the “good news”—the gospel of Jesus Christ” 
“{She} rescues those who have lost their way”
“{She} is a covenant keeper who stand firm for truth and right”
“{She} is a true disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ”

Elder M. Russell Ballard issues a clarion call:

“Between now and the day the Lord comes again, 
He needs women in every family, in every ward, in every community, 
in every nation who step forward in righteousness 
and say by their words and their actions, ‘Here am I, send me.” …

My biological mother answered that call when at the age of 17 
instead of aborting her unborn child, 
she loved me enough that she gave me life 
and then gave me up so that I could have a better life.

My adopted mother answered that call by giving a newborn baby girl a temporary home 
until I could be placed in the home I was destined to be in 
and when I was placed in that home she stepped back 
and did not go to court and demand what was “legally hers.”       
She loved me enough to leave me in that gospel centered home.

My mother that raised me stepped forward and said, 
“Here am I, send me!” 
When at the age of 65 she found a 16 month old baby on her doorstep.                                      She took me into her home and raised me in truth and light.

I am eternally grateful for the peaceful assurance that fills my soul 
and lets me know that even though I have not had the opportunity
of bearing children in this life; I shall have a great posterity in the life to come.

On this day that pays tribute to mothers, 
I am grateful to a loving Heavenly Father who has taught me 
that even though we each have our own unique talents and gifts, 
He has lovingly woven in each of us one common thread 
and that thread is called a Mother Heart.”

A few days after giving that talk the spirit again whispered
reminding me of the words I had quoted from Sister Burton.  
As they played out in my mind I felt this immense excitement begin to fill my being 
as I realized that the “Divine Nature of Motherhood” 
is not limited to raising and bearing children in this mortal sphere!  
In Heavenly Father’s eyes the role of “Divine Motherhood”
 encompasses so much more than my mere mortal brain can understand. 

That lesson has brought great peace to my heart. 

It is my hope that other women in my situation can also feel that great peace
 and come to know that “The Divine Nature of Motherhood” 
is not limited to this mortal sphere!                     
It extends well into the eternities and though our arms may be empty now 
there is a great work we can do here and now with our “mother hearts”
 and one day we too shall have a “quiver full of children.”

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