Today, 22 years ago, I became a mother. I gave birth to my first child. Now I say that I became a mother, but the truth is, I was a mother long before I gave birth. Motherhood, is the true nature of womanhood.
Loving and leading—these words summarize not only the all-consuming work of the Father and the Son, but the essence of our labor, for our work is to help the Lord with His work. How, then, may we as Latter-day women of God best help the Lord with His work?
Prophets have repeatedly answered this question, as did the First Presidency six decades ago when they called motherhood “the highest, holiest service … assumed by mankind.”
Have you ever wondered why prophets have taught the doctrine of motherhood—and it is doctrine—again and again? I have. I have thought long and hard about the work of women of God. And I have wrestled with what the doctrine of motherhood means for all of us. This issue has driven me to my knees, to the scriptures, and to the temple—all of which teach an ennobling doctrine regarding our most crucial role as women. It is a doctrine about which we must be clear if we hope to stand “steadfast and immovable” regarding the issues that swirl around our gender. For Satan has declared war on motherhood. He knows that those who rock the cradle can rock his earthly empire. And he knows that without righteous mothers loving and leading the by Text-Enhance”>next generation, the kingdom of God will fail.
When we understand the magnitude of motherhood, it becomes clear why prophets have been so protective of woman’s most sacred role. While we tend to equate motherhood solely with maternity, in the Lord’s language, the word mother has layers of meaning. Of all the words they could have chosen to define her role and her essence, both God the Father and Adam called Eve “the mother of all living” —and they did so before she ever bore a child. Like Eve, our motherhood began before we were born. Just as worthy men were foreordained to hold the priesthood in mortality, righteous women were endowed premortally with the privilege of motherhood. Motherhood is more than bearing children, though it is certainly that. It is the essence of who we are as women. It defines our very identity, our divine stature and nature, and the unique traits our Father gave us. Sheri L. Dew, October 2001
I LOVE this quote from Sister Dew. It means so much more to me knowing that she is a professional woman who has never been married or had children. Instead of looking at what she is lacking in her life, she has chosen to study, ponder, and pray about a topic very dear and sensitive to her heart. She has chosen to embrace the doctrine and to do what she can in her sphere to magnify her eternal identity.
I appreciate the opportunity I have to bear and rear children. I recognize it as a gift and a responsibility. To be honest, I really struggle with the blessing of being asked to do it more often than I would have chosen to. There are many things I would like to be doing that I cannot because I am a mother to so many. I am not complaining. The things I would like to be doing are no where near as important as what I have been asked to do, but it is important to understand that there are plenty of things I have to sacrifice in order to mother so many.
It is interesting, when I let my green-eyed monster roam free, I am sad and dissatisfied with life. But when I can see it through eternity’s lenses, I recognize that those I am jealous of have their own hidden heartaches, sacrifices, and unfilled dreams and desires.
So…….even though I love my brood, I struggle with them too. I know all women are mothers, those who have special gifts given them to love and lead the next generation, whether they give birth to them or not.
Happy Birthday, sweet son!