Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mother's Day

Taken from the talk I gave in my ward on Mother's Day, 2012.

Mother’s Day is a sensitive day for many people. As women in the gospel, we are all loved by our Heavenly Parents the same, whether we are married, single, divorced, widowed, have children or are childless. It wasn’t many years ago when I avoided Mother’s Days and found any excuse to be somewhere else rather than in a ward full of happy mothers and babies.
I recently discovered that I have friends and female relatives who look on Mother’s Day as a day of insecurity in how they are raising their children.

I can’t help but feel that satan  (lower case on purpose here, he doesn't deserve upper case) is happy when we have these feelings of doubt, sadness, and regret. Heavenly Father wants us to be happy---no matter what situation in life we are in. We can't let these feelings keep us from striving to be the best mothers we can be.

“We women have a lot to learn about simplifying our lives. We have to decide what is important and then move along at a pace that is comfortable for us. We have to develop the maturity to stop trying to prove something. We have to learn to be content with what we are.”
Marjorie Pay Hinckley
My talk today is not to emphasize what we may not have as women, but to examine what we do have. Everyone has a mother. Not every mother is the same. Some are good mothers, while some are not. I teach middle school in a rough area of Las Vegas. Many of my students are blessed with kind and hard-working parents, but some are not. The parents that abuse, neglect, and ignore their children break my heart. The gift of parenthood, of Motherhood, is a not something to be taken lightly and our children are not objects to be tossed aside when a burden or in the way.

One of my favorite examples of good mothers is in the Book of Mormon. The Stripling Warriors who fought under Helaman were the children of converted Lamanites known as the Ammonites. Their parents had made a covenant never to shed blood, but their male children, the Stripling Warriors, had not. They fought to protect the freedom of their families. They were known to have the greatest courage among all of the Nephites. Here’s why. In Alma 56:47-48 it says, "Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the aliberty of their bfathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their cmothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. And they rehearsed unto me the words of their amothers, saying: We bdo not doubt our mothers knew it."

These young men had courage because their mothers had followed the principles of the gospel and taught them to follow the principles of the gospel also. While some of them were wounded in battle, none of them were killed.
If we were born to goodly parents, as the Stripling Warriors were, we have had good examples of mothers to follow. If not, we may have found “mothers”  in our Primary teachers, Young Women leaders, or Relief Society sisters, seminary teachers, teachers at school, grandmothers, aunts, older sisters or the mothers of our friends.

I have been blessed with a mother who has been a good example to me and many other young people. She decided to be a member of the church when her parents did not have an interest in the gospel and often attended church alone or with her grandmother. She had a strong desire to be married in the temple and raise a family in the gospel. She kept her eye on this goal as she grew up and never gave up on it; marrying my dad and raising 5 kids in the gospel. This is a legacy that she is giving her children, grandchildren, and generations to come.

My mom also welcomed into our home any of our friends or family members who needed a place to stay or live. My friends from high school and college still remember this and ask about her when I see them. She is also an example of strength. When my dad was bishop of the University Ward she took all 5 of us kids to church (actually in this building) on her own. We may not have been the best behaved children in the ward, but instead of doing the easier thing, staying home, she showed me that if she could do it with 5 kids, I could do it with 1 son. In my first marriage my husband worked weekends, then was sent to San Diego for a year and then the middle east for 6 months. I could go to church with my son while I was divorced, and now when Steve has to work. I am so thankful for her example of strength and courage to me.

I have also been blessed with two “angels” in law (see my earlier blog posting about these angels in my blog history), as I like to call them. Most people are not blessed with one good mother-in-law, much less two. I am.

Darlene Rhodes, my ex husband’s mother is also an excellent example of a woman in the gospel to me. Even though I am no longer married to her son, we still consider each other family. She was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in the mid 1990’s. She has endured this disease in faith and in good spirits as she has slowly lost mobility and depends on others to assist her. Darlene's testimony remains strong and she does not mourn her condition and ask “Why me?” I know this because we have had several discussions about it, but I also know this from her example. She never whines or complains, but goes about her life with a smile on her face, determined to enjoy life.

My other mother-in-law, Rhodell Terry, is also an excellent example to me, as well as a source of strength. She and my father in law, Lamar, were both divorced single parents with six small children between them when they married. She became a brave mother of six children under the age of five and ten years later had four more.

After my divorce, while dating Steve, and then marrying Steve, she has been positive, supportive, and helpful in steering me through the complications that divorce and step-parenting bring. Her advice and listening ear have helped me more than she will ever know and I am grateful to her for all she has done and continues to do for us. She is a woman of faith who knows and loves the gospel.

No matter what our circumstances today, I challenge each of us, especially the women, not to think of where we lack or what we don’t have, but to think of the “mothers” in our lives who have made a difference. I am forever grateful to Sis. Abbott, Sis. Thompson, Sis. Hyte, Sis. Stewart, Sis. McConnell, Sis. Alger, and others who taught me correct principles in Primary, Young Women, Relief Society, and thru their actions. They are all true ladies in the gospel and have mothered me in various ways as they have served in their callings and served the Lord.

In closing I want to share one of my favorite quotes from Marjorie Pay Hinckley:
“I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.
I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.
I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor’s children.
I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden.
I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.
I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.”
Marjorie Pay Hinckley

I am so grateful to be a woman. May we all take a moment to think of the women in our lives who have been mothers to us.
I bear my testimony that these things I share with you today are from my heart. The gospel is true. Jesus Christ lived and died for us. I am so grateful for my ancestors, who sacrificed so much to join this church and move West. I am also grateful for goodly parents, who like Nephi, taught me right from wrong. I love my husband, Steve, and am grateful for him in my life, as well as our two boys. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Copyright 2012 Corrina L. Terry