I was asked to speak on Mothers Day last Sunday and I thought I would post my talk up here. I usually have some sort of tribute to my Mom and didn't this year, so I thought I would just post my talk. I did take out a couple items because I read them from another book and didn't want to type that in. Happy Belated Mothers Day to all you sweet mommy's!
Good Morning brothers and sisters, before I begin I would like to wish all of you sisters a Happy Mothers Day. I am especially grateful that my own dear mom is here and I can’t believe how lucky I am to speak today with her here in the congregation. She is truly my hero and she has always been the greatest example to me of unconditional love, endless service and great faith.
When I think of Mothers Day and the great celebration that it is, I often think of my long list of things of what I haven’t done or what I could have done better as a mother. I look at you women in this ward and am always in awe of what you have done or continue to do to raise good children. I think of the sisters whose children are grown and gone and those who don’t have children of their own, and, am grateful for their natural, nurturing love they show to my own and for the gospel truths they have taught them.
This was surprisingly a tough topic for me to write on…not the fact that it is hard for me to write beautiful and awesome things about my mom or about being a mom in general but, the fact that I wanted to focus more on gospel truths that we needed to implement into our lives, so that we could teach our children to become more Christlike, and also to help us become better mothers and women and people of God in general.
So, I began to really think about what it is my own mother has taught me about this precious gospel, and I would like to focus today on just a few of them. I would have to say right off the bat that her love for the scriptures was the 1st thing that popped into my mind. If I had a dollar for each hour she has read her scriptures I would be a very wealthy woman. She knows the scriptures inside and out, backwards and forwards. I have seen her many times read and study for hours on end and, I have been taught by her, many truths as she uses the scriptures as her main teaching tool.
In 1979, Pres. Spencer W. Kimball addressed the women of the church in a worldwide women’s fireside. Because, he was in the hospital at the time he had his dear sweet wife Camilla read his remarks, Pres. Kimball said, “I stress again the deep need each woman has to study the scriptures. We want our homes to be blessed with sister scriptorians whether you are single or married, young or old, widowed, or living in a family. Become scholars of the scriptures…NOT to put others down, but to lift them up”.
I feel that in order to do this, that we must study the scriptures, we must accept challenging callings, we must strive diligently and powerfully to teach our children the gospel of Jesus Christ. To do this, we must develop ourselves to our fullest and finest potential! Pres. Spencer W. Kimball continues to say, “Seek excellence in all your righteous endeavors and in all aspects of your lives”. I feel he is also saying, in short, we as women of the church must fill the measure of our creation and that no matter who I am married to, what my children may choose to do, I must NEVER lose sight of who I am. I am a daughter of God, and a mother in Israel!
When we lived in Pittsburgh, the Meservy family moved into our ward from Utah. They had 8 children who were smart, athletic, witty and all of them were so well versed in the scriptures and knew so much about the gospel. It amazed not only myself but, the entire ward because this family really had it all together in every way. We all wanted to know the mother Michelle’s, big secret and how she did all of this with her children. She said simply that their day never starts without scripture study, that every morning at the kitchen table as they ate breakfast they read the scriptures as a family. They never missed, that was her only secret…that they never missed. On a side note, she was also voted as mother of the year in Utah a couple of years before moving to Pittsburgh. Today all of her children, 9 of them, are return missionaries; college graduates and all are married in the temple. Do you think that daily scripture study worked? I know it did.
Another thing my mother taught me was to always attend the temple. This is the main reason she lives out west, because she attends the temple faithfully every week, sometimes with others and sometimes alone. If you ever want to go with her, do not think you’ll go to do just 1 or 2 sessions and then go home, be ready for a marathon day there. She enters when the sun is up and exits when it has gone down. One of the greatest experiences I had at the temple was when our family went before Loni Anne left for her mission and did baptisms for Dan’s mother’s side of the family. There we were, Dan and I, Loni Anne, Danny, Andi and Spencer. We had about 30 names and with the help of Jesse Anderson and some friends from her ward, we were able to perform all of them including, Dan’s mom. The spirit was obviously there and my children left with a greater appreciation for their family who has gone on before them and for the rich blessings we receive only from the temple.
Our beloved Prophet Joseph Smith has said, “The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead. Those saints who neglect it, do it at the peril of their own salvation”. I know that when we attend the temple and happily share those experiences with our children about the importance of why we go, it will sink deep into their souls why it is important for them, to always be prepared and ready to enter that holy house of God. How grateful I am for the temples that dot the world and that allow us to be more like Him and for the eternal blessings we receive there to be families forever.
The last thing I would like to share with you about my mom is that she is a woman of great faith! She, through her faith, has been instrumental in pleading with the Lord on behalf of her children and grandchildren. She has fasted for days on end for Tommy to be healed of what could have been a terminal illness, or even one, to render him a vegetable his whole life, she prayed and fasted for my Andi to be healed of colic that she suffered with for over 3 months of her life already, and literally overnight Andi was healed. She stood vigil day and night in a hospital room in Utah 2 years ago as my sister Mia barely held onto life, fasting, praying and seeking a priesthood blessing for her. These are just a few examples of the faith my mom had in the Lord for His healing power, which He has so obviously blessed our family with.
But, I want to tell you all who HER example was. The person, who taught my mom how to pray and fast and rely heavily on the Lord for everything, was her own mother. My Grandma Mele was a convert to the church. She was the glue that held her family of 13 together. She was physically strong and a spiritual giant. She was loved and respected by so many on the island and many women who could not take care of their own children, gave them to my grandmother because they knew she could and would love and take care of them. She was also a woman who always had enough for not only her own family but for anyone else who was in need. Noone left her home hungry or in need because she had a generous soul and shared all she had. She taught her children to not only love the gospel but placed an important emphasis on their education as well. Two of her children were given scholarships to attend the Church College of Hawaii, now known as BYU-Hawaii. They were the first in Tonga to receive them. Her youngest son was the first eagle scout in Tonga and all of her children married in the temple, even the ones she raised that were not biologically hers. All of them remained active members in the church, they have served as RS presidents, missionaries, bishops, stake presidents, temple sealers and temple presidents. My grandmother could not have done all these things on her own. She relied on the Lord to bless her and her family always. She served Him everyday by serving others. She exercised great faith in Him, by fasting and praying for her children and grandchildren just as my mom does. When my sister Janie was a child she was diagnosed with polio. My mother and father were devastated and turned for comfort to my grandparents. Janie was given a priesthood blessing and then my Grandma Mele fasted everyday, she fasted for 24 hours, broke her fast ate a meal and immediately started her fast again. She did this for a month, and when my sister was taken back to the doctor, as you all can guess, there were no signs of the deadly disease. I am so grateful for the amazing lineage of fine, strong and God fearing women I come from. Mine is indeed a very noble heritage.
President Gordon B. Hinckley has said, “God has given the women of this church a work to do in building His kingdom. That concerns all aspects of our great triad of responsibility…which is, first to teach the gospel to the world; second, to strengthen the faith and build the happiness of the membership of the church; and, third, to carry forth the great work of salvation for the dead. Know that you are daughters of God, children with a divine birthright. Walk in the sun with your heads high, knowing that you are loved and honored, that you are part of His kingdom, and that there is for you, a great work to be done which cannot be left to others”.
My love for the scriptures, my desire to attend the temple, and the great faith I have, I know I have learned and inherited from a mother in zion, a mother who knew! I love you mom!
In closing, may I just say how grateful I am that the Lord has seen fit to bless me to be the mother to seven beautiful, talented, spiritually strong and loving children. When I think of my children and the blessing that is mine to be their mom I think of what Sister Marjorie Hinckley said in a talk she gave on a Mothers Day. She said, “Jewish women have a wonderful way of bidding each other goodbye. They say, have joy in your children. And so I say to you, have joy in your mothering”. And I do, I feel exquisite and inexpressible JOY just being their mother!
I know that God lives and that Jesus Christ is His son and our Redeemer.