Nine years ago I was a mother of five young children ages 12, 11, 8, 4, and 2. Some days I felt like I was swimming (or drowning) in the sea of insanity, so anytime I had the opportunity to be with grownups and talk about big girl things it was a good day. On one such occasion a few friends invited me to attend the April 2010 Women’s Conference at BYU in Provo, UT. You can imagine my excitement when I realized that the closing speaker was going to be one of my favorite speakers and role models, president of the General Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Sister Julie B. Beck. It had been a weekend full of great speakers, ideas, laughing and friendship. I had gotten good ideas and skills for personal growth and felt rejuvenated to go home, implement and start swimming again. With pen in hand, I set myself to be taught in this final inspirational moment. Something powerful ignited inside of me and I knew I would never be the same when she said these words:
“I have said lately that women are like lionesses at the gate of the home. Whatever happens in that home and family happens because she cares about it and it matters to her. She guards that gate, and things matter to that family if they matter to her. For example, if the lioness at the gate believes in the law of tithing, tithing will be paid in that family. If that family has a humble little portion of ten pesos coming in, that lioness will safeguard the one peso if tithing is important to her. If that lioness at the gate knows about renewing her baptismal covenants with God, she will be in sacrament meeting on Sunday, and she will prepare her children to be there. They will be washed, cleaned, combed, and taught about that meeting and what happens there. It isn’t a casual event, but it is serious to her, and it will be serious to them. The lioness at the gate ensures that temple worship is taken care of in the family. She encourages that participation. She cares about seeking after her ancestors. If the lioness at the gate knows about and understands missions, missionaries, and the mission of the house of Israel, she will prepare future missionaries to go out from that home. It is very difficult to get a lion cub away from a lioness who doesn’t believe in missions, but if the lioness believes in a mission, she will devote her life to preparing the cub to go out and serve the Lord. That’s how important she is. Service happens if she cares about it. Sisters, you are each like the lioness at the gate. This means that there has to be some prioritizing. I was taught years ago that when our priorities are out of order, we lose power. If we need power and influence to carry out our mission, then our priorities have to be straight.”
Bam, Pow, Bang, and just like that my future “womaning” from that moment on was figuratively cast into an iron-clad lioness mold. The future was clear and I knew that all of the efforts I had been giving and would need to give would be worth the eternal investment. Home and family are a BIG deal and it was time for me to rise up, do my duty, and be intentionally BOLD about doing it!
The last 9 years definitely haven’t always been easy. In fact, many days have been downright overwhelming and discouraging, but with my lioness-fighting heart I haven’t given up this fight I started 9 years ago. You see, I have come to understand that being perfect at trying to do all of the good things above and exercising faith in Jesus Christ and not outcomes is what keeps me and my family (immediate and extended) prospering in the land. That is how we can keep power and priorities straight.
Will you come and roar with me?