The Divine Role of Motherhood – Part 1

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One word conjures up images of sweetness, self-sacrifice, and service: that of mother. Motherhood is the noblest status in the world, in part because of these traits. We learn about mothers in the Family Proclamation; the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles explain how gender is an important component of motherhood: “gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” Those who are women here on earth were women before they were born. The call to motherhood was extended at the time the calling of the priesthood was extended to men: in the pre-earth life. Pres. Benson said, “Before the world was created, in heavenly councils the pattern and role of women were prescribed. [Women] were elected by God to be wives and mothers in Zion” (Ensign, Nov. 1981, p.104).

Similarly, Sheri Dew states to the women of the Church, “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 not what was left over after our Father blessed His sons with priesthood ordination. It was the most ennobling endowment He could give His daughters, a sacred trust that gave women an unparalleled role in helping His children keep their second estate” (Ensign, Nov. 2001, p. 96).

Motherhood is not an afterthought to Heavenly Father, it was not instated merely to give women something to do; it is essential for the salvation of Heavenly Father’s children, when coupled with the priesthood. Once women leave the pre-mortal life and become mothers here on earth, they can look to our greatest Exemplar—the Savior Jesus Christ—for how to become faithful mothers.

Elder Ballard teaches, “When God asked [in the premortal world] who would come to earth to prepare a way for all mankind to be saved…, it was Jesus who said, simply, ‘Here am I, send me’ (Abraham 3:27)” (When Thou Art Converted, p.178). Speaking to women, Elder Ballard continues, “If you are wondering if you make a difference to the Lord, imagine the effect when you make commitments such as the following: ‘Father, if you need a woman to rear children in righteousness, here am I, send me. If you need a woman to make a house, a home filled with love, here am I, send me…. If you need a woman of faithful steadiness, here am I, send me” (p. 179). We need such willingness in today’s world more than ever!

A Father’s Job

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I’ve been reading the book Bonds that make us free by C. Terry Warner. It’s life-changing. It’s one of the most important books I’ve ever read. Even though the book is not scripture, I thought this short quote would be quite appropriate for this blog.

First, a little context. A man became upset at his children. He responded to them angrily and they started to cry. Realizing his error, he went to their room and asked for forgiveness. They quickly jumped into his arms and kissed him, forgiving him for any wrong. Now for the quote:

“Well, I leaned a lot of lessons from that. But the one that sticks with me the most, because I’m a father, is that it’s a father’s job to repent first. That’s what is means to me to be a father – to be the first one to repent and heal the relationship. My children were anxious and willing to forgive and be friends with me. But I had to start it. It seems to me that that’s the way relationships are healed. It’s no more complicated than that. It may take longer in some cases, but there isn’t much more to it than simply yielding your heart to what you know is the truth and saying, ‘I’m sorry.'” (p. 261).

Even though I’ve only been a parent for just over four years, I’ve made my share of mistakes. Parenting is very hard work; it takes a lot of effort and patience. But it also take more than that; it takes love and selflessness. I find that pride and selfishness usually cause the most friction in relationships. As a parent, as a father, it is especially important to be the first one to repent and ask for forgiveness.