“The most important thing you can do is to make sure your children and those you nurture know that you love them. Love is the key ingredient to happiness.”
A dear friend sent me this lovely card this year:She commented that I was like the “woman of joy” pictured on the cover. Her comment brought a smile to my face as I thought about the many reasons I have to be joyful.
I have joy with my children. Raising my children brings purpose and fulfillment to my life. While the day-to-day tasks may seem small (feeding, clothing, cleaning, teaching) the effects are far-reaching. The arms around my neck for a hug, the sticky and slobbery kisses, the bed-time stories and snuggles are moments to treasure.
I have joy in this Christmas Season, remembering that He Is the Gift.
“Jesus taught about priorities when He said, “Seek not the things of this world but seek ye first to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (JST, Matt. 6:38, in Matt. 6:33, footnote a). “Seek … first to build up the kingdom of God” means to assign first priority to God and to His work. The work of God is to bring to pass the eternal life of His children (see Moses 1:39), and all that this entails in the birth, nurturing, teaching, and sealing of our Heavenly Father’s children. Everything else is lower in priority. Think about that reality as we consider some teachings and some examples on priorities. As someone has said, if we do not choose the kingdom of God first, it will make little difference in the long run what we have chosen instead of it.”
“I take great delight in my role as a nurturer, which allows me to express my deepest identity as a woman. I never fail to be struck by the way that women, young women, and even little girls seem to have an instinctive interest and ability in nurturing. It is not only a mother’s primary responsibility but also part of our “individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Liahona, Oct. 2004, 49; Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102). To nurture is to teach, to foster development, to promote growth, to feed, and to nourish. Who would not shout for joy at being given such a blessed role?” (Tanner, source).
This month of July marks three years since I started this blog. I’ve been reflecting a little on this “blogiversary”, and thinking about what things have changed and what has stayed the same in those three years.
In July 2008, the Ant Bug was three and a half, and the Sweet Bee was 9 months. Now the Ant Bug is six and a half, the Sweet Bee is approaching 4 years old, and we have since added Little Boy Z to our family (16 months old).
We are still living in the same two bedroom town home in Florida. But we’ve made some improvements!
Then, I drove a 4-door car. Now I have joined the ranks of the mini-van driving moms.
Then, I was serving as the first counselor in our ward Primary presidency. We have changed wards, but I still spend my time in the Primary (secretary, and now second counselor).
Then, the favorite movie of my children was The Lion King. Now it’s Tangled, no question.
Then, my only time spent at the piano was playing and singing Primary songs with my children. Now I sit beside 10+ piano students every week as a teacher, and I’ve recently started a blog for my piano students.
Then, I was a twenty-something mom who worried a lot about my role and responsibility as a mother. Now I am thirty-something mom who still worries about my role and responsibility as a mother. But I have faith that being a mother is a divine role, and as such, I am not left alone to navigate the ups and downs of parenting.
“We thank all of you, including our own mothers, and tell you there is nothing more important in this world than participating so directly in the work and glory of God, in bringing to pass the mortality and earthly life of His daughters and sons, so that immortality and eternal life can come in those celestial realms on high.
“You can’t possibly do this alone, but you do have help. The Master of Heaven and Earth is there to bless you—He who resolutely goes after the lost sheep, sweeps thoroughly to find the lost coin, waits everlastingly for the return of the prodigal son. Yours is the work of salvation, and therefore you will be magnified, compensated, made more than you are and better than you have ever been as you try to make honest effort, however feeble you may sometimes feel that to be.
“Mothers, we acknowledge and esteem your faith in every footstep. Please know that it is worth it then, now, and forever” (Holland, source).
Thank you for joining me on this journey!
“Pure love is an incomparable, potent power for good. Righteous love is the foundation of a successful marriage. It is the primary cause of contented, well-developed children. Who can justly measure the righteous influence of a mother’s love? What enduring fruits result from the seeds of truth that a mother carefully plants and lovingly cultivates in the fertile soil of a child’s trusting mind and heart? As a mother you have been given divine instincts to help you sense your child’s special talents and unique capacities. With your husband you can nurture, strengthen, and cause those traits to flower.”
“We recognize that there are enormous forces arrayed against women and families. Recent studies find there is deterioration in devotion to marriage, with a decrease in the number of adults being married. For some, marriage and family are becoming “a menu choice rather than the central organizing principle of our society.” Women are confronted with many options and need to prayerfully consider the choices they make and how those choices affect the family.
“These are very emotional, personal decisions, but there are two principles that we should always keep in mind. First, no woman should ever feel the need to apologize or feel that her contribution is less significant because she is devoting her primary efforts to raising and nurturing children. Nothing could be more significant in our Father in Heaven’s plan. Second, we should all be careful not to be judgmental or assume that sisters are less valiant if the decision is made to work outside the home. We rarely understand or fully appreciate people’s circumstances. Husbands and wives should prayerfully counsel together, understanding they are accountable to God for their decisions.
“You devoted sisters who are single parents for whatever reason, our hearts reach out to you with appreciation. Prophets have made it clear “that many hands stand ready to help you. The Lord is not unmindful of you. Neither is His Church.” I would hope that Latter-day Saints would be at the forefront in creating an environment in the workplace that is more receptive and accommodating to both women and men in their responsibilities as parents.
“The remarkable pioneer woman Emily H. Woodmansee penned the text of the hymn “As Sisters in Zion.” She correctly asserts that the “errand of angels is given to women.” This has been described as “nothing less than to do the direct and immediate bidding of our Father in Heaven, and ‘this is a gift that … sisters … claim.’”
“Dear sisters, we love and admire you. We appreciate your service in the Lord’s kingdom. You are incredible!”
We affirm that marriage is necessary for the accomplishment of God’s plan to provide the approved setting for mortal birth and to prepare family members for eternal life. Knowledge of God’s plan gives Latter-day Saints a unique perspective on marriage and children. We look on the bearing and nurturing of children as part of God’s plan and a sacred duty of those given the power to participate in it. We believe that the ultimate treasures on earth and in heaven are our children and our posterity. And we believe that we must contend for the kind of mortal families that provide the best conditions for the development and happiness of children—all children.