How do faithful Latter-day Saint women from different backgrounds, cultures and circumstances celebrate Mother’s Day, a day that is often difficult for some women? They can celebrate their divine nature and the confidence that comes from being a covenant-keeper by remembering the eternal promises of their loving Heavenly Father. They celebrate by making and keeping covenants that strengthen, unite and sustain them, said members of the Relief Society general presidency.
“No matter what circumstances we are in — if we are married, widowed, divorced or single, if we struggle with infertility or have had miscarriages, if our children have wandered, if our children have special needs — if we are keeping our covenants, we have a great cause to rejoice,” said Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president. “When we keep our covenants it allows the Lord to make up the difference in the weaknesses we see in ourselves.”
Sister Burton and her counselors, Sister Carole M. Stephens and Sister Linda S. Reeves, met with the Church News the first week of May, a month when motherhood is celebrated in North America.
Sitting in Sister Burton’s office, the presidency spoke about the many women who come to mind when they think about motherhood.
They spoke of an accomplished woman who did not marry until she was in her late 30s. This faithful woman just had her first baby. They spoke of another woman, now divorced, who is raising four children alone. They spoke of a young mother who worked hard to earn a doctorate only to stay home and focus on her children, of another young mother who sacrificed her college education so she didn’t have to postpone starting a family, and of another faithful woman who juggles home and work.
They also spoke of a faithful woman who has taken care of her mother and aunt, who struggle with health challenges. “She has been the glue that has held her family together,” said Sister Reeves.
Every woman has a part to play in the Lord’s plan, Sister Burton said.
Sister Stephens said daily simple habits — kneeling prayer, scripture study and service —strengthen faith and can keep covenant women focusing and strong, regardless of their current circumstance. “The key to everything in this life is that we keep an eternal perspective,” said Sister Stephens. “These are temporary differences. These are temporary circumstances. Even though the years — perhaps a hundred or more — we live on earth might seem like forever, it is just a small moment.”
Sister Burton said the Lord’s children knew in the pre-mortal realm that life on earth would be hard. “We shouted for joy to come here. We have made covenants in the waters of baptism and in our holy temples. Keeping our covenants will help us strengthen our families, no matter our family circumstances.”
Sister Reeves hopes Latter-day Saint women will look at the world in terms of what they have — the gospel and the ability to make and keep covenants — instead of what they might not have.
When we compare our motherhood, or our lack of motherhood to others, we subject ourselves to pain and sorrow. When we use whatever gifts and talents the Lord has blessed us with to strengthen and influence families for good, we can find peace, joy and rejoicing in our divine identity as daughters of our Heavenly Father.”
Every woman can be a “woman of influence,” every woman can be a “woman of covenant,” every woman can be a “guardian of the hearth,” said Sister Stephens.
“Look around you,” said Sister Reeves to Latter-day Saint women. “Who needs you and your influence?”
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