May 29, 2010

The Divinity of Motherhood

 My friend Heather wrote this on her blog.  It:s beautifully written, filled with amazing insight and thought-provoking profound quotes.  It really touched me, so I stole it and wanted to share with you.  Hope you don't mind, Heather! :)

Divinity of Motherhood

There is a tree outside my window that has caught my particular attention – it is a beautiful flowering tree that transformed this spring. The passing of the seasons reminds me of the passing of the years. Some mornings I can’t believe I am in my late thirties, have 4 children and have been married for 8 years – and wonder where the time went.
I am reminded of a scripture in Ecclesiastes (the Preacher) Chapter 3:1
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven”
This flowering tree reminds me of the change of seasons – or as close as we get to the change of seasons in California. The seasons of my life have passed so quickly, and this season, the season of motherhood, is perhaps the most challenging and most rewarding of all. Today, I hope to talk about the divinity and importance of being a Mother.
In some ways, I can’t remember what I felt or even what I thought before my eldest daughter, Skylar, was born. When she entered my life, the entire world changed in an instant and my purpose became crystal clear – all I was before didn’t matter. I existed to care for and nurture this little soul and would give everything I had for her happiness. When she arrived, even with the scariness and the pain of delivery, it was the most spiritual moment of my life and I have never felt closer to my Father in Heaven than at the moment he made me a Mother.
Elder Foster of the quorum of the seventy once said:
“Perhaps the reason we respond so universally to our mothers love is because it typifies the love of our Savior”
Kennedy, Phoenix and Deveraux soon joined our little family – and each has been such a blessing and reminder of the gift of motherhood. When each of these babies was born, I felt in some very small way, what the Savior must feel for us, and my life has never been the same.
I thought I knew what being a mother meant before my girls arrived, but then reality hit. Sleepless nights, colic, nightmares, fevers, tears of pain, moments of panic – what I would call the “downside of being a parent”. The funny thing about being a mother is that most of the time – you don’t even know if you are very good at it!
However, now that I am raising you children, I start to realize more and more that this statement by David O’McKay is absolutely true:
“The most important thing you will ever do will be within the walls of your own home”
In this season of my life, I have learned to cherish the role of being a mother. But it is only when I embraced this role that I began to see how the world views the role of a mother and how different it is from ours.
My almost daily pilgrimage to Wal-Mart is always an interesting experience. Between losing children and losing my mind – I try to get out of there with the least amount of damage possible. One particular and frazzling day, I ran into a woman in line who looked over me and my girls and asked innocently “Are all of these children yours?” Of course, I couldn’t resist a little sarcasm – “No, I picked up a variety pack on the aisle next to the chips and cookies.” She looked puzzled - so I gave her comfort by admitting I did have all four girls. “You’re brave!” she responded and to that, I quipped “It is the best job I will ever have.” – and it is.
The world tends to undermine and undervalue the role of the mother. Children have become accessories and motherhood is outsourced. In our society, self fulfillment is more important that sacrifice – and it is common that everything, including the children’s well-being, is placed on the sacrificial altar in pursuit of comfort and success. This corrosive drift leads only to unhappiness. More and more, children feel no real attachment, are not taught righteous principles and become lost to the voices of the crowd.
As mothers in Zion, we must stay close to the Savior in all we do. His example sets the course for all mothers to follow: unconditional love, kindness, patience, teaching, nurturing. If we embrace His example and follow Him – we will lead our own children until eventually, they will lead themselves. Proverbs 22:6 reads:
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Tom Perry once said about the roles of parents:
“Parents must bring light and truth into their homes by one family prayer, one scripture study session, one family home evening, one book read aloud, one song, and one family meal at a time. They know that the influence of righteous, conscientious, persistent, daily parenting is among the most powerful and sustaining forces for good in the world. The health of any society, the happiness of its people, their prosperity, and their peace all find common roots in the teaching of children in the home.”
Teaching gospel principles is essential, but we should be involved in all aspects of our child’s education. The recent teacher’s strike was a reminder of how important our role is as a teacher. When the word first came down of the potential strike, I was filled with dread – how in the world am I going to watch my own children all day long?

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed teaching and how much my girls enjoyed learning! It was an unforgettable memory and a reminder of how important it is that we, as mothers, are our children’s primary educator.
Even when they enter the stage when they know everything, and I mean everything, we should continue to teach and educate our children – for the Lord will call them when the time is right. Elder Ballard once remarked:
“The home is the most important place to prepare the youth of today to lead the families and the church of tomorrow.”
If I could be a young mother all over again, with new babies, I would make a very small, but very important change. I would make an extra effort to enjoy each moment as it comes. Sometimes, I spent far too much time worried about a clean house, an orderly life – when I could have savored the sweetness of those tiny babies learning their world. Author Anna Quidlen reminds us not to rush past the fleeting moments:
“The biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make…I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear not 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. And I wish I could remember what we ate, what we talked about, and how they sounded and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been such a hurry to get to the next big thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.”
Cherish those babies and those quiet moments now – because one day, they will be able to talk back!
My own mother is a wonderful example that I hope to emulate in my life. When I struggled with handwriting, she sat with me and taught me penmanship. When I broke my leg, she took care of me and nursed me to health. In all my activities, sports, violin, and school – she was there. She taught her daughters how to sew (thought none of us are artists like her), to cook, to work and most importantly, to laugh. Her personality was always positive and as good as a mother as she was – she is even a better grandmother. I will always be grateful for her example and love.
In ending, I was particularly touched by this beautiful thought by President Gordon B. Hinckley on motherhood:
“Most of you are mothers, and very many of you are grandmothers and even great-grandmothers. You have walked the sometimes painful, sometimes joyous path of parenthood. You have walked hand in hand with God in the great process of bringing children into the world that they might experience this estate along the road of immortality and eternal life. It has not been easy rearing a family. Most of you have had to sacrifice and skimp and labor night and day. As I think of you and your circumstances, I think of the words of Anne Campbell, who wrote as she looked upon her children:
You are the trip I did not take;
You are the pearls I cannot buy;
You are my blue Italian lake;
You are my piece of foreign sky.
(“To My Child,” quoted in Charles L. Wallis, ed., The Treasure Chest [1965], 54)
You [mothers] are the real builders of the nation wherever you live, for you have created homes of strength and peace and security. These become the very sinew of any nation.”

1 comment:

Julie Kaye said...

I am really glad that you shared this. It was what I needed to read today! I loved reading about your daughter and how she is growing! Its good to be reminded about how great it is to be a mom! Just thought you should know :)