"I hope that my dear sisters throughout the world - grandmothers, mothers, aunt, and friends - never underestimate the power of their influence for good, especially in the lives of our precious children and youth!" ~President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.Over this last week I've had my eyes opened, maybe just a smidge, or perhaps it's more I was given a series of witnesses to what the meaning of being a good and righteous daughter of God can do for those surrounding her.
The influence we as sisters in this world can hold is not something to be taken lightly, if for no other reason than we never know who is watching. In our little ward (local congregation) there are many sisters who are struggling in ways that feel as though it is too much to bear. It has more than one precious daughter of God wondering if He really cares, why He can allow such cruel things to happen, and why they are being asked to endure such heavy loads.
There are sisters who feel too overcome with the mission of motherhood. There are others who desperately wish to be blessed with just one child. There are some who fear they will be called to go through this life without a companion by their side, one who will be there for them, to love them and put an arm around their shoulders when life gets too hard. There are those who's family is all grown, who's beloved companion have passed on, and are feeling more alone than they ever thought possible. And there are those who are called upon to watch and care for desperately sick children or husbands.
Too often we might find ourselves overwhelmed by all that is asked of us, by the paths our lives take, or through promises that seem to go unfulfilled. I myself have had promises given to me through blessings given by worthy priesthood holders that are still unfulfilled many years later. At times I get frustrated, but more often I find myself needing to exercise faith. My Father promised me, and He will fulfill the promise, in HIS time.
More than anyone else the sisters, wives, and mothers of the world hold the greatest power of influence over the children and youth we come in contact with. Whether those children/youth are in our home, in our classrooms, or simply in our neighborhood, you never know who might be blessed by your choices in life. The spirit of our homes is determined by the women who reside there.
These last few days I've been stressing (more than usual) modest dress in our home (as is SO obvious from my billions of pictures). More than one morning my oldest has come out of her room in the morning wearing a skirt because she wants to look "pretty like Mom." As odd as it may seem, even my boys have become just a little more loving. All from taking a little more care of my appearance.
Twice this week I was given a special insight into how others view me. Sometimes I wonder - especially during particular Church meetings where it feels like we're more noisy than a good influence - if those around me know how hard I try. One friend said, "It's so obvious you cherish your children." Another sent me such a sweet and loving message I was in tears. In it she told me how she's watched me for years with my husband and my children.
"I'm amazed of your example on what a mother can be. Through hard times even you stayed strong... . I think it is a blessing from Heavenly Father that I have such an outstanding example of what I can be as a mother, a wife and a daughter of god. Your smile makes me happy no matter what mood I am in."
All this from simply being myself, from trying a little harder to be what I think my Heavenly Father wants me to be. Is it easy? NO! Am I consistent? Of course not! Ask my kiddies how ornery Mama gets now and again! However, no matter how bad a mood I'm in, how frustrated I get with life, nor how discouraged or distraught I may be, I never give up. I can't. I've been promised too much to let it all go just because sometimes life feels too hard to live.
The message I felt impressed to give can be told in the words of President Uchtdorf:
"May I invite you to rise to the great potential within you. But don't reach beyond your capacity. Don't set goals beyond your capacity to achieve. Don't feel guilty or dwell on thoughts of failure. Don't compare yourself with others. Do the best you can, and the Lord will provide the rest. Have faith and confidence in Him, and you will see miracles happen in your life and the lives of your loved ones. The virtue of your own life will be a light to those who sit in darkness, because you are a living witness of the fulness of the gospel. Wherever you have been planted, on this beautiful but often troubled earth of ours, you can be the one to 'succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees' (D&C 81:5).
"My dear sisters, as you live your daily life with all its blessings and challenges, let me assure you that the Lord loves you. He knows you. He listens to your prayers, and He answers those prayers, wherever on this world you may be. He wants you to succeed in this life and in eternity."
To this I would only add, be aware of your choices. We choose every day how we will respond to the roadblocks placed in our ways. We can wallow in the misery these roadblocks can bring, or we can choose to climb over them, keeping our faces lifted up to the Lord.
Now, on to my day 5 of Femininity. My thoughts have been focused so much on my family these last few days, as I've been counseling with a sweet friend who is struggling with being unable to have children herself. So I decided today's pictures needed to include some of the most precious things I have been asked to watch over in this life.
I put on my cardigan this morning. Doesn't it complete the outfit?
And here are those curls I talked about freeing :)