Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mother's Day

I was asked to give a talk in Relief Society on Sunday. It was a busy day and a wonderful day!!

By Marci Oleszkiewicz
      My dearest sisters, it is such a privilege to be able to speak to you this day. I have prayed that the spirit will direct me in what I should say and that we can be edified together.
      In the Book of Matthew Chapter 12: 46-50, it says, "While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his breathren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
     There can be no doubt of the love Jesus felt for His mother. His first miracle to turn water into wine was at the request of His beloved mother. From the Liahona (March 2015), “ Jesus Christ said, “Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come” (John 2:4). In Joseph Smith’s inspired rendering of this verse, the Savior asks Mary what she wants Him to do and promises to do it. The title woman may sound harsh and disrespectful to a modern reader; however, its use here by the Savior was likely meant to convey the opposite meaning. One scholar explains, “‘Woman,’ or, rather, ‘Lady,’ is in Greek a title of respect, used even in addressing queens.” It was as though He said to His mother, “My lady, whatsoever you ask of me in faith, I will grant it unto you.” Of the very few words He spoke dying on the cross, one matter was that of making sure His mother was taken care of. How can the Savior have spoken of others and compared them to His very own mother?
      And yet, "He seeth not as a man seeth." [1]. So often it is easiest to love those closest to us. Yet the Savior of man gave His life for not just his mother, earthly father and brethren, He gave it for all. There is an eternal family and we can be part of it with Heavenly Father at the head. How does it make you feel to hear the words of our Lord Himself as He says that whosoever will do the will of The Father is the same as the chosen and blessed Mary herself? A virgin most beautiful and fair above all others[2]… “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
     Today is a day to honor mothers. What a glorious gift and opportunity! We all have different backgrounds. We all have different experiences. Whatever our current circumstance is, Elder Ballard in April 2010 conference said, “all women have within their divine nature both the inherent talent and the stewardship to mother…”[3] Today I’d like to remind us that whatever situation we find ourselves in, we are women of faith. We are disciples of Christ.  We have a divine spark inside us. (I was getting teary eyed at this point, so I eloquently added in: Actually, you aren’t sparks, you’re flamers. Giant bonfires lighting me daily. Because who doesn’t want to be called a flamer on Mother’s Day, right?)
     President Joseph F. Smith said: “It is not for you to be led by the women of the world; it is for you to lead the … women of the world, in everything that is praise-worthy, everything that is God-like, everything that is uplifting and … purifying to the children of men” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith [1998], 184).
     What are we doing in our lives to help with the uplifting and purifying of the children of men? How are we aligning our lives and choices with the will of The Father? Again I quote Elder Ballard, “There is nothing in this world as personal, as nurturing, or as life changing as the influence of a righteous woman.”
     When I was in 6th grade it was the Renaissance fair at school. I wanted a costume that would be unique and stand out. My mother and I spent a lot of time on it, her more so than me. We've never been good at sewing. She took me to the copy shop, the fabric shop... to this day if you were to ask anyone about that fair, my costume would be the thing that they remembered! I was a full fledged dragon with a 3 foot head, gold shimmering neck, and huge faux-leather body.
       My Yaya is my get out of jail free card. She has helped me and given me so much, in fact our air conditioning just broke and she was the one who made it so I didn’t have to worry in the slightest. I was in an MRI machine and her words were what gave me comfort…. She told me of the many times she was in an MRI for 3 different brain tumors… just pray. Say your prayers and it will pass by. I said my prayers, and it did.
      We have the example of many righteous women around us. Their sacrifice, their devotion, their endurance. I could easily tell you many stories of those sitting right here and all they have done to inspire me to be a better person. You all are a reflection of Christ. We are to lead the women of the world. We are to uplift and strengthen. On this day, let us celebrate what is in each woman… goodness. Love!!! Let us commit ourselves to choosing what is right. To making and keeping covenants. To praying to know what God would have us do, then doing it. Ralph Waldo Emerson is believed to have said, “What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say” (see Ralph Keyes, The Quote Verifier [2006], 56).
    I’m so very grateful for my children. They will be singing We’ll bring the World His truth. As is mentioned in the song, the armies of Helaman were taught in their youth. Alma 56: 47-48 says, “Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.  And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.”  
            Let us be women of strong faith. Women who are true disciples of Christ. I want my daughters to know that I do not doubt.  I bear my testimony that I know God lives. He will be there for us in our greatest triumphs and our darkest moments. He loves us dearly. He is mindful of us and His angels are with us at this very moment keeping watch.  I know He has a plan for each of us. I know that He gave His Only Begotten as a sacrifice for all, that all might return to Him. I know that Jesus Christ is our very best friend. I bear testimony that we have a sacred responsibility to stand as witnesses of our Savior. I know that each woman is a beloved daughter of God, and as such has great power to do brilliant things in this life and in the next to come.
     In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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