Monday, April 19, 2010

What Manner of Women Ought Ye to Be?

Reylyn Checketts has kindly agreed to share her talk with us again here on our blog.

It is based an article by President Uchtdorf from the Sep 2009, Liahona, The Influence of Righteous Women.

It gives us the opportunity to reflect on the influence that righteous women have had in our own lives.

Righteous women in the scriptures
He  begins:
As we look at the history of this earth and the history of the restored Church of Jesus Christ, it becomes obvious that women hold a special place in our Father’s plan for the eternal happiness and well-being of His children. He mentions Eve, the mother of all living.
Sister Tiller gave a great lesson in Relief Society last Sunday about the Fall of Adam and Eve.
Whereas much of the world blames Eve for the world’s problems, latter-day scriptures help us understand that their Fall was a necessary step in the plan of life and a great blessing to all of us. Because of the Fall, we are blessed with physical bodies, the right to choose between good and evil, and the opportunity to gain eternal life. None of these privileges would have been ours had Adam and Eve remained in the garden.
Among other great influential women is Mary, the mother of Jesus who brought forth the Savior of the world. When the angel Gabriel came in unto her he said, “Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.”. Mary’s response to her call was this. “For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.”

The scriptures also mention women whose names are unknown to us but who bless our lives through their example and teachings. Women such as the woman of Samaria whom Jesus met at the well of Sychar. Also, Martha, Rebekah, Sarah and there are many others.

In Gospel Doctrine class last week, Sister Hall mentioned “the midwives” during the lesson about Moses. Knowing that I would be speaking this week on righteous women, that piqued my interest. I looked it up in the Exodus to read for myself and while reading, I was so impressed at the courage of these women. 

Womens nature to nurture
President Uchtdorf:
Through serving in the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary organizations—not to mention their private acts of love and service—women have always played and will always play an important part in helping “bring forth and establish the cause of Zion”.
They care for the poor and the sick; serve proselytizing, welfare, humanitarian, and other missions; teach children, youth, and adults; and contribute to the temporal and spiritual welfare of the Saints in many other ways.
It’s these qualities that made me think of another talk by President Uchtdorf that he gave in the most recent General Conference.

You will recall the story he told of the bombing of a city during World War II where a large statue of Jesus Christ was severely damaged. When the townspeople found the statue among the rubble, they mourned because it had been a beloved symbol of their faith and of God's presence in their lives.

Experts were able to repair most of the statue, but its hands had been damaged so severely that they could not be restored. Some suggested that they hire a sculptor to make new hands, but others wanted to leave it as it was—a permanent reminder of the tragedy of war.

Ultimately, the statue remained without hands. However, the people of the city added on the base of the statue of Jesus Christ a sign with these words: “You are my hands.”

When I heard that story, I thought of women.

It’s women’s nature to nurture. Great deeds are done by men, but, when I think of being “God’s hands,” I think of righteous women.

Even as He is
So, in answer to “What manner of  Man or Woman ought ye to be,” the answer is “to be even as He is, and do as He would do.”

To encourage women in this effort, President Uchtdorf says:
As you live up to this mission, in whatever life circumstance you find yourself—as a wife, as a mother, as a single mother, as a divorced woman, as a widowed or a single woman—the Lord our God will open up responsibilities and blessings far beyond your ability to imagine.
He adds:
May I invite you to rise to the great potential within you. [and here is where women need to listen because we have a tendency to beat ourselves up] 
. . . But  don’t reach beyond your capacity. Don’t set goals beyond your capacity to achieve. 
Don’t feel guilty or dwell on thoughts of failure. 
Don’t compare yourself with others. 
Do the best you can, and the Lord will provide the rest. 
Have faith and confidence in Him and you will see miracles happen in your life and the lives of your loved ones. 
The virtue of your own life will be a light to those who sit in darkness, because you are a living witness of the fullness of the gospel. 
Wherever you have been planted on this beautiful but often troubled earth of ours, you can be the one to “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.”
President Uchtdorf concludes, “My dear sisters, as you live your daily life with all its blessings and challenges, let me assure you that the Lord loves you. He knows you. He listens to your prayers, and He answers those prayers, wherever on this world you may be. He wants you to succeed in this life and in eternity.”

President Uchtdorf is much like President Hinckley in that he offers encouragement and makes us feel like we can do it. I love that.

Thanks Reylyn. We love that too.


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