It’s hard to strike the right balance, between affirming Moms who really need to be told that they made a good decision; and letting others (especially women) know that they’re okay, too.
Last year, I gave this talk. It worked well in my ward, I think. It shows one way of trying to navigate the tension.
I agree with so much of what ___. *Add detail. It’s good to be married to a person who I’m so often on the same page with.
It’s an interesting challenge, MD talk
For many, it’s a great day. Affirmed in your choices. Love the ___.
For others, it’s a tough day.
One friend, hates the day. Unmarried. Says it’s, “flower day.”
It’s complicated, important. Affects all of our lives.
For whom is MD hard?
-For those with no children.
-Those who are told, they waited too long.
-Children have died.
-Feel judged, ___.
-Children are estranged, mothers are estranged.
-Mothers who feel inadequate.
-Feel judged as parents.
-Some don’t feel like natural nurturers.
-Feel like they’re not the perfect moms in MD talks.
-Young moms, say, that’s it? All my work, effort, and I get a flower?
-Work all year, judged, get one thank-you per year.
-Some moms feel that they were forced onto the mommy track – would rather have taken other paths, haven’t found happiness promised in mommy land, resent the reminder of the choice.
What to do? How to make this talk ___? How to give thanks and praise for righteous mothers; support them; without telling others that their own life choices are wrong, or making them feel judged, or inadequate, or implying that empty words are enough. It’s enough to make one want to skip church. Unfortunately, we already used our one skip talk for the year. So, I have to figure out something to actually say.
I’ll try to include everyone, including those who may feel excluded this time of year. If I fail, ___.
(Like bishop. Do you give the flower, or not? Either way, someone might be hurt. If excluded, why? If included, is it an empty gesture?)
I’ll start with a dose of good, old-fashioned praise for mothers.
There are many wonderful mothers ___. And mothers often have a profound effect. I think of righteous, strong, intelligent mothers, and I think of Lucy Smith. ___. *Wagon story.
I think of Zina Huntington. *ADD.
Mothers really are remarkable.
I think of a friend of mine, who recently gave birth. *Taryn – add.
Every year, half a million women die in childbirth worldwide.
The act of birthing, and then nursing.
*To some extent, childbirth is the closest thing to atonement any human will undergo. Bleeding at every pore, suffering for another’s life.
*Nursing – drink, this is my blood.
Maternal images Jesus used for himself (the mother hen and her chicks, laboring women, nursing mothers…). In the Atonement, Jesus acted ___. In trying to emulate Christ, we should all try to be more maternal.
Mothers in plan of salvation.
What about others? A variety of messages, some of which may help.
Acknowledging, and saying what we have. Acknowledge, that not all are mothers. And not all find happiness in motherhood. Many do, and that’s wonderful for those people. Others don’t.
Acknowledging, you may feel excluded or sad. Mother’s Day talk is difficult for many of you. Some of you, unmarried, infertile, etc. – feel judged. So many struggle. A significant number of women struggle with Mother’s Day. Perhaps they are infertile, adopted, have lost a child, or lost a spouse, or feel motherhood as oppressing.
Nurturing. Helpful, for some. Others find it comes less automatically. Feel judged. Feel failure.
Acknowledge, no one talk can address all of your concerns. I’m not going to try. I don’t have all the answers. I can say a few things that work for me, for friends. I don’t know if they’ll work for you; I hope that some of it will ___.
Some find comfort in the idea that “all women are mothers.” Sheri Dew. Others find that even more oppressing.
For those who draw strength from that idea, know that there are significant scriptural ___.
Perhaps all will ___. For some, that can be comforting. If that’s comforting, ___. We see that idea in scriptures, sometimes. Promise to all that the barren will bring for children (Isaiah).
Significant barren women of the covenant (Sarah, Hannah, Rachel, Elizabeth) bore children late, after years of difficulty.
You may find comfort in looking to a future as a mother, even if that differs from the present.
For others, that idea is also problematic ___. If that’s you, don’t let me suggest another idea.
The scriptures do celebrate mothers. But they also, make clear, that motherhood isn’t the only way that women ___.
Strong scriptural women who were noted for their nurturing, life-giving, faithful service in areas that were other than maternal.
-midwives who defied the Pharoah.
God knows and recognizes the many other areas in which women excel. (As a community, we don’t always do as well as we should.)
I don’t know if that helps, mentally. I hope that for some, it does. I like to ___.
Let me give another response. I know that sometimes there’s no answer, mentally. But there are other answers.
For those who struggle, know that HF loves you. Know that, daughter of God.
HF loves you and cares for you. Whether you’re a mother now, or are planning on __, or even never ___. You’re here for a reason. HF loves you.
And more than that. We have more than just a father in Heaven. Our hymn tells us, we’ve a Mother there.
I don’t want to go out too far, doctrinally. We don’t talk about her often.
But there are some things that I think it’s safe to say. Our HM loves us, deeply. Our HM watches over us. As a Mother herself, she knows the trials and burdens that mothers face, and that women face. She is sensitive to all of our concerns. As a mother herself, she’d particularly sensitive to the concerns of mothers.
We don’t see a lot about Her in scripture. But we do see her presence between the lines, and in the world all around us. And I think we can say with certainty: Our HM loves you.
When, if not MD, to acknowledge the great love that our Mother in Heaven has for us.
What we celebrate about mothers is much more than a biological link. It’s the desire to connect with others, to love and help other people. That’s not to say that everyone who cares is a mother. But it’s caring that makes mothers worthy of ___.
Celebrating this idea isn’t limited to our kin. It can, and should, be much more. It can be a celebration of women who set tremendous examples for us. Of people we see every week at church, tending their children, or greeting and welcoming other ward members, giving hugs. It can be a celebration of nurturing in mother earth. The character of nurturing and giving and caring for others, is something we can all celebrate.
MD is a time to tell people around us, “You are a wonderful daughter of God who is enriching the lives of people around you.” This may be as a mother, or through work and your calling, or through personality ___.
Above all, MD is a time for peace. Both geopolitical – the holiday was actually begun as __ — and internal. It’s not a time to judge or find fault, but to help others and ourselves find peace.
On that note, let me suggest a MD gift. Every year, we give gifts. Flowers. Chocolate. Helping around the house.
What is our MD gift for HM? What can we do?
Forgive – self and others. Forgive ourselves for our failings, perceived faults. Especially, moms. Forgive yourselves for ___. Do it, because when you feel guilt, sorrow, pain, your HM feels it, too. Forgive self, as a MD gift to Her.
Know, that you are not a bad mom. You’re not a bad person. You’re not raising your kids wrong. You didn’t marry wrong. Reject the voices that tell you you’re not good enough, and forgive yourself. Let go of guilt or shame or frustration. Elder Holland’s words, you’re doing terrifically well.
Put your own name on the line. Shirley, you’re doing terrifically well. Amy, you’re doing terrifically well. Leslie, Erin, Kim, Judy, Karen, Doris, Kathy, Asako. And so on, I can’t name everyone. Put own name on the line.
This Mother’s Day, celebrate motherhood. Forgive others and selves, and try for a moment to see ourselves as God sees us – as loved children. I pray that this can be our MD gift, to ourselves, and to our Heavenly parents.