Monday, June 15, 2009


do you ever find yourself just sort of coasting through through your daily life and not really paying attention to what you are doing? i have been doing that a lot lately - maybe it is the lack of sleep or the groundhog day feeling of having two little ones at home, but yesterday i had an a-ha moment.
clint and i teach the marriage and family sunday school class at church. the class is made up of mostly newlywed couples, few have children, most do not. we really enjoy teaching together and i feel like i am learning more from it myself than i could ever possibly share with the members of the class. yesterday the lesson was one that i could barely get through -
"the sacred role
of mothers."

after reading this talk a few times, i felt so humbled and grateful for this important work that i am in the middle of. those of you who are moms, i hope this provides the kind of refreshment for you as it did for me. those of you who are not yet moms, surely you know someone who is and could use a few words of encouragement:

"One young mother wrote to me recently that her anxiety tended to come on three fronts. One was that whenever she heard talks on LDS motherhood, she worried because she felt she didn’t measure up or somehow wasn’t going to be equal to the task. Secondly, she felt like the world expected her to teach her children reading, writing, interior design, Latin, calculus, and the Internet—all before the baby said something terribly ordinary, like “goo goo.” Thirdly, she often felt people were sometimes patronizing, almost always without meaning to be, because the advice she got or even the compliments she received seemed to reflect nothing of the mental investment, the spiritual and emotional exertion, the long-night, long-day, stretched-to-the-limit demands that sometimes are required in trying to be and wanting to be the mother God hopes she will be.

But one thing, she said, keeps her going: “Through the thick and the thin of this, and through the occasional tears of it all, I know deep down inside I am doing God’s work. I know that in my motherhood I am in an eternal partnership with Him. I am deeply moved that God finds His ultimate purpose and meaning in being a parent, even if some of His children make Him weep.

“It is this realization,” she says, “that I try to recall on those inevitably difficult days when all of this can be a bit overwhelming. Maybe it is precisely our inability and anxiousness that urge us to reach out to Him and enhance His ability to reach back to us. Maybe He secretly hopes we will plead for His help. Then, I believe, He can teach these children directly, through us, but with no resistance offered. I like that idea,” she concludes. “It gives me hope. If I can be right before my Father in Heaven, perhaps His guidance to our children can be unimpeded,” she said, “and maybe then it can be His work and His glory in a very literal sense.”

In light of that kind of expression, it is clear that some of those Rhode Island–sized (under-eye) shadows come not just from diapers and carpooling but from at least a few sleepless nights spent searching the soul, seeking earnestly for the capacity to raise these children to be what God wants them to be. Moved by that kind of devotion and determination, may I say to mothers collectively, in the name of the Lord, you are magnificent. You are doing terrifically well. The very fact that you have been given such a responsibility is everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has in you. He knows that your giving birth to a child does not immediately propel you into the circle of the omniscient. If you and your husband will strive to love God and live the gospel yourselves; if you will plead for that guidance and comfort of the Holy Spirit promised to the faithful; if you will go to the temple to both make and claim the promises of the most sacred covenants a woman or man can make in this world; if you will show others, including your children, the same caring, compassionate, forgiving heart you want heaven to show you; if you try your best to be the best parent you can be, you will have done all that a human being can do and all that God expects you to do." (Jeffrey R. Holland, Because She is a Mother)

i hope all of you moms know how important you are and what a great work you are doing!


Madsen Family said...

jess, you always know what to say to make me cry. i love being a mom. it's the best. if i could just be a mom all day, life would be grand. unfortunately, being a mom comes with: housecleaning, paying bills, menu planning, grocery shopping, cooking and washing dishes, etc, etc. if i could get rid of all those things, then life would be divine and i could just play with my little boy all day. the hard part for me is BALANCE. the balance of being a wife, being a mom, being a WOMAN, being a maid and so on and so forth. i think it would just all be even that much better if you lived down the street from me so that we could help each other out. It's always so good, though, to hear encouraging, hopeful words like this from prophets of God. it makes me remember that this is the best work we could possibly be doing.

Melissa said...

Thanks Jess! I love that talk. It was a great reminder. I may steal some of it for my blog. I miss your teaching in our ward. Your ward is lucky to have the pair of you for teachers on a great subject!

PDCScarbroughpage said...

Thanks so much! This is a great reminder that being a mother is my dream...even if being a student is my part-time(?) job. =)