My mom is one of my favorite people in the whole world. So I was excited to speak in church on mother's day as I tribute to her. Here is the talk I wrote (though it is kind of choppy, sorry!). I love you Mom! Thank you for being you!
I admit some trepidation at being asked to speak on mother’s day, because I recognize this as a somewhat sensitive holiday. My heart goes out to those women who dearly want to be mothers, but cannot, for whatever reason, have that opportunity in this life.
But I love this statement by Sister Dew to the women of the church:
“For reasons known to the Lord, some women are required to wait to have children. This delay is not easy for any righteous woman. But the Lord’s timetable for each of us does not negate our nature. Some of us, then, must simply find other ways to mother. And all around us are those who need to be loved and led.”
But the focus of my talk is not on what we can do to be good mothers/parents (though there I plenty that could be related on that topic). I wish to focus on one thing that every single one of us in this in this room has in common. And that is each and every one of us here today HAS a mother. And I consider it an honor to speak on the day designated for commemoration of the women who have given us life.
When I reflect on the influence of a righteous mother, one particularly powerful story comes to mind. I share this story with you as it was related by Elder Holland:
She was sometimes called Sally, a widow with three children. Perhaps life had been a little harsh and she would have welcomed a change for the better, the easier, if it came. She thought she saw it come when a man, a widower from her past, returned with a proposal of marriage in his nice suit of clothes and talk of a prosperous farm. The prospects of a better life grew, and she understood him to mention servants and to be a man of substance. She accepted and crossed the river with him to view her new possessions: A farm grown up to wild blackberry vines, a floorless, windowless hut, the only servants were two thinly clad barefoot children, the father of whom had borrowed the suit and the boots that he had gone a-courting in. Her first thought was the obvious one: go back home. But she looked at the children, especially the younger, a boy whose melancholy gaze met hers. For a moment she looked while a great spirit subdued the passions of the flesh and then, rolling up her sleeves, she quietly spoke immortal words which ought to be engraven on every parent or teacher's heart: "I'll stay for the sake of this boy."
Sally Bush had no idea when she looked at that melancholy boy’s ten year old face that her stepson would someday save this nation, heal a generational breech, or go on to become the 16th president of the United States.
Abraham Lincoln paid tribute to his this remarkable woman, his dear stepmother, when he uttered the immortal words:
“All I am, or can be, I owe to my angel mother.”
I echo this statement. When I think back on my life and consider the people who have had the greatest influence on me, there is not ANYONE who has had a greater impact on my life than my parents. They were always there for the most pivotal moments in my life. The greatest lessons learned were always at their feet. I’m sure no one has celebrated my successes or borne my sorrows with deeper conviction than they have, with the exception, of course, of my Heavenly Father and Savior. I love and admire them, and I know they love me.
Elder Bradley D. Foster of the seventy said this in the past general conference:
“Perhaps the reason we respond so universally to our mothers’ love is because it typifies the love of our Savior.”
What a profound statement! I have been thinking all week about examples that illustrate this and I wanted to share a few of these with you.
Perhaps my favorite chapter in the New Testament is Matthew chapter 9: Just from reading the chapter heading I think you can see why.
Jesus forgives sins, heals a paralytic, and calls Matthew—He eats with sinners; a woman is healed by touching his garments; and he raises Jairus’ daughter to life—He opens blind eyes, casts out a devil, and preaches the gospel.
As Jesus passed from thence…
And Jesus arose and followed him...
And when Jesus departed thence…
And Jesus went about all the cities and villages…
There is so much we can learn from the savior’s service from this chapter. He served AS HE WENT. He stopped to bless people he saw along the way and he especially paused to help those who CAME TO HIM. He didn’t set aside time in his schedule to “serve,” he did it every day all day long by taking the opportunities that arose.
That is just how my mother served her children. She woke up and made our breakfast. She got us dressed, fixed our hair, packed our lunches and took us to school. While we were gone she was cleaning our home, doing laundry so we would have clean clothes to wear, going to the grocery store so we would have food to eat. She would pick us up from school and take us to basketball practice or piano lessons. We would come home and eat a dinner that she had prepared together as a family. And we would end the night doing homework, probably with help from her or dad, followed by family prayer and scripture study.
Service does not have to be remarkable to be significant. Just as the savior served everywhere he went, so can we. The seemingly tedious tasks of day to day living are important acts of service nevertheless.
Everything the savior did was to help others. He showed us that no task is to menial to be submitted to our care when he washed the feet of the disciples.
John 13:5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to awash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
The acts of changing diapers, scrubbing bathrooms, or mopping floors, though not considered glamorous are acts of service on behalf of our families. Mothers do so many of those unpleasant tasks, because they love their families and the Lord and showing their love for them is what is most important.
I do not think it is coincidence that we come into this earth through the blood and sweat of our mothers. When I think of the sacrifices my mother has made for me, my heart instantly turns to my savior as I think of the sacrifices HE has made for me as well. For they have both shed blood on my behalf.
One of my favorite scriptures is Isaiah 49: 15-16:
15 Can a awoman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of
her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not bforget thee.
The savior’s atonement is even more powerful than a mothers love. When I think of all the things my mother has done for me…
· Staying up all night taking care of me when I was sick
· Crying with me when my heart was breaking
· Going without so I could have
· Investing all of her time and energy into my success
· Constantly cheering me on, even when I didn’t think I could make it
my heart is filled with gratitude for her. It amazes me that my savior feels a love for me even deeper than I can understand. A love even stronger than any I have experienced in this life. He has graven me upon the palms of His hands, and I KNOW that he will never forget me or forsake me.
I love Him. I love my parents that have always taught me about Him. I know my savior lives. I know that He loves me and you. And I know that we can be together with him and our Father in Heaven and the ones we love someday. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.