Every week young women throughout the worldwide Church stand and recite the Young Women theme. As Sister Carol F. McConkie, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, visits Young Women classes and hears them say, “We are daughters of our Heavenly Father who loves us and we love Him,” she will sometimes ask, “how do you know?”
“The answers are insightful as they talk about their families, the beauty of nature, and time spent with faithful friends and inspiring leaders,” Sister McConkie shared during a session of BYU Women’s Conference on May 4. “They feel Heavenly Father’s love when they feel the Holy Ghost, live the principles of the gospel, and are true to their covenants.”
Some young women, however, have a more difficult time identifying God’s love as they undergo challenges that “diminish the joy of young womanhood,” she said. To them she asks, “What has helped you overcome these challenges?”
In response, they will often share their experiences turning to God in prayer, reading the scriptures, serving others, or attending the temple, Sister McConkie said. “They realize that their challenges have humbled them and turned them to God. Doing the seemingly small and simple things invites the Spirit of the Lord, and as they seek heavenly help, they feel that God is there, that He knows them and that He loves them.”
Sister McConkie testified, “Regardless of your circumstances, God is always there. He knows you and He loves you.”
She then shared four eternal truths that can help individuals to feel God’s love.
First, “Believe you are a daughter of God.”
“You are a beloved spirit daughter of Heavenly Parents, from whom you have inherited spiritual gifts and talents,” Sister McConkie taught. “You have a divine nature and destiny. Before you were born, you knew and worshipped God as your Eternal Father and as His daughter, you accepted His plan to come to earth, obtain a body and be created in His image.”
Satan does not want women to understand their divine identity, she explained. “The prince of darkness would have you believe that your value lies in worldliness, including a focus on perfect appearance, acquiring impressive wealth, gaining recognition and the popularity of friends and neighbors with your brilliant ideas, superlative service, the number of likes on your social media post, and, of course, your remarkable ability to successfully compete with others and gain the upper hand in every situation.”
This kind of pride leaves individuals susceptible to sin, depression, anxiety, fear and, ultimately, spiritual death, Sister McConkie said. “Continually competing and comparing with one another diminishes true joy and stifles the spiritual gifts that lift the soul and expand our understanding.”
However, choosing to humbly worship God invites the Spirit. “We know and feel that we literally are His spirit daughters and that we have inherited divine qualities and characteristics that make us who we really are. … I testify, sisters, God loves you simply because you are His, not because of anything you’ve done but because you are His.”
Second, “Believe that you have a Savior, Jesus Christ.”
The purpose of the Savior’s mission was “to atone for your sins and for mine, to die an ignominious death and by the power of God rise in power and glory, that you and all mankind may be raised to immortality and raised to eternal life if we will believe and obey,” Sister McConkie said.
By paying the price of suffering, Jesus Christ is able to strengthen individuals to carry burdens. “We pray with exceeding faith, and He consoles us in our afflictions,” Sister McConkie said. “We receive the everlasting word of God and feast upon His love; ‘for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever’ (Jacob 3:2). Our Savior calls to you and to me, ‘Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not. Behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet; be faithful, keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven’ (Doctrine and Covenants 6:36-37). Out of perfect love, Jesus Christ marked the path and led the way for you because you matter to Him.”
Third, “Believe that you have a work to do.”
Women need to rise to the level of their divine purposes, Sister McConkie said.
“We are here to learn the lessons that help us become like God and prepare us to return to His presence.”
As women keep covenants to love and serve the Lord, they will have access to the power of God to do the work they have been called to do, Sister McConkie promised. “In keeping our covenants, we may realize all the blessings God is willing and hoping to impart.”
She continued, “We are here to be anxiously engaged in a good cause and bring to pass much righteousness. … Whether our opportunities and experiences include a mission, marriage, a career, children or not, we choose righteousness and measure the value of our lives, with an eternal perspective. … We withstand anything, any thought, or anyone that would diminish our divine nature or distract from our divine destiny. With humble prayer and the word of the Lord as our guide, we seek the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. We learn and faithfully follow the Lord’s will for us. When we feel inadequate, when life is unfair, when hopes and expectations are disappointed, or when blessings and burdens overwhelm us, we remember that in the strength of the Lord, we can do all things.”
Fourth, “Believe you can return.”
“Those who obtain eternal life are those who pay the price to become like God in obedience, in personal righteousness and in service to others,” Sister McConkie said and encouraged listeners to “choose to walk the paths of mortality with faith in Jesus Christ, a sincere spirit of repentance, and a firm commitment to the covenants we have made in sacred priesthood ordinances.”
Sister McConkie concluded with her testimony, “God is our Eternal Father and we are His daughters. He loves us and he will strengthen us. … Our Father loves us so much He gave His Son to be our Savior and Redeemer. … President George Q. Cannon taught: ‘No matter how serious the trial, how deep the distress, how great the affliction, [God] will never desert us. He never has, and He never will. He cannot do it. It is not His character [to do so]. … He will [always] stand by us. We may pass through the fiery furnace; we may pass through deep waters; but we shall not be consumed nor overwhelmed. We shall emerge from all these trials and difficulties the better and purer for them.’
“Our Father loves us so much He trusts us to do His work in mortality. He loves us so much He has prepared the way for us to return to Him. May we remember and never forget that in all things, in all places, and at all times, you matter to Him.”