Do We Find Joy in Womanhood?

As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of one of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.
Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.

Joy is the reason we are here. According to 2 Nephi 2:25, “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” We are here on this earth to have the joy that God promised the faithful, before we came. We can have great joy in this life, if we live in a way to be able to recognize and receive it. As women, I think we spend a lot of our lives getting down on ourselves. We think a lot about all the things we should have done, but didn’t get finished. We focus a lot on our flaws and the things that make us so far from perfection. It seems to be a common part of the female characteristics within us. We may be willing to forgive others, but we find it extremely difficult to forgive ourselves. If we spend so much of our time focusing on the perceived failures, flaws and imperfections in ourselves, we cannot possibly recognize the joy that our lives have to offer us, or rather that God has to offer us because of the good we are and do.

Womanhood is a blessing. President Gordon B. Hinckley said the following:

“Woman is God’s supreme creation. Only after the earth had been formed, after the day had been separated from the night, after the waters had been divided from the land, after vegetation and animal life had been created, and after man had been placed on the earth, was woman created; and only then was the work pronounced complete and good.

“Of all the creations of the Almighty, there is none more beautiful, none more inspiring than a lovely daughter of God who walks in virtue with an understanding of why she should do so, who honors and respects her body as a thing sacred and divine, who cultivates her mind and constantly enlarges the horizon of her understanding, who nurtures her spirit with everlasting truth.” (“Our Responsibility to Our Young Women,” Ensign, Sept. 1988, 11.)

He may have been talking to the young women in saying this, but the thought is true for all women. To find the joy in womanhood, we need to first recognize what the natural and divine characteristics of women are, otherwise called our divine nature. We can find these qualities as we live in a way that is virtuous, honor our bodies, cultivate our minds, enlarge our understanding, and nurture our spirits.

There are qualities that are inhierantly different for men and women and therefore are part of what we should celebrate in womanhood. In “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” it says the following about one of those qualities:

By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.

Men are divinely created to be the providers and protectors and they have the qualities that make them good at this. Women are divinely created to be nurturers. Not just to our children, but to all people. We have the qualities within us to make us great at this. As women, I believe we are blessed with the ability to draw close to the Lord with greater ease than men. We are more in tune with things of the spirit. Because of this, we tend towards the more gentle side of things. We have the ability to be more forgiving, loving, kind, and charitable. These nurturing qualities should be praised and never pushed aside for the things of the world.

We have been blessed with the amazing ability to bear children, which is nothing short of a miracle. President Spencer W. Kimball said the following:

Mothers have a sacred role. They are partners with God, as well as with their own husbands, first in giving birth to the Lord’s spirit children and then in rearing those children so they will serve the Lord and keep his commandments. Could there be a more sacred trust than to be a trustee for honorable, well-born, well-developed children? (“The Blessings and Responsibilities of Womanhood,” Ensign, Mar. 1976.)

As mothers, we have the power within us to be extremely influential. Our children look to us for care, learning, guidance and direction. I cannot count the number of times when I have heard grown men and women talk about the amazing influence of their mothers. Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve once said the following:

. . . women are the compassionate, self-sacrificing, loving power that binds together the human family. (“The Sanctity of Womanhood,” General Conference Address, April 2000)

Families need these wonderful qualities of a woman to keep them together. I believe that this is why a mother is part of the eternal design of families.

Moreover, our husbands depend on our nurturing care for support and strength. I believe that most great men are where they are because of the support of great women. They may not always realize it, but they need us just as we need them. In 1 Corinthians 11 we can read the following:

11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.

Together, men and women are able to receive all the blessings that God has in store for us. Our role in that partnership as women, cannot be replaced. One of the first things we read in the bible has to do with this relationship in mortality. In Genesis 2:24 we read, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” We become first to our husband, who leave their families to be in union with us. If this relationship is treated properly, we should be able to find great joy in our part of it as women.

To find joy in womanhood, I love to read and listen to the words of the general authorities to us as women. They have the amazing ability to build us up and give us the guidance we need. In 1978, President Spencer W. Kimball was quoted as saying, “Each of you should be grateful to be a woman! … To be a righteous woman is a glorious thing in any age. To be a righteous woman during the winding up scenes on this earth, before the second coming of our Savior, is an especially noble calling. The righteous woman’s strength and influence today can be tenfold what it might be in more tranquil times” (“Privileges and Responsibilities of Sisters,” Ensign, Nov. 1978, 103). I know that this is true even today. We live in a world that is challenging and has evil around every corner. Our amazing influence as women can touch our family members whether we are married or not, have children or not, or even if our family is not near us now. Our influence reaches those we work with, go to school or church with, and even those we pass on the streets each day. I know that if we seek to find more joy in womanhood, we will have a greater desire to do good. I hope that I can remember to rejoice in my own womanhood and use my divine qualities to be a greater influence for good in the lives of those around me.

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About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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