Reaching

From the LDS.org RSS feed:
A CES fireside for young adults will be held on Sunday, March 2, 2008. Julie B. Beck, general president of the Relief Society, will be the speaker. The broadcast will originate from the Marriott Center on the Brigham Young University campus.
*Peeks out from behind a wall*

Is it safe to come out yet?

*Looks to the left... then to the right*

OK then. Here we go.

The last time I heard a talk from Sister Beck, and she talked about "Mothers Who Know," and our roles as women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, my feelings were indescribable. And because I've decided to keep them nameless, I'll provide you with this video instead.




I remember sitting in the chair next to Boyfriend in the chapel, feeling the weight of my mantel in a way I never had before. I mean, being a teenage convert is challenging enough. Having to explain things like a temple marriage to my own mother, in relation to why she can't be there with me--I almost called it quits right there. But I got through that crisis because, for the sake of my faith, I had to. I ultimately made the decision that a temple marriage isn't something I will sacrifice; but I haven't forgotten the cost of that pearl of great price.

All of this and more was crashing through my mind like a violent storm I tried to keep to myself as I listened to Sister Beck talk about "Mothers Who Know." I remember looking to Boyfriend with tears in my eyes, and I understood once again the kind of pressure he has lived with his entire life.

And now, months later, the thought of life after temple marriage--being a wife and mother--has turned into something else that I fear I'll have to "get through" because it isn't on my terms.

Ever since I was little, I have sworn to myself that I would treat being a wife and mother as the sacred trust it is. I've had my child heart broken too many times by a mother and father who just don't know--it would break my heart open even wider to have my husband or children live with me in silent seething, the way I have lived for over eighteen years now. The battle that has left festering wounds and ugly scars on heartflesh that only heal one way: slice it open and watch congealed, infected Past ooze from tender skin; drop by painful drop. Only then will this new blood I've been given go untainted, and bring me life.

And unlike Abraham, the only way to spare my life is to complete the sacrifice.

I have much to do before I will be ready to undergo a marriage covenant with Heavenly Father, before I will bring children into this world. And I have already decided that if I cannot bear my cross with more grace, replace this bitterness in me with patience and hope, love and prayer, then I won't go forward. I refuse to expose the wickedness in me to my family, even if it means never having a family of my own; I already love them that much, owe them that much.

Boyfriend tells me that love is all I could ever need, and will keep me from repeating the mistakes that my parents made. But I'm not so sure.

I support Sister Beck in the teachings she offered in her talk. If more girls and women took her thoughts to heart, this world would be a better place. Situations like mine wouldn't exist. But I also know that phrases like "Mothers who know desire to bear children... should be the best homemakers in the world... should be the very best in the world at upholding, nurturing, and protecting families," I can't help feeling that I'm too unequipped. Too lost in the wilderness. Too clumsy to carry such a fragile responsibility without dropping it, shattering the irreplaceable into a million little pieces.

And the indescribable feeling returns that is easier for me to bear when it's nameless... even though I know her name is small.

So when I see that Sister Beck is giving a YSA fireside, I can't help wondering if I should just stay home. I'm sure she's a wonderful lady, but at five-foot-nothing I'm already small enough. I don't need to see the differences in height between me and spiritual giants like her anymore.

*sigh* I miss President Hinckley. At least when he told me "to stand a little taller," I knew he meant with the five-foot-nothing I had to work with. But I know he (and He) would have me do more than stand taller. They would have me listen to Sister Beck.

And to do that I have to reach.

Comments

  1. Paradox, you rock! I think all of us have those same worries sometimes; I know I do. I worry that I won't be able to do things the way I know I should as a mother. But you know what? The reason women of the church are the best homemakers, the best mothers, etc. is never because of their own effort. It's because they are women of God--in the end, we don't rely on our own power. If we did, then this speech would be seriously discouraging. But because we rely of God, the command to be the best is not a burden, but a call to let the Lord guide our actions.

    (I like to temper Sister Beck's talk with President Oaks' talk as well: being the best mother doesn't mean doing everything; it means being able to sift the best out of just the good and better.)

    Also, check out this T&S post elaborating on the talk: http://www.timesandseasons.org/?p=4164 I think they made some really positive points about it.

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  2. You don't need a booster seat. As a daughter of the Most High God Christ will lift you up!

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  3. I love Liz's advice, you are a daughter of God who has covenanted to follow his teachings--that in and of itself makes you among the greatest mother-material in the world. That you WANT to measure up and give your children what you didn't have is an even bigger booster seat.

    I've been a member my whole life, yet I have certain cultural stumbling blocks--one of which is the perfect mother syndrome which is exhausting, non-rewarding (because we are tasking and not enjoying) and unrealistic. We are women on our OWN journey, being a wife and mother is an opportunity to partner with God and Christ and find JOY. If we're worried only about measuring up, we won't enjoy the road.

    Don't panic, and don't think your own lack of parenting will become manifest in you--you're on a totally different role and it sounds like you were prepared for it long before you chose the gospel path.

    Beck's talk, for me, was a reminder of where I can find my greatest joy. Having 4 kids and a writing career and lots of dreams sometimes makes me resentful of the limitations being a mother and wife puts on me. Beck's talk reminded me to step back and not miss the years I'm in right now that I'll never have again.

    I think you're off to an amazing start!

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  4. liz said it perfectly. I have read many of the responses to Sister Beck's talk, and the common denominator for those who rejected it was quite simple. They misheard much of what she actually said AND they failed to see the connection (intentional, I have to believe) between Pres. Beck's talk and Elder Oak's talk.

    I really believe that it is impossible to understand hers without reading his - and I also believe it HAD to be a woman giving hers. If it had been a man . . .

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