What does Mother’s Day mean for you?
I have considered this question over and over as I write this message. In Canada, we are a diverse group of people who are spread from east to west, north to south. Not one of us has had the same experiences in our lives, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have some measure of understanding or compassion for each other. As I consider my small circle of family, friends, and acquaintances, there are so many different situations when it comes to those whom we call “mothers.”
I grew up with a mother who loves me and did everything that she could to teach me and guide me and prepare me for the world that we live in. She is still here supporting me and loving me and praying for me every day.
My dear mother grew up with a very different situation. Her parents were divorced when she was very young, and she lived with her dad. She didn’t have contact with her own mother until much later in life, and even then, it was limited contact.
A dear friend of mine from high school was also taught and nurtured by a wonderful mother, who was recently taken from this earth. A dear young woman, whom I was privileged to teach years ago, is now fighting infertility in her journey to become a mother. Some were given life by birth mothers and raised by adoptive mothers. Some are single adults, waiting for a worthy partner to begin the journey to motherhood. Mother’s Day is unique for each and every one of us.
Perhaps this year, though, we can take a moment to consider some things that we all have in common rather than considering all the things that make us different. We can reach out to those who may feel left out on this day.
Recognizing a Personal Divine Nature
The new Young Women theme tells us what we each have in common: “I am a beloved daughter of heavenly parents, with a divine nature and eternal destiny” (Young Women Theme ). I love how leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently changed it from “we are…” to “I am…” (see Bonnie H. Cordon, “Beloved Daughters,” Ensign, Nov. 2019, 67). Consider that change and how it makes the statement personal for each and every one of us
Each young woman is a daughter of heavenly parents. As we come to accept this truth and act on it in our lives here on earth, we learn that we are heirs to a heavenly kingdom “and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17). It doesn’t say that our divine nature is determined by who our earthly mother is, the number of children we have, or whether we even have children. Divine nature is based on who our heavenly parents are. They are glorious and great, and we can be glorious and great as well. Once we realize this truth about ourselves, we can expand our understanding and apply that truth to those around us. All human beings have this same divine lineage and “are begotten sons and daughters unto God” (Doctrine and Covenants 76:24).
Called Individually by Christ
Just like our own families here on earth, each one of us is different despite having the same heritage. President Henry B. Eyring teaches, “every daughter of God listening to my voice has received a call from the Lord Jesus Christ. ...The service that the Lord calls him or her to do will be suited perfectly to that person” (“Covenant Women in Partnership with God,” Ensign, Nov. 2019, 70-71). We see such callings in action every day.
While we may not understand our calling, it is ours to fulfill. Perhaps that calling is to raise children here on earth, or perhaps that calling is to help others in raising those valiant children. Perhaps our calling is to comfort others through their heartaches or illnesses. As daughters of heavenly parents, I think our calling will always include others. We are stronger together, and we can lift and help each other along the way.
Recognizing Our Individual Talents and Blessings
This Mother’s Day, and every day, will we look outward and see what great things we can and are doing every day? Elder Neil L. Anderson said it best at the April 2021 general conference: “We love and honor the amazing women of [the restored Church of Jesus Christ]. With intelligence and wisdom, you bear the burdens of your family. You love. You serve. You sacrifice. You strengthen faith, minister to those in need, and greatly contribute to society” (“The Personal Journey of a Child of God,” in Conference Report, Apr. 2021). We are surrounded by women—both young and older—who are brilliant and amazing! Do we really see them?
Perhaps we could share Elder Anderson’s assurance that our faith will be blessed by Christ, “As the Lord’s servant, I promise you that as you are faithful to Jesus Christ and your covenants, you will receive compensating blessings in this life and your righteous desires in the eternal time line of the Lord” (“The Personal Journey of a Child of God”).
Let Us Be Thankful
Every day I am grateful for the women in my life who teach me, support me, and strengthen me. I have always been surrounded by women who are exactly what Elder Anderson described: they love, they serve, they sacrifice, they strengthen faith, they minister and contribute to society. It is those women whom I honour this Mother’s Day. While they may not all be earthly mothers, they are worthy of this honourable name, and I thank them for their example to me.
Happy Mother’s Day to each beloved daughter of heavenly parents!