Women of Righteousness: A Message from Sister Bednar

 Elder David A. Bednar and his wife, Sister Susan Bednar at a recent Face-to-Face event
image from lds.org

Tuesday night I had an incredible opportunity of listening to words of wisdom from Sister Susan Bednar, wife of Elder David A. Bednar (one of the great perks of being here at BYU-Idaho, I must say).  It is great to see the Brethren and their wives in more candid form than when we see them in General Conference.  At one point in the evening Sister Bednar made Elder Bednar laugh so hard he couldn't even speak for a minute.  It was darling!

Sister Bednar taught the female employees and wives of employees about what it means to be a righteous woman.  She shared beautiful and touching stories of the many women she has met in various parts of the world.

One poignant story was of women in Africa.  These women were not starving, but their meals were few and far between.  One woman made the statement, "It's only a fast when we have food and choose not to eat it."  Sister Bednar commented, "When we teach the principle that a fast is two consecutive meals.  Doing so may mean these women will not eat for a few days."

Such faith.  Such strength.  Such righteous women!

So what did Sister Bendar teach is the definition of a righteous woman?  (the questions below each point are my own)

Righteous Women Have Pure Hearts
What am I doing to fully support my husband? 
How am I instilling the love of missionary work in the hearts of my children?

Righteous Women Sacrifice
What do I  need to do to get my life in order so that when the Savior calls I can "leave my net?"  Even on the daily basis of following the Spirit, I need to be ready to be able to follow each prompting to help someone in need. 

Righteous Women are Converted to the Lord
Do my children feel safe bearing their testimonies?  
Do they sense my true conversion to the Lord? 

Righteous Women have Courage
Elder Bednar spoke of Sister Bednar's unshirking attitude when called upon to visit dangerous and disease-infested countries.  He said of her, "I don't think she even thought of not going when given the choice."  

Am I willing to go anywhere to follow the Savior? 

Righteous Women Keep the Sabbath Day Holy
How can I more fully keep this commandment close to my heart? 

In Closing Sister Bednar said, "Blessings come through our personal struggles" and she invited us to become "armed with righteousness."  It was so beautiful to hear her words and to be surrounded by other righteous women in that gathering last night.  Sister Bednar's comments led me to ask myself:

Are you a Righteous Woman? 

 - - - - - 

"And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth;  and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory."  (1 Nephi 14:14)


Sharing Time: The Words of Christ will tell you All Things what ye Should Do

I had so much fun planning sharing time for Primary this past week.  Our annual theme is "I Know the Scriptures are True."  When I was called (back) into primary I was a little less than thrilled.  I had just recently had this same calling and thought a little reprieve sounded nice.  But when I heard the theme for this year, I was so excited! This is one of my favorite topics of all and so I became eager to be a part of helping these young children learn the importance, value and love for the scriptures.

My first sharing time topic came from 2 Nephi 32:3 "Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what you should do (italics added)."  In my search for learning and teaching this particular phrase I came across this idea...and then adapted it!  In my studies I learned that just as the world gives us street signs to know where we are and where we are going, the Lord gives us "street signs" in the scriptures helping us to know how best to navigate our lives.  I had so much fun searching for the verses to match the signs.  This could make a great family home evening activity...

Proverbs 4:26-27
"Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil."

Joseph Smith-History 1:18-19
"I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.  I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong..." 

Isaiah 56:6-7
Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants...and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people."   

Jeremiah 32:39
And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them:" 

Ephesians 4:4-6
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 

Mosiah 3:19
For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.  

Doctrine & Covenants 9:13
Do this thing which I have commanded you, and you shall prosper. Be faithful, and yield to no temptation. 

3 Nephi 8:32
 Turn, all ye Gentiles, from your wicked ways; and repent of your evil doings, of your lyings and deceivings, and of your whoredoms, and of your secret abominations, and your idolatries, and of your murders, and your priestcrafts, and your envyings, and your strifes, and from all your wickedness and abominations, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, that ye may receive a remission of your sins, and be filled with the Holy Ghost, that ye may be numbered with my people who are of the house of Israel.  

1 Nephi 8:32 - The Story of the Iron Rod
And it came to pass that many were drowned in the depths of the fountain; and many were lost from his view, wandering in strange roads

Alma 36:6; 38:7 - The Story of Alma the Younger
For I went about with the sons of Mosiah, seeking to destroy the church of God; but behold, God sent his holy angel to stop us by the way....But behold, the Lord in his great mercy sent his angel to declare unto me that I must stop the work of destruction among his people; yea, and I have seen an angel face to face, and he spake with me, and his voice was as thunder, and it shook the whole earth. 

Doctrine & Covenants 5:33-34
And there are many that lie in wait to destroy thee from off the face of the earth; and for this cause, that thy days may be prolonged, I have given unto thee these commandments. Yea, for this cause I have said: Stop, and stand still until I command thee, and I will provide means whereby thou mayest accomplish the thing which I have commanded thee. 

Helaman 14:2
And behold, he said unto them: Behold, I give unto you a sign; for five years more cometh, and behold, then cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe on his name.   

2 Nephi 32:3
Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what you should do.

Alma 12:36
And now, my brethren, behold I say unto you, that if ye will harden your hearts ye shall not enter into the rest of the Lord; therefore your iniquity provoketh him that he sendeth down his wrath upon you as in the first provocation, yea, according to his word in the last provocation as well as the first, to the everlasting destruction of your souls; therefore, according to his word, unto the last death, as well as the first. 

James 1:19
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.

Doctrine & Covenants 136:35
And now cometh the day of their calamity, even the days of sorrow, like a woman that is taken in travail; and their sorrow shall be great unless they speedily repent, yea, very speedily.  

Matthew 2:13-14
And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt.

2 Nephi 5:5-6
And it came to pass that the Lord did warn me, that I, Nephi, should depart from them and flee into the wilderness, and all those who would go with me. Wherefore, it came to pass that I, Nephi, did take my family, and also Zoram and his family, and Sam, mine elder brother and his family, and Jacob and Joseph, my younger brethren, and also my sisters, and all those who would go with me.

Jacob 4:6-7
Wherefore, we search the prophets, and we have many revelations and the spirit of prophecy; and having all these witnesses we obtain a hope, and our faith becometh unshaken, insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea.  Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things. 

Ether 12:27
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. 

 - - - - - 

 "We will all face trials and have questions, but remember that we must be 'continually holidng fast to the rod of iron.'  'The words of Christ will tell [us] all things what [we] should do.'  We must make scripture study a daily part of our lives, as this will open doors of revelation."  
 - - Elder James B. Martino, Ensign, Nov. 2015 - - 


Motherhood is Where I'm Supposed to Be!

Oh. My. Goodness.  Time flies.  I just am not writing as much as I'd like to be.  Family life has been keeping me quite busy.  After a rough first week of the New Year (post-holiday blues, I guess) I sunk my feet in and began loving (again!) my role as a mother.  I do what mothers do best - - keep the family running.  ;-)  I still have some projects in my back pocket, but they are not at the forefront of my mind.

It's funny (embarrassing, really!) how I have to keep revisiting this principle:  Motherhood is where I'm supposed to be!  And it's even funnier how once I remember this one truth in my life, I'm a MUCH happier person (and mother!).  Sure, my house isn't perfectly clean, my desk is piled with papers, there are still dreams waiting to be fulfilled, and my to-do list is left without check marks...but these last couple of weeks I have felt a sense of fulfillment at the end of the day as I have focused on my family.

The Project
One thing that has really kept me from writing recently is a big project I'm working on for my daughter, Addie.  She has really struggled with reading the scriptures.  If she doesn't understand something right away, she will get overwhelmed and frustrated, losing any desire whatsoever to keep going.  Several months ago I asked her what I could do to help her.  She explained:

"I like it when there's, like, a few verses to read and then I have to answer a question based on those verses."

So, I went online to find a scripture journal for her.  There are some good options out there (the Red Headed Hostess study guide being the most awesome), but none of them seemed to be the right fit for her.  Either the journals didn't go chronologically or they were too busy/complicated for her needs.  She just wanted a simple:  Read this....Answer this...kind of format.

Well, for the last few months I've been thinking I should just make one for her.  When the New Year began, I thought, "You know what?  I haven't read the Book of Mormon all the way through in a little while, maybe it's time to do that again for one of my 2016 goals."  And thus began my journal-making process.

It is so fun and so addicting!  I finished 1 Nephi and had Addie try it out.  She LOVED it!  Her one complaint: "There's not enough writing room."  :-)  I'm hoping to start sharing it here on the blog for any other kiddos (or adults) out there how want a simple, focused study.  Of course, as I write the questions, I've got Addie on my mind.  What does she need to think about and learn?  AND, of course, I think about my own needs and insights when asking the questions.  However, I'm still hoping it will be universal enough to share and I have all sorts of other ideas flowing through my brain right now!  But these are all dream-stage thoughts.  I just wanted to share what I'm doing instead of blogging right now!  ;-)

Back to Motherhood
Anyway...going back to my first thought in this post... I'm realizing how this focus on a project for my daughter at the same time as working on my own spiritual growth is so awesome!  This project has completely allowed me to see (again!) what motherhood really means to me.  I think I've allowed myself to get wrapped up in the thought that I need to have MY time away from MOM time....but it is so much simpler (and more fulfilling) if we can just merge the two together. I love reading the scriptures and I love being a mom.  With this project I'm doing both!

Motherhood is a place where we have the opportunity to explore what gifts we've been given and then using those gifts to bless the lives of our children.

Motherhood is definitely a "lose yourself" kind of a work, but it doesn't have to be a place where we lose sense of who we are meant to be and what we are meant to do.

Motherhood is about living close to the Spirit and choosing what is most important each and every day...for you and your children.

I'm sure I'll be writing another post just like this one in a few years (or months!) as I am reminded once again which role is truly most important in my life.  Oh, that I might more fully treasure this gift of being a mother more consistently!

 - - - - - 

A woman who treasures motherhood on earth will treasure motherhood in the world to come, and “where [her] treasure is, there will [her] heart be also” (Matt. 6:21). By developing a mother heart, each girl and woman prepares for her divine, eternal mission of motherhood.  
- - Sister Julie B. Beck, April 2004 - - 


New Year Goals

2016 is going to be GREAT!!!!  
(because  I said so)

I am so determined to put these past two years behind me, to embrace where I am today and live hopefully toward the future.  It really is going to be a great year!

I'm not one to focus on one thing to work on.  I tend to want to fix everything all at once!  So, I make lists (lots of them all year long).  My new year list is no exception (I figure if it's long, I'll at least accomplish one):

1. No sugar.  No sugar at all, all year.  Honey doesn't count.  100% Maple syrup?  Haven't decided, but that will probably count on sugar.  My body is horribly inflamed and so I'm being compelled (for the third time at least) to make this change in my life (plus, I'm promised a get-away with my husband if I do it!)

2. Finish our Family Photo books.  Every since D came along...all mothers know this story.  Gonna get them done!

3. Keep a prayer journal.  This one was inspired by the movie War Room.  So good.  Definitely one to watch again...and again...and again.

4. Read 1 Newberry Award Winning book a month.  This one's been on my New Year's goal list the past couple of years, with no success.  I'm bound and determined to make it happen this year.

5. Work toward my own personal goals toward teaching and writing.  One step at a time...

6. Create a scripture journal for my children (one in particular).  I've looked at all the scripture journals available (i.e. Red Headed Hostess) and they just aren't the right style for my daughter.  So, I'm killing two birds goals with one stone:  Reading the Book of Mormon while created a journal for her to fill out.  I'm actually REALLY excited about this one (may be sharing in future posts).

7. Read The Soft-Spoken Parent with my hubby.  We could both use a refresher course on proactive parenthood as we enter the world of raising teenagers (and a 4 year old who thinks he rules the world!!!).

8. Write and/or send a note to someone each week.  Time to stop thinking of myself.  ;-)

That's a pretty good list, I think.  Not too impossible.  ;-)

I'm most excited about our family goals this year.  I think they are awesome!  We just have two:
1. Participate in a 5K together
2. Each find one family name to prepare for temple ordinances.

So there you have it from my world.  It's in writing and published for the masses...nothing like that to keep me committed!  It really is going to be a great year.  The Lord has been good to us, but I am ready for smaller mountains to climb (at least for a minute).
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