What is it about your mother that you remember the most?
Probably something that had to do with something that she did for you, right?
I bet you are envisioning birthday parties or homemade meals or even family trips that she planned.
What you probably aren’t thinking about, though, is all the stuff that you didn’t even know she did for you. every. single. day.
The really crazy thing, however, is that the mothering instinct wasn’t something that came to me automatically. It took some time.
Actually, it took more than some time because the process is still on-going.
DON’T YOU EVER STOP?
But here is the point–and I do have one, because this is something that I have thought about for quite some time–there is something inside each and every one of us women that makes us essentially perfect for the role of motherhood.
Women don’t stop. We don’t know how.
I couldn’t turn my brain off if I tried.
Always, in the back of my mind, I have a running tally of all the things that should be done, could be done, or would be done if only I had the time.
It is this simple fact, I think, that ensures that:
- a baby’s needs will never go unnoticed or unattended to.
- a child’s fears will always be soothed
- a sick youth will be nursed to health
- a teenager’s insecurities will be strengthened
- a house will be turned into a home
- raw ingredients will be turned into a miraculous meal
- children will grow up to be adults some day.
So what exactly is that indefinable quality that makes women so suited to motherhood? And I am not just talking about women who physically have babies, because every woman on this Earth shares the same attribute. That quality that keeps us going and doing when we really want to drop?
In fact, in his talk entitled “A Plea to My Sisters,” delivered at the October 4th, 2015 General Conference, Russell M. Nelson touched on this very thing:
“You…possess distinctive capabilities and special intuition you have received as gifts from God.
We brethren cannot duplicate your unique influence.”
A woman who has a clear vision of her responsibility, just like a mother to her child, is not one to let anything get in her way:
“It would be impossible to measure the influence that such women have, not only on families, but on the Lord’s Church, as wives, mothers and grandmothers; as sisters and aunts; as teachers and leaders; and especially as exemplars and devout defenders of the faith.”
And that is entirely true. Can anyone really put a price tag on all that your mother or grandmother or aunt or sister has done for you?
I have had the opportunity and pleasure to work with women in Church callings and in community organizations. I can testify that no matter where you find them, women are working behind the scenes to get the job done. But there is one quality I have observed that drives us all–devotion to our cause.
Whether that cause be church, family, or service, a woman will see her responsibility through.
Another talk from this month’s General Conference stood out to me as well. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, another fabulous mouthpiece for the Lord, focused his talk on mothers.
In his talk, “Behold Thy Mother,” Elder Holland likened the role of motherhood as one similar in deed to that of Christ. He noted that even some of the very terms used to describe Christ’s mission are used for none other than child-birth and rearing:
“It is not only the prenatal carrying but the lifelong carrying that makes mothering such a staggering feat…most mothers know intuitively, instinctively that this is a sacred trust of the highest order. The weight of that realization, especially on young maternal shoulders, can be daunting.“
I think this quote from Elder Holland gets to the crux of what it means to be a woman. Instinctively we know that there is more to this life than just living for oneself. We know that to fully live, we must give our hearts away. Once you have given your heart away, you cannot get it back. From that moment on, you are striving to make this world a better place for those persons you have given it to.
MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE
Isn’t that a wonderful and mind-bending thought?!
How important is it to be a mother? To be a nurturer? To be a woman!
We have the opportunity to truly make this world a better place. To ensure that those who come after us feel like the world revolves for them. And as strong women with a firm foundation of faith and our eyes on the goal of eternal life, we can show our loved ones how that can be so.
When we are focused on becoming followers of Christ, we are in the best position to make this possible. A woman who has a firm testimony of God’s great Plan of Happiness can make important things happen.
Just as Elder Nelson said:
“We need women who are devoted to shepherding God’s children along the covenant path toward exaltation; women who know how to receive personal revelation; who understand the power and peace of the temple endowment, women who know how to call upon the powers of heaven to protect and strengthen children and families, women who teach fearlessly.”
YOU WERE MADE FOR MORE: FINAL THOUGHTS
Sometimes it is scary to believe that you could be made for more. We might think about all the things that we would have to do if we made up our minds to be a little bit more.
On July 4th, 2006 my first son came into the world. In that moment when he was placed in my arms, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that it was up to me to make him or break him. For the next year I would be his sole source of all that sustained life. I would be responsible for creating his world and holding it together each and every day.
But I did it. Despite the fear, the exhaustion, and the inevitable confusion and craziness of a brand new baby, I gave it all my worn-out self had to give. And then some.
I couldn’t back down because it had been programmed in me since before I came to earth to nurture those around me. It wasn’t easy, and I didn’t start out loving it. But it was my duty.
Through countless prayers and tears, I made it through. And I am still making it through today. Because it is my duty.
As our wise and loving prophet of God has said,
“As we make Christ the
center of our lives,
our fears will be
replaced by the courage of our
–Thomas S. Monson
When we fear what we know we must do, we must rely on our Lord to get us through. Soon the fear fades, and we remember our divine purpose as women–to make this world a better place for our loved ones by constantly striving for more.
Jessica Clark is a wife, mom, writer, runner, knitter, and proud Canadian. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Anthropology, and has been a student of people and cultures ever since. Right now she is busy studying the behavior and cultures of the people of Texas.