Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke on this topic in the October 2015 General Conference. I was completely immersed in his words because he sounded as though he had some personal experience with mothers who did not feel appreciated. I knew then I wanted to share them with my readers for Mother’s Day!
“Bear, borne, carry, deliver. These are powerful, heartening messianic words. They convey help and hope for safe movement from where we are to where we need to be – but cannot get without assistance. These words also connote burden, struggle, and fatigue – words most appropriate in describing the mission of Him who, at unspeakable cost, lifts us up when we have fallen, carries us forward when strength is gone, delivers us safely home when safety seems far beyond our reach. `My Father sent me,’ He said, `that I might be lifted up upon the cross; … that as I have been lifted up … even so should men be lifted up … to … me’ [3 Nephi 27:14].
“But can you hear in this language another arena of human endeavor in which we use words like bear and borne, carry and lift, labor and deliver? As Jesus said to John while in the very act of Atonement, so He says to us all, `Behold thy mother!’ [John 19:27].
“Today I declare from this pulpit what has been said here before: that no love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child. When Isaiah, speaking messianically, wanted to convey Jehovah’s love, he invoked the image of a mother’s devotion. `Can a woman forget her sucking child?’ he asks. How absurd, he implies, though not as absurd as thinking Christ will ever forget us. [See Isaiah 49:15.]
“This kind of resolute love `suffereth long, and is kind, … seeketh not her own, … but … beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things’ [Moroni 7:45; see also 1 Corinthians 13:4-7]. Most encouraging of all, such fidelity `never faileth’ [Moroni 7:46; see also 1 Corinthians 13:8]. For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed,’ Jehovah said, `but my kindness shall not depart form thee’ [3 Nephi 22:10; see also Isaiah 54:10]. So too say our mothers.
“You see, it is not only that they bear us, but they continue bearing with us. It is not only the prenatal carrying but the lifelong carrying that makes mothering such a staggering feat. Of course, there are heartbreaking exceptions, but most mothers know intuitively, instinctively that this is a sacred trust of the highest order. The weight of that realization, especially on your maternal shoulders, can be very daunting.”
Elder Holland shared a letter from a young mother and “three experiences reflecting the majestic influence of mothers, witnessed in my ministry in just the past few weeks….” He concluded his talk with these words:
“To all of our mothers everywhere, past, present, or future, I say, `Thank you. Thank you for giving birth, for shaping souls, for forming character, and for demonstrating the pure love of Christ.’ To Mother Eve, to Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel, to Mary of Nazareth, and to a Mother in Heaven, I say, `Thank you for your crucial role in fulfilling the purposes of eternity.’ To all mothers in every circumstance, including those who struggle – and all will – I say, `Be peaceful. Believe in God and yourself. You are doing better than you think you are. In fact, you are saviors on Mount Zion. [See Obadiah 1:21.] and like the Master you follow, your love “never faileth.” [See Moroni 7:46; see also 1 Corinthians 13:8.]’ I can pay no higher tribute to anyone.”
Mother’s Day is often difficult for women. It is difficult for some women because they do not have any children. It is difficult for other women because they feel like failures – some even though their children are still young. The calling of motherhood is an eternal calling. Although the tasks of mothers are difficult and sometimes heartbreaking, there is so much more joy to being a mother. Mothers can find joy all along the journey as a mother, and they will find the most joy as they are surrounded by their children in this life and for all eternity.
I wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all women, whether or not you have actually given birth or adopted a child. You act as a mother to people all around you, and you deserve honor. Happy Mother’s Day!