I overheard one of them say, "Ugh! That is WAY too many children." While the other started counting my little crew just to see how many I had.
They didn't know I overheard them, and they went on their way happy to be free of such a burden. After they had passed, I looked down at my little three year-old boy, who was holding my hand, and I couldn't stop smiling. My heart filled with joy. But at the same time, I felt a sadness within my heart that rippled for a while. I wanted to run back and hug those two women and tell them that motherhood was the greatest thing in my life and that nothing could touch nor destroy the joy that it brought to my soul. I wanted to bear my testimony to them of their divine nature and inheritance as daughters of God and women on this earth, and plead with them to hold on to the moral authority that was rightfully theirs, but that Satan wanted to destroy.
But they were gone.
And so it is with far too many around us as parenthood, and especially motherhood is devalued and even looked down upon in many respects.
In the last general conference of the church, Elder Holland declared, "No love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child."
Motherhood is given to and is endowed upon all of the daughters of God. To be a woman is to be a mother. Sister Sheri Dew, a former counselor in the general presidency of the Relief Society in the church, wisely taught, "When we understand the magnitude of motherhood, it becomes clear why prophets have been so protective of woman's most sacred role. While we tend to equate motherhood solely with maternity, in the Lord's language, the word mother has layers of meaning. Of all the words they could have chosen to define her role and her essence, both God the Father and Adam called Eve 'the mother of all living' and they did so before she ever bore a child. Like Eve, our motherhood began before we were born."
God gave to women the gift of nurturing. To nurture is to help grow. It is to selflessly love. There are not any words I could use here to adequately honor the endless and sacred sacrifice displayed by everyday women patiently mothering children of all ages in every corner of the earth.
Sister Julie B. Beck, one of the former General Relief Society Presidents of the church, testified, "The influence of righteous, conscientious, persistent, daily mothering is far more lasting, far more powerful, far more influential than any earthly position or institution invented by man."
As a mother of small children, I do know that there are some days when I am just sure that the only thing that might feel as worn down and raggedy as I do is my beat up diaper bag, and I am not sure how I am going to find the strength to last one more minute or make a meal or do another load of laundry or face another sleepless night. And when I start to wonder if any of the mundane things I do each day matter or not, one of my children will grab my face in their dirty little hands and tell me they love me. And I will catch them extending the love they felt at home to others. I have learned for myself that some of the very most important work I will ever do in mortality will be in a rocking chair with a child on my lap.
Women serve, love, teach, lift, listen, and care in a divinely appointed and inherited way. As we celebrate all that is beautiful and eternal about motherhood, we are called upon to ponder the women in our lives who have set us on the right path, said endless prayers on our behalf, and sacrificed all they could to turn our hearts to goodness and Christ himself.
Elder Jeffery R. Holland quotes,
"A wonderful young mother recently wrote to me: 'How is it that a human being can love a child so deeply that you willingly give up a major portion of your freedom for it? How can mortal love be so strong that you voluntarily subject yourself to responsibility, vulnerability, anxiety, and heartache and just keep coming back for more of the same? What kind of mortal love can make you feel, once you have a child, that your life is never, ever your own again? Maternal love has to be divine. There is no other explanation for it. What mothers do is an essential element of Christ’s work. Knowing that should be enough to tell us the impact of such love will range between unbearable and transcendent, over and over again, until with the safety and salvation of the very last child on earth, we can [then] say with Jesus, ‘[Father!] I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do."'
What a blessing it is to have women in our lives who have a higher vision than what is just needed for today. Eternity is what is on their minds. I end with this beautiful insight from Sister Marjorie Hinckley, wife of the fifteenth president of the church, when she declared,
"I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.
I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children.
I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden.
I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.
I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.”
I know and testify that motherhood is the highest calling of women. To honor the sacred role of mother is to honor God. It is worth every effort, and changes and blesses lives for all eternity.
Posted by Brooke Kamalu- Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints