On the desktop of my ancient, barely functioning, needs-a-power-cord-plugged-in-to-work laptop, is a picture of Eric and I at a restaurant in Idaho Falls. We had decided to get married earlier that day, and our conversation that evening buzzed with excitement as we planned for our future.
My life since then has been wonderful. I love this man. Frankly, I can’t believe how well and how deeply he loves me in return. Just tonight, in fact, he came home with crunchy Cheetos and marshmallow Peeps. I instantly started crying at how kind and thoughtful he was. I’ll blame the pregnancy hormones for the enhanced display of emotion, but truthfully, that’s how I feel so often. Loved to a degree that leaves me speechless.
As we get closer to welcoming our daughter into our lives, I’ve become more and more reflective on the kind of life I want her to have. I want her challenges to define her the way they have defined me. I want her triumphs to outweigh the challenges, lighting her path for a strong sense of self-worth and an unyielding belief in herself. I can’t wait for her father to love her as perfectly as he loves me. I hope to be the mother she needs and the mother she deserves.
But mostly, if you were to ask me right at this moment in time, I want her to be kind. Compassionate. Patient. Faithful. To be more, Savior, like Thee. I feel that pressure already starting to mount as Eric and I prepare to make the daunting leap into parenthood.
And here’s why.
Lately, I’ve been noticing that the majority of the articles I see circulating on social media have been filled with comments of personal attacks. In most cases, sadly, it’s stranger against stranger, belittling and degrading one another behind proverbial masks of anonymity. I see it everywhere from local garage sale sites to news outlets to radical left or right-winged bloggers’ Facebook pages.
Tonight, I saw it on a link someone had shared for an article on Ordain Women. Curious, I read through the article. I felt differently than the author did on the subject matter (Sister Oscarson’s talk from the women’s session of General Conference). Looking through the comments, some agreed with the author, some didn’t.
And in the midst of the attacks to “convince” one side or the other of what is right, what is doctrine, what is their personal revelation, I took a deep breath and thought about the sweet daughter growing inside of me.
How is she going to navigate through this? I wondered.
My thoughts turned to Sister Bonnie Oscarson’s talk. She invited women in the church to defend the following:
- Marriage between a man and a woman.
- The divine roles of mothers and fathers.
- The sanctity of the home.
In my notes, I asked myself, “How can I better defend these?”
Naturally, my thoughts turned to writing. That seems to be the way I can best express my thoughts and feelings. And I hope that what I write shows my faith and my beliefs in the best way possible.
But I want it very clear. Defending my faith, values and beliefs does not come by tearing others’ down. In fact, more than once in my notes the words “love” and “compassion” appear. How can I call myself a disciple of Christ if I do not follow the counsel from His servants in the way He himself would live it. Christ was firm. He was unyielding. He didn’t make exceptions for people. He didn’t make excuses for lives that were not lived in harmony with his commandments.
“Go and sin no more,” was his command, in fact.
But before I start calling out the inconsistencies of humanity with His teachings, I have to look at the large gaps in myself. That will take a lifetime to mend and mold.
And I hope I can teach my daughter the same thing.
That before we go to work “fixing” other people, we try and fix ourselves.
That she can defend her beliefs and still be kind.
We believe in marriage between a man and a woman, I will tell her.
We believe that mothers and fathers each have divine roles – parts that God needs us to play for Him as we serve in His kingdom, I’ll teach her.
We believe that our home is a sacred, special place. A place where we want to be, a place we want the Savior to be, I’ll do my best to show her.
And when she meets someone who doesn’t feel the same way, I’ll teach her to love them. As purely and genuinely as the Savior did.
Because we are all children of God.
And as she one day begins to plan for a future of her own, I desperately want her to know this sacred truth.