However, a couple of months ago my dear R and I were asked to speak in church ... no big deal right ... happens every time you move into a new ward ... but what killed me this time was the topic I was asked to speak on ... I mean ... I won't say more ... I will let you read it ... but I think it speaks to the relationship that I have with my wonderful and gracious Heavenly Father. He knows me. He knows what I am thinking and what I need to work on ... and he likes to remind me constantly ... in very amusing ways ... yea ...
Please enjoy my talk where I publically get told by Heavenly Father ... through my own voice ... how I should be behaving towards E and towards the idea of having more children:
"Good afternoon brothers and sisters. I am Amy Combe, daughter and current house resident of Brother and Sister Schmucker, married to Ryan Combe who is here on the stand with me and mother to the beautiful five year old Emma. Ryan and I just moved here about two months ago and will live with my parents for about a year and a half while getting settled. We moved from Logan, UT where both Ryan and I got degrees from Utah State University. Ryan currently works downtown at Frost Bank doing something in IT and I am a stay at home mom.
When I was first assigned this topic of having a mothers heart I was completely baffled. I laughed inside my head (and quite possibly out loud), good one heavenly father, your jocular attitude slays me, first nursery now this, you know I struggle with this topic the most, why would you have me speak on it. Later on this past week a conference talk was brought to my attention, it had nothing to do with having a mother heart, it had everything to do with being teachable. I see what is happening here, I am supposed to be learning something not teaching something, oh Heavenly Father, you got me again. And so I set out to educate myself, I apologize if this talk is a little heavy on the quotes side, I still have a lot to learn.
For those of you who know and those of you who don't, that beautiful red head little girl who sits with us is my step-daughter, she is the beautiful creation of Ryan and I am just blessed to be in her life. However, there is a learning curve to this whole motherhood thing, one that all of my years of babysitting and working in kids cluds never taught me. I never knew how difficult it was just to contrive a mother heart. I thought it just came naturally when it happened, hey, heres the baby, heres your mother heart. But as I read through the talk given by sister Beck I learned that a mother heart is not just the heart of a woman who has kids, it is so much more than that. In fact, a mother heart can be aqquired long before one has kids. She says:
"Every girl and woman who makes and keeps sacred covenants can have a mother heart ... A woman with a mother heart has a testimony of the restored gospel, and she teaches the principles of the gospel without equivocation. She is keeping sacred covenants made in holy temples. Her talents and skills are shared unselfishly. She gains as much education as her circumstances will allow, improving her mind and spirit with the desire to teach what she learns to the generations who follow her."
What sister Beck does here is list for us what it will take to expand our hearts to become mother hearts before the kiddos come. We must
- Make and keep sacred covenants
- Have a testimony
- Teach the gospel
- Keep covenants made in the temple
- Share talents
- Be unselfish
- Gain education and share it
25 Strength and honour are her
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of
Basically, we can add to our list:
- Strong (not just physical, but spiritual and emotional)
This remided me of the time, or current time, when Emma and I struggled to get along, I believed I wasn't ready to be a mother and she believed she wanted to be else where. In order to combat those feelings we have emersed ourselves in the Lord. Praying in the morning together, reading scriptures at night, having family prayer, only listening to primary music. I don't know if these things have helped Emma as much as they have helped me, but I have realized that doing these things, has helped me to slowly aquire, through my ever rebellious ways, my mother heart. I still have a long way to go, but progress is progress.
When aquiring the other aspects of a mother heart those are they that need to be worked on with dilligence every single day. While preparing for my talk I decided to invite the spirit in by watching the Mormon Messages, ones particularly on mothering. I stubbled upon the story of Stephanie Neilson, Her husband and she were in a plane crash in 2008, both survived, but over 80% of Stephanies body was burned, they had four young children at that time ... I knew she had a blog, so I looked it up. From there I was lost for the following two hours. I poured over the stories of this woman who was grappeling for so long to get back to being the woman and mother she was before the accident. I read over the stories where her children first came to see her after five months of being in the hospital (three of which spent in a coma). They no longer knew her, they were frightened, they didn't want to see her. I can only imagine the pain beyond the physical that this woman felt from her children not recognizing her. Day by day, hour by hour, this family picked up the pieces of their shattered existance. Through Stephanies continued decision to be hopeful, faithful, and joyful her children came to realize that this was their mother, When reconnecting with her youngest son, it took one night, seven months after the crash, she said "it was as if his soul finally just knew". I know that it was her mother heart that spoke to him, her boundless effort to be kind, happy, strong, and unselfish as she faced the everyday drugdery. It is important to use the example of Sister Neilson when working towards aquiring the other aspects of a mother heart, no matter what trial is thrown at you choosing to be better everyday in everyway is essential.
Once we aquire the bare bones of what it means to have a mother heart, I can only imagine the exponential growth that takes place when having children. Sister Beck helps us to understand what further must happen when we do have children by telling us this:
"she is a “goodly parent” who lives and teaches standards of behavior exactly in line with the teachings of living prophets. She teaches her “children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord”. Rather than listening to the voices and partial truths of the world, she knows that gospel standards are based on eternal, unchangeable truths. She believes that to be “primarily responsible for the nurture of [her] children” is a vital, dignified, and “sacred responsibilit[y]”. To nurture and feed them physically is as much an honor as to nurture and feed them spiritually. She is “not weary in well-doing” and delights to serve her family, because she knows that “out of small things proceedeth that which is great”
Out of this, we can make another list as to what a mother heart entails:
- A goodly parent
- lives and teaches good and rightoues behaviors
- Again, has a testimony (I'm beinging to thing that is key)
- Provides physical needs
- Provides spiritual needs
I draw upon the example of my own mother, we moved a lot while growing up and although it was not easy on my mom to leave her own friends and her own routines, she was able to become the rock of our family as we traveled the country. Sacrificing her on discomfort and longing to stay in bed in order to ensure the comfort of my siblings and I. On top of that when all but jordan had moved out and on with our lives Mom used her mother heart to help the young women of the church, becoming self-sacrificing with her time and her talents, providing spiritual nurturing to the young women of the stake. While continuing to care for my brother and the ever constant calls from my sister and I. And now, just as she is released from Young Womens, Jordan has grown and has a life all his own, She has opened her arms once again. Allowing me and my small family to live in her space, giving my five year old comfort by allowing her to live, and practically destroy, her newly remodled office. She may not think that she ever did much, but I assure you she did, and still does so much more than she will ever know, and if I could grow to be half as good a mom as she was I know my child and children will be blessed.
Some of the things on these lists that we made may come easy to some, more difficult to others, but either way as we all strive for a mother heart we will be blessed Sister Beck mirrors these notions when she says:
"As they keep their covenants, they are investing in a grand, prestigious future because they know that “they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever"
"the influence of righteous, conscientious, persistent, daily mothering is far more lasting, far more powerful, far more influential than any earthly position or institution invented by man. She has the vision that, if worthy, she has the potential to be blessed as Rebekah of old to be “the mother of thousands of millions"
"There is no limit to what a woman with a mother heart can accomplish. Righteous women have changed the course of history and will continue to do so, and their influence will spread and grow exponentially throughout the eternities. How grateful I am to the Lord for trusting women with the divine mission of motherhood. Like Mother Eve I am “glad” to know these things."
I know that no matter how much I struggle with the idea of a mother heart, if I work towards it everyday I will be blessed by Heavenly Father and the blessings will be enormous, like that of Rebekah. I know that Heavenly Father will help us to accomplish these goals if that is what we desire, he will be there to help us and guide us as we work hard. I know that even with all the hard work and the self sacrifice and the constant sharing of knowledge, having a mother heart is one of the greatest accomplishments that we can have on this earth, wether we have children or not. A mother heart will help us to be better people in general, and specifically it will help us help other people, we will learn how to love as Christ loved, which is basically what he wants for us.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."