I’d like to begin with a quote by Elder Holland. This quote comes from an October General Conference Address, “Behold Thy Mother”.
"To all mothers in every circumstance, including those who struggle – and all will – I say, Be peaceful. Believe in God and Yourself."
Every Circumstance, who might this include?
New Mothers, Experienced Mothers, Mothers of children who thrive, mothers of children who face mental and physical challenges, Mothers of children never held, Mothers of Children on this side and the other side of the veil, single mothers, mothers who feel so connected to the divine calling, and those that fight through the pains of postpartum depression and other mental illnesses…and so many other circumstances unnamed…
Elder Holland Continues: “You are doing better than you think you are. In fact, you are saviors on Mount Zion, and like the Master you follow, your love ‘never faileth.’
When anyone is asked, “What is Charity?” like a reflex they respond, “It is the Pure Love of Christ.” We say it, but do we truly understand it? What is the love of Christ like? Endless, Long-suffering, sacrificing, faithful, carrying, bearing, and sustaining…in Isaiah 53:4, it states, “He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.” Is this not also the role of a Mother?
A Mother carries her children for nine months, carrying, sustain and creating a temporal home for a precious spirit child of God. I remember the day I read my first pregnancy test, “positive” this is something I was certain, I would not see, not for a long time. I had grown up expecting to struggle to have children, but was infinitely blessed to not have to suffer the unbelievable pain of repeated negative test, and confusion like so many mothers do. I remember sensing the great and burdensome responsibility of caring for one of God’s children.
Elder Holland writes, “Not only do they bear us, but they continue bearing with us…it is the lifelong carrying that makes mothering such a staggering feat…most mothers know instinctively that is a sacred trust of the highest order…”
Instinctively mothers begin to develop this Christ like Love, this Pure Love as their child develops within, but this is the beginning, of an eternal path, this path will not be easy, consistently pleasant, or full of all the ideas on your Pinterest boards successfully carried out. I found early on in my journey of Motherhood, that it would not be as I anticipated at all. I was struck with debilitating postpartum depression, and guilt wrecked me that I didn’t feel more connected to my own child. However, as Christ did…I continued despite any pain or emotional distress.
Moroni 7:45 explains how even in my state of darkness amidst unbelievable beauty and light could still resemble Charity, “Charity suffereth long…it beareth all things…hopeth all things…endureth all things.” And so I endured. Through pushing through the burden of my own trials, I have come to find focus on my child, focus on the good when everything else feels wrong, and endure, with this endurance I have found peace and joy in motherhood.
Charity in a more traditional sense emulates the selflessness of a mother, her wiliness to give up the most basic necessities to provide happiness and comfort to her children. My mom is a perfect example of, “charity seeketh not her own…rejoices in truth…believeth and hopeth all things…” She radiates congeniality and her spirit reaches everyone she meets. One would never know her physical trials as she serves without complaint, and lives her life as a virtuous example. I remember watching her as a teenager and young adult, I watched how she interacted with everyone she met, making each person feel so individually important and loved. Is this not the relationship we all seek to have with our Father in Heaven and with our Savior? I s this not the type of love we know they emulate…seemingly unconditional, instantaneous, valued love.
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Charity is built, it is not bestowed with a magical wand of motherhood like a knighting ceremony…Moroni 10:20, “Wherefore, there must be faith; and if there must be faith there must also be hope; and if there must be hope there must also be charity.” Faith and hope…I truly believe that these are skills that are obtained and cultivated as any skill in this life is. One of my best friends has, in my mind, perfected these skills as a mother. She suffered 3 years of infertility, a miscarriage, a miracle, a loss of that miracle at 5 weeks old- all of which were spent in the NICU, a second and third miscarriage in the two years following the birth of her son. She writes, “this is still a good life” as she spreads messages of hope and unshakable faith to all those who follow her on social media, offering comfort to other mothers whose hearts and arms ache for a child, the one that is yet to be or the one that returned to their Heavenly Father. Even if your children are not physically here with you, know that you are beyond fulfilling your role as a mother, and your fulfill it every single day, whether or not that child was ever in your arms. The Pure Love of Christ/Motherhood is instantaneous, and you have it.
This love is in no way simply limited to mothers, nor is it limited solely to women, but on days like mother’s day, when your time has yet to arrive to experience Motherhood first hand it can be difficult to hear the glorious tales of motherhood and the divine gift so many have been given, please know, “my dear sisters – grandmothers, mothers, aunts, friends -- never underestimate the power of YOUR influence for good, especially in the lives of our precious children and youth” (Uchtdorf, Influence of Righteous Women).
I truly believe, every woman, a mother – let us expand our vision, and remember all the women both past and present who have done so much to ‘mother’ the world – continually shaping, molding, working for , and nurturing our collective souls. One by one by one.”
May you know your power, your worth, and your ability to emulate charity no matter your circumstance.