Mother’s Day 2014 was more special than most. It’s not that I had anything to do with it though. My daughter, MacKenzie, gave a talk in her singles ward on the “Relief Society Declaration,” with an emphasis on motherhood. She writes very well and gave a great talk. I have included a copy of it below.
This was the first time I attended a singles ward, and it was somewhat interesting. During the announcements, the bishop mentioned that several members of the ward had been married this past week. There was almost a cheer from the congregation. I guess that’s why these single wards were created, so I do understand the excitement.
After the meeting, Jill and I visited her mother, and then my mother, to wish them both a happy Mother’s Day. I am so grateful to my mother-in-law, LaVerne, my mother, Virginia, and my beautiful wife, Jill. They have all been the epitome of what an exemplary mother should be. I could never understand or fully appreciate the sacrifices they have each made for their children; both while they were growing up and even after each of our children has married and moved away. I truly do love and appreciate them for who they are and for what they have sacrificed for their families.
The following is a copy of MacKenzie’s talk that she gave in Sacrament Meeting today:
A Mother’s Love
by MacKenzie Carlson
“I get to speak this morning on the Relief Society Declaration and mothers. When I was asked to talk about the Relief Society Declaration, I wasn’t aware of what it even was. So, I was excited to be able to read and ponder on it. The Relief Society Declaration states, “We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction.
As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior, and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who: Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study. Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes. Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood. Delight in service and good works. Love life and learning. Stand for truth and righteousness. Sustain the priesthood as the authority of God on earth. Rejoice in the blessings of the temple, understand our divine destiny, and strive for exaltation.” These statements are incredibly true, and I would like to talk a little bit about a few of them.
“The first one explains that we can increase our testimonies through prayer and scripture study. That statement is incredibly true. I have a profound testimony of prayer. Through prayer, we can truly come to know our Heavenly Father and build a relationship with him. My favorite verse in the scriptures is third Nephi 27: 29. “Therefore, ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for he that asketh, receiveth; and unto him that knocketh, it shall be opened.” It is so simple yet so true.
Our Heavenly Father wants us to pray to Him. He wants us to help Him; we just have to do our part and ask. I always remember when my mother would pray for something when she didn’t know what to do. She would put all her trust in the Lord. When she turned to prayer, everything worked out for the best. I know prayer and scripture study are essential in increasing our testimonies.
“Next, is following the promptings of the Holy Ghost. When we follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost, we will be blessed in many ways. The Relief Society is fantastic at following the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Whether someone is feeling down, someone needs a meal brought to them, or if someone just needs a friend, they can always sense what needs to be done, and they do it. In Relief Society we write anonymous notes to one another, and I know when someone needs that little note or a little pick me up, someone is there to write to them telling them what they need to hear. Women and the Relief Society are so thoughtful and are guided by the Holy Ghost to guide them in their pursuits.
“The third statement is dedicating themselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes. I have watched my mother for 18 years strengthen my family and bring us together; staying up late to take care of a sick child, waking up early to get us to school on time, making family meals, being a friend, and never once missing a baseball or football game. All these ways are simple but have certainly brought strength our family.
In Alma 37: 6 it says, “Now ye may suppose that this is a foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.” I might be foolish, but I tend to be affected by going and having a family barbecue where we get along and bond, rather than an extravagant vacation. I remember the little things my mother has done for me and that will stick with me for a lifetime.
“Next, is find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood. Margaret D. Nadauld states it so simply in her talk, the joy of womanhood, “The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need purity. I love this because it is so true and while I have not fully achieved these humble qualities yet I am striving daily to attain them.
“The next one is delight is service and good works. In Mathew 25:35-36 it states, “For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.”
My whole life I have seen my mother join with the Relief Society and on her own to do every one of these things. They take meals to the hungry, keep company and take care of the sick, always make sure the prisoners get a Christmas card, and I can’t count the number of times my mother would go freezing without a coat to make sure I was warm when I had forgotten mine at home. Service and good works are such an essential part becoming like God, and I see examples of this in women everywhere I go.
“The last one I would like to talk about is sustaining the priesthood as the authority of God on earth. I have four older brothers, and I have had the blessing of growing up with five priesthood holders in my home. I have watched my mother teach them the importance of honoring their authority, and that has always been an example to me for when I have a son. The Relief Society Declaration is incredibly important and essential for women to understand their roles and potential in life.
A Mother’s Love
I would now like to talk more about mothers and a mother’s love. When I first started to think about my mother’s love for me, and my brothers, a few thoughts came to mind. I started to think about her patience, supportive nature, acceptance, and unconditional love for her children, daughter-in-law’s, and grandchildren. My mother told me not to get up here and make her sound like a saint just because it’s Mother’s Day because she’s not. Although in my eyes my mother is perfect. I really don’t know anything about being a mother, and I don’t know how mothers put up with us kids sometimes, but I know that one day I hope I can be just as patient and loving as my mother was to me.
“Now I am a nanny for three children. I love it, but oh how thankful I am to be able to send them home at night. Being around children has taught me many life lessons. Being a nanny is nothing like being a mother, but through my experiences, I have gotten a glimpse of the kind of attributes to attain to be a loving mother. Through that glimpse, I have seen the struggles and rewards of taking care of children. After spending a weeks’ worth of nights waking up every three hours to fill up the babies bottle with chocolate milk just to find out, he doesn’t like that color of the bottle. And hearing a child scream for your help after going through a horrendous nightmare just to have her sleep right next to you and knowing you are the reason she feels safe.
Consequences of children can vary minutely from feeling anger to feeling comfort in loving a child. I have learned patience and am grateful for these sweet innocent children to teach me patience every single day.
I would say patience is one of the most important aspects of caring for children. Through patience, you can achieve and teach anything your heart desires. With patience, you can teach your children to turn to the Lord in times of hardships, and you can teach them the happiness it brings to be a part of this wonderful gospel. No matter how many times a child fails in this life, with patience and love, it is always possible for them to come back. Heavenly Father is so patient and loving with us. His love is infinite, and he is the most patient person ever. He watches his children fail day after day but yet never gives up. He still wants us to try, even if we fall down, he’s there to help us get back up, just like a mother.
“Mothers are here to encourage us and love us even when we fail them. Our mothers are a heavenly gift. Another thing I have learned through these children I care for is the importance of considering their point of view. I put myself in their shoes and when I do that I can truly understand their needs more than when I look at them from my point of view. Every child has had different experiences in their life. I often find myself asking why in the world this child would do something like this. And then I remember that that little boy is only four years old. He is doing the best he can with what he knows.
Our Heavenly Father understands each person’s knowledge of right and wrong and knows why we do the things we do. He doesn’t get mad at us for doing them; instead, he helps us gain a greater knowledge of why we should not do those things. To attain those attributes, I know I must not scold a child for making a wrong decision, but instead, help them to know how to do it better next time. He does not know what I know and it is important to remember that. My mother never reprimanded us for making a wrong choice; she instead taught us through those choices. I do not know, the first thing about being a mother, but I do know the kind of attributes to attain to become a patient, loving, and accepting mother.
More Than A Mother
“I know Heavenly Father knew that we all need a motherly figure in our lives, someone to wipe our tears, tuck us in at night, and fix our problems. No matter how old I get I will always need my mother to fix my problems whether they be big or small, and I’m so grateful for a mother who will listen to me and when I make a mistake she doesn’t judge me she doesn’t get mad at me but she’s there for me and she lets me learn from those mistakes but she never leaves my side.
I can truly see Christ in my mother, and she holds many of Christ’s attributes. I can see Christ in motherly figures all around me, and I know that Heavenly Father knew that we would all need someone to lift our spirits when we were down and needed to be picked up, and that’s why he gave us mothers.
There’s a poem that I think fits perfectly for describing a mother’s love, “More Than A Mother” by Kari Keshmiry.
Pokes or Pries
“Now I wouldn’t exactly say the “will keep her word: will never tell. A mother never pokes or pries” part is too accurate. I remember when I was little she would always have me listen on the phone to my brothers’ conversations with girls and report back to her anything interesting. But that’s okay because I’m glad I have a mother who just wants to know everything about her children’s lives. I know that she truly wants to know all about our day and friends and how my math test went, but I know she does ask just because she loves me and truly cares about me, just like when I pray at night and tell my Heavenly Father how I am feeling. Heavenly Father cares just as much as my mother does. I think a mother’s love resembles our Heavenly Father’s love, and that’s why he gave us a mother.
“Elder M. Russell Ballard states, “There is no role in life more essential and more eternal than that of motherhood.” Motherhood is eternal and not something that ends when the child turns 18. If it did end at age 18, I wouldn’t know what to do. I need my mother each and every day, and she is always there for me.
In conclusion, I would just like to bear my testimony that I know the truthfulness of this gospel. I know our Heavenly Father gave us the Relief Society and mothers for a reason. Also, I know women have specific roles, and I feel extremely blessed to be able to take upon those roles and achieve them to the best of my ability. I know a women’s roles are incredibly important and when done right can be life-changing to people. And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.”