I'm a teacher for Relief Society, a women's organization within our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Tonight as I was finishing my lesson for tomorrow morning about fulfilling our purposes, I ran across a talk from Pres. Hinckley from Nov. 2006 about the Relief Society program and what is means.
I've been having a hard time finding my role and purpose as a mother of two such young children with a husband who works long hours to support our family. I know Mike works long hours and works hard because he loves us so much and I'm grateful for the sacrifices he makes to support us. But I have been struggling and feeling alone in taking care of the boys. Except for this weekend, Mike has been home and it has been absolutely wonderful to have him here. Like I said, I found this talk tonight and found such peace and reassurance in the words. This is what I needed...
Relief Society means sacrifice. I am always moved by this simple verse of Anne Campbell, written in behalf of her child. Said she:
You are the trip I did not take;
You are the pearls I cannot buy;
You are my blue Italian lake;
You are my piece of foreign sky.
(“To My Child,” quoted in Charles L. Wallis, ed., The Treasure Chest , 54)
Many of you are mothers. You are responsible for the nurture and upbringing of your children. When you grow old and your hair turns white, you will not ask about the fancy clothes you once wore, the cars you drove, or the large house in which you lived. Your burning question will be, “How have my children turned out?”
If they have turned out well, you will be grateful. If otherwise, there will be only small consolation for you.
I have written elsewhere: “God bless you, mothers. When all the victories and defeats of men’s efforts are tallied, when the dust of life’s battles begins to settle, when all for which we labor so hard in this world of conquest fades before our eyes, you will be there, you must be there, as the strength for a new generation, the ever-improving onward movement of the race” (One Bright, Shining Hope , 18).
Some years ago in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, Elder Marion D. Hanks conducted a panel discussion. Included in that panel was an attractive and able young woman, divorced, the mother of seven children then ranging in ages from 7 to 16. She said that one evening she went across the street to deliver something to a neighbor. Listen to her words, as I recall them:
“As I turned around to walk back home, I could see my house lighted up. I could hear echoes of my children as I had walked out of the door a few minutes earlier. They were saying: ‘Mom, what are we going to have for dinner?’ ‘Can you take me to the library?’ ‘I have to get some poster paper tonight.’ Tired and weary, I looked at that house and saw the light on in each of the rooms. I thought of all of those children who were home waiting for me to come and meet their needs. My burdens felt heavier than I could bear.
“I remember looking through tears toward the sky, and I said, ‘Dear Father, I just can’t do it tonight. I’m too tired. I can’t face it. I can’t go home and take care of all those children alone. Could I just come to You and stay with You for just one night? I’ll come back in the morning.’
“I didn’t really hear the words of reply, but I heard them in my mind. The answer was: ‘No, little one, you can’t come to me now. You would never wish to come back. But I can come to you.’”
There are so very many like this young mother, who found herself in loneliness and desperation but was fortunate enough to have faith in the Lord, who could love her and help her.