To every single women in this congregation I want you to know I have prayed about this talk for weeks and pondered over what you needed to hear today. I hope the spirit is present in this room as I share some pieces of my heart with you. I wanted to make sure every woman here felt loved by their heavenly father today. Mothers day can be wonderful but I also know it can be tender for some. Were all at different stages in our life with different situations.. And thats why today I want to tell you some stories of how my moms influence and her teaching me about the atonement have made me a better woman and a mother. and hopefully you can interpret that into something that works personally for your own life. Lest any of you think I was asked to address this topic because I am the perfect, amazing, ideal mother (you know: the type who has her kid reading by 2 in 2 languages, has an immaculate house, makes homemade bread, always has perfect well-behaved children during sacrament meeting, and always has things under control) — I am sure if you think that.. my children would love to set you straight!
As a mother, I look to the examples of my own mom, brandons mom,my sisters and to many women I know, including those in this ward. I appreciate all of the help and insights I gain from these women. My trials and joys are different than yours, but I can learn from your examples of faith, dedication, and perseverance, and apply it to my own life in so many ways.
As I look back on valuable lessons I have learned…most have come from my own mom. She is undoubtedly the biggest beacon of strength I have ever met. Her life lets put it this way has been full of growing experiences. She has taught me a lot from her words but Id say even more from her example Today I'm going to share 5 stories and lessons Ive learned through my mom
Number 1…To work Hard put 100 percent into everything you do
My mom used to wake me up every saturday morning to do my saturday chores and when my inside chores were done. I had my outside chores to finish. Now you have to understand that my parents are big gardeners and we have only girls in our family besides my dad no big brothers to do manual labour And I am the oldest.…..Our entire yard is flower beds and intricate fence and a handmade creek through our yard all on slopes with a pond.. ITs one of the most beautiful places….but with that comes a ton of maintenance….and every saturday I had to get up and mow both lawns push the mower over the bridges up the hills by myself… I then has to weed the gardens for a couple hours and some days I had to stain the fence clean out the scum from the pond clean spiderwebs rake leaves ext….my mom would them come check my work. to make sure I had gotten the weeds out and had finished the edges of the lawn..and had moved all the patio furniture to mow under it around it….this task probably took me 3-4 hours every saturday..somedays even longer if we were staining the fence. She gave me a lot of responsibility and wanted to make sure the job was done well. I hated it. I whined I complained….I wrote nasty letters with my sister in my journal about how it wasn't fair and all the other kids were out playing soccer or in dance competitions while I was stuck doing yard work with my family……turn the clock forward…20 years later….I'm so grateful.. It taught me to work hard really hard.. and that in life sometimes there are projects that have to get done that are not fun….and the faster you get it done the faster you can play…And if you do it right the first time..you won't have to come back and maintain the problem.( aka pull weeds again) but I use this in other areas of my life. Sometimes having 3 kids 3 and under was hard I didn't want to do it anymore….but because my mom taught me how to work…. I was able to do my job and realize that my garden would be beautiful one day. Every mothers Day brandon buys me flowers for my yard to remind me that Im making nourishing my own spiritual garden… And when I see the flowers bloom it reminds me on the rough days that It will be worth it in the end. I Also look back now and think some of my best bonding experiences with my sisters happened while pulling weeds. So to my mom... I thank you for 6 am lawn mowing and yard work.
#2 To serve my community and realize we are all children of god even people who make mistakes.and that no one is perfect.
I remember one halloween some kids came around and took pumkpins and smashed them everywhere on our road in our neighbourhood… It was a lot of pumpkins..and it was totally gross. My mom woke us up I don't know whats up with her getting us up so early…but anyways… she handed us some gloves and said lets get to work….I was so angry... it wasn't fair…..I didn't make the mess.. In fact I was always one to follow the rules…why did we have to clean it up.. it felt like we were enabling them…. But she quietly reminded me.. that the savior loved them and everyone makes mistakes...and we still need to love....then my mom put on some wilson phllips in the van turned it up super loud and drove us down the road as we scrubbed pumpkin off sidewalks and neighbours doors…soon more people came out to help…and I learned something valuable that day…If you serve your community..its like a snowball affect..things keep rolling…and it feels good to be a part of something bigger and that with a positive attitude you can turn something not s fun into something fun. sometimes the work is far from glamorous…but it means something to someone…you can change your perspective on any task.
#3 To look for the good in things when its not so good
when I was in 9th grade I auditioned for the school musical.. it was basically my senior year in jr high I was finally the oldest and I thought I was a shoe in for the lead role. I looked the part. I'd had substantial rolls in the community theatre.. Id sang the national anthem for a jazz game.. Id had vocal training dance training. Id worked so hard to get that part. I went to auditions.. did amazing... sang beautifully danced well….got to call backs did amazing their too… and the next week I waited patiently for the cast list to come out… I saw the list… I was cast as the part of the funny mom… not the cool daughter… I was devastated I cried for days and days and days. My mom finally pulled me aside and said Bree you were given this part for a reason buck up…they thought you could do it the best… not the young girl...so go make it the best played character on that stage. I'm grateful she was honest with me. After accepting it thanks to my mom... We went and shopped for my crazy costumes together.. and what I thought was something horrible turned out to be something amazing. And I loved playing the funny role and I made new friends I probablly wouldn't have other wise close friends who I basically went through highschool with. It taught me to play a different character….and my mom still says to this day it was her favourite part Ive ever played. She made me look for the good things in all kinds of situations. And I'm grateful it helped me be an optimist.
# 4 to look for the saviours love in every day things..
When simple blessings would come into my life my mom would always say.. you know heavenly father blessed you with that.. arn't you lucky. Shed pray after immediate blessings and that was such an example to me that the saviour is a daily part of my life If I felt protected or I did well on a test or something happy happened that day.. she accredited it to my heavenly father. It truly helped me to have a relationship with my father in heaven and reminded me to thank him. It also reminds me now that even the simplest things I can do to teach my kids about the gospel will somehow impact them. There are some weeks when I do fhe ( family home evening) -aka teaching my kids about good qualities they should have as human beings and more about the gospel we live... I wonder if anything gets through…But then I think about this quote and I know I have love and help from the other side… I just love this quote from jeffry r holland
Mothers.. In the gospel of Jesus Christ you have help from both sides of the veil, and you must never forget that. "When disappointment and discouragement strike—and they will—you remember and never forget that if our eyes could be opened we would see horses and chariots of fire as far as the eye can see riding at reckless speed to come to our protection. They will always be there, these armies of heaven- Jeffry R Holland."The saviours love for us is always near thank you for teaching that to me mom.
#5 she taught me about the atonement
When I was in 3d grade my baby sister sirelle got sick- she stopped walking and her muscles got weak.. My parents tried everything to find out what was wrong with her.. flew in specialists from india ect. I remember us having a family prayer after a year at primary children's hospital…and my mom and dad asking for what was best for siri to happen.. a week later They found out that she had a terminal disease… a rare form of ms in kids. She passed away a week later…It was heartbreaking for our family of 4 girls... 5 years later My parents got pregnant again even after surgery my mom had to prevent her from having another child with a terminal illness because it was genetic. We had another sister come to our family named tayiah she was a miracle. around nine months old she started to show the same symptoms…. But this time there was a peace and my mom already knew what she needed to do.. We once again had a family meeting where we talked about what it meant to let go and leave it to heavenly father. She was diagnosed way earlier than my other sister..because we knew what was happening….but in this we also got 2 years of sweet memories not spent in a hospital…she also passed away at the age of 3. Going through death twice in our family was really hard..but through this it made our family stronger more united and taught me and my sisters and parents about the atonement. That the lord gives us pain so we can grow and have empathy... fast forward 10 years later…..
As a young 21 year old. I found out I was pregnant with twins. After being married for 3 years. To my very best friend and traveling around the world with him.. i was so happy. Everything was blissfully happy. I didn't think I could be any happier.. and then our daughter was born 2 years later…I felt so full of joy.. I thought my heart would explode. I remember sitting in my room one day folding laundry when the distinct impression came upon me. More like someone was directly talking to me. Bree somethings coming.. stay close to me. It disturbed me for a couple days…but I went about my business. Slowly throughout the summer, I saw one of my twins Harrison.. not responding as well to his name anymore. I ignored it thinking oh he's just a boy he's busy playing. Plus my life was already chaotic with 2 year old twins and a newborn. But things started to get worse…he lost words…and I started to get worried. I took him to our family doctor who said.. no it's nothing don't worry. So I went home.. But still had this nagging mom feeling to take him somewhere else.. So I did.. and was referred to an ent to test his hearing…hearing tests came back normal….I remember that day my heart sunk….I knew something was up. I remembered my mom praying when my sisters were sick that she wanted his will to happen…It kept nagging at me that I should follow her example..but i didn't want to.... praying to the lord and letting go of the situation was something i did not want to do. My heart was so full of worry I could hardly sleep. I didn't want to give up that control I felt I had on the situation. It was the hardest prayer I have ever had to say to my heavenly father it was probably a couple hours I spent crying on my knees…But in the end of me trying to negotiate beg plead for my sons well being the soft voice of my mom over my sick sisters bed came back to me that said bree you've got to let it go. Leave it to the saviour. I eventually through heartfelt sobs told him he had control and whatever was best for our family that I trusted him. We were referred to a psychologist the next day. I just remember thinking..they can't fix your brain….and my perfect pretty rose coloured optimist world came crashing down. Ive tried to be an optimist my entire life and it felt like I couldn't do it anymore. I remember the day so clearly. Brandon held my hand as we walked into the office. I still remember what it smells like. We sat in the cold hard chairs. My heart was pounding out of my chest…Our psychologist came in and said…what you thought your son has is correct. The tests came back positive for asd. Or High Functioning autism. I felt like someone punched me in the gut and I just stared at the wall as she spoke to me…and I didn't hear a word..all i could think was..hell never get married….he'll never ride a bike…he'll never go on a mission….he'll never be able to go to disneyland. What about his twin brother..the relationship I had perfectly planned in my head for him. I'm glad Brandon was with me because I don't remember a word she said after she said the word autism. From the beginning Brandon knew it would be fine he didnt worry He loved Harrison and that was all that mattered to him... we both went through something completely different and that was hard..The next couple weeks were overwhelming. I remember laying in the bathtub sobbing asking heavenly father to let me die. Because I just felt like my heart was breaking. I now realize it was for my own selfish reasons. I had the pretty picture in my head of what life was supposed to be like. I felt like I had been righteous my entire life. I had already in my short time on earth felt like I had personally gone through a lot, including the deaths of my 2 sisters and with that.. the stress making my body have ocd and tritriclomania. A condition I have that makes me loose my hair. I felt like I knew what the atonement was and I knew the plan of salvation and it had gotten me through those things in my life already. Hadnt I already been tested enough? But this trial was on a whole new level. Maybe I felt entitled to a break from hard things. I spent that year after his diagnosis trying to figure out our new normal. We had therapists in our house 5 days a week for hours upon hours... I was sad and depressed and very overwhelmed. And I felt to the depths that my soul could feel. I prayed... I prayed harder than I ever had ….to understand what the purpose of this happening in my life was and to have a day where I didn't wake up overwhelmed with emotions. I tried to get through each day and just hurt so much. Until one night I couldn't take it anymore I asked brandon for a blessing…. I wanted to be ok I wanted to fight I just didnt know how. And the same words that I had heard that day came back to me through this blessing… stay close to me…and let it go…. Harrison has autism and he will the rest of his liife.. you cant change that...but you can work hard...and heavenly father will use him as an instrument to share your testimony.May you have the strength to learn what you need to learn to help your son. After that blessing. I still felt overwhelmed but I realized I had the saviour I had the atonement I could ask for help for anything… from one who personally felt my most enormous heartache by my side. I also had those soft words from my mother to let it go and remember who's the one in control. I started to ask for help from my saviour every morning..something I had forgotten to do amidst this perfect life i was trying to create. And most of all I started to look at life with an eternal perspective… I tried to remember what was important that day….even if harrison had a melt down in therapy…. did we smile and love today….did we remember the lord….and if we did those two things…I knew we were ok….
. I've told my mom how amazing her words had been in my darkest hour. ANd how her most heart wrenching trial helped me during mine. I know she already understands why it happened to our family.. But I think it made her grateful that her own trial had helped me though mine. And thats why I think its so important to share our testimonies with each other. Thats how we learn and grow closer to the lord. I sometimes look back at myself 3 years ago and realize I probably wasn't doing all the things I needed to be doing to stay close to the saviour. I needed to be humble. I had lost a close personal relationship with him not that It was huge But I hadn't been reading my scriptures I hadn't been praying regularly….and through my marvellous tender son. My soul has changed. I needed autism in my life. To have more love to judge less to have more patience.. And I now look at my little family… and you know what … it's perfect…..And Harrison has changed my heart as well as countless others. He helped me realize that were all here just trying to endure to our end..and when we get to our end thats when we need to ask for the saviour.We need to realize sometimes he doesn't open the doors of heaven to answer our problems in our timing...even "with" our strongest faith.. But he will do it when it's best for you... when it will yield the best rewards…. I feel that about a year ago Harrison started to make huge progress. His early intervention has been instrumental in helping him. He's grown so much and learned so much and I know my saviour was there to help me help him get to that point. And next year he;ll be in a typical school program, he's learned to ride a bike, he has immense relationships with his twin his sister both brandon and I his cousin Jett and extended family as wel as teachers aides ect. Ive grown with him but we had to work really hard for a couple years.... Our character grows when you struggle for a while.. so say to yourself what can you do to grow until your prayers are answered I'll liken this experience for me to a segway. If any of you have ever been on one you'll know that if you are perfectly balanced you don't move anywhere but when you lean and stumble a little thats when the segway moves forward.IN closing I thought these words from elder holland described my thoughts perfectly...
When you have come to the Lord in meekness and lowliness of heart and, as one mother said, “pounded on the doors of heaven to ask for, to plead for, to demand guidance and wisdom and help for this wondrous task,” that door is thrown open to provide you the influence and the help of all eternity. Claim the promises of the Savior of the world. Ask for the healing balm of the Atonement for whatever may be troubling you or your children. Know that in faith things will be made right in spite of you, or more correctly, because of you. Rely on Him. Rely on Him heavily. Rely on Him forever. And “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope.” 11You are doing God’s work. You are doing it wonderfully well. He is blessing you and He will bless you, even—no, especially—when your days and your nights may be the most challenging. Like the woman who anonymously, meekly, perhaps even with hesitation and some embarrassment, fought her way through the crowd just to touch the hem of the Master’s garment, so Christ will say to the women who worry and wonder and sometimes weep over their responsibility as mothers, “Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole.” 12 And it will make your children whole as well.in the name if jesus christ amen