Montserrat Ventura Wadsworth, I honor you for all that you do to inspire other women to rise up and claim their god-given divine nature to mother others, in whatever way is before them...
Recently I was in a public restroom changing my newborn son's soiled diaper. A middle-aged woman walked in and started cooing over him. "He is so adorable! How old is he?" I replied that he was two weeks old. "Oh!" she exclaimed, "so tiny! Is he your first?" I took a big breath, looked her square in the eyes, smiled really big and said, "No. He's my tenth." I braced myself for the reaction I knew would come. It is the same response I've had from almost every stranger I've met since my fourth child was born. "Tenth? Don't you know what causes this?" As if all of a sudden this cute tiny baby is now a disease. "Sure. A lot of prayer and an answer from God that another blessing should come to our family." "Good Lord," she cursed. I smiled again, "Yes, the Lord is good, isn't He?" Disarmed by my comment she turned and left. I've heard them all and have a good comeback for each. It's unfortunate I have to have any to begin with.
Our society has shifted to a place where children are becoming less valued, less wanted, more of a burden than a blessing. Oh, the first one or two a family welcomes into their home are celebrated but three, four, five or more and a couple is walking on dangerous ground. And people aren't afraid to let you know it. The world is focusing on the wrong thing. They are tied to the earth and all its earthly pleasures. Child raising, while it does cost money, is not merely a temporal pursuit. This is an heavenly business! The immortal souls of men are at stake and heaven is there to help us through it. It is service of the highest order caring for God’s children. I love how Elder Jeffrey R. Holland puts it,
“Through these years, mothers go longer on less sleep and give more to others with less personal renewal for themselves than any other group I know at any other time in life. . . Do the best you can through these years, but whatever else you do, cherish that role that is so uniquely yours and for which heaven itself sends angels to watch over you and your little ones” (emphasis added).I have felt those angels helping me more times than I can count. Earthly angels in the form of friends, family, other mothers and aunts who fill in the gaps where I am lacking. Heavenly angels, great-grandmothers from ages past, who have experienced similar worry and heartache and joy and are cheering me on. I feel their presence. And I am in awe. What power this great institution of motherhood wields! With that power comes great responsibility. It may not seem like it in the every day, in and out, repetitive nature of the daily tasks we perform as mothers. We can easily loose sight of the "heavenly business" we are associated with when our days are far from heavenly.
"As mothers, our work is not washing diapers and mending holes in jeans—that is what we spend much of our time doing, but it is not our work. Our work is rearing children; but it is much more than that, for we rear our children to fulfill their potential. We might have dreams of their success on earth, but we are being shortsighted. For them to be successful, they must inherit the celestial kingdom. The little people with whom we share our homes are more than gifts from God. They are gods in embryo themselves. Our work is to help them realize that awe-inspiring fact and then to live so that they will not fall short of their divine potential.
"Clothes may have to be mended and dishes washed, gardens tended, floors swept, and beds made, but all these things are gifts of God to us. They are tools that we may use to develop our own divinity and help our children develop theirs. We don’t become righteous in spite of dishes, diapers, and dirty floors, but through them. We sweep floors, weed gardens, tend babies, and learn and grow—our spirits along with our bodies. No one grows in a vacuum. One does not just sit in a white room and think great thoughts and thus become divine. The earth and everything on it are designed to function as a great schoolroom; the things we need to develop our celestiality are here. Divinity is developed in us as we use the tools of the earth to create our own celestial environments—houses of God." (Petrea Kelly, The Joys of Motherhood)"We don’t become righteous in spite of dishes, diapers, and dirty floors, but through them." I just love that line. On my living room wall I have the following quote in big vinyl letters "Only the HOME can compare with the TEMPLE in sacredness." My home can be sacred, even with Cheerios spilled on the floor and peanut butter fingerprints on the wall. It is the attitude with which I approach my mothering that will make it sacred and holy. I am very aware of my shortcomings, my faults, and my lack in some areas so it amazes me that despite all of my failings God still trusts me and my husband to take care of these souls sent to us as our children. In the Family Proclamation we read, "Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity." Oh, I am so thankful for a wonderful husband who stands by my side encouraging me, sustaining me on my less than perfect days! To be honest, that means every day. It makes all the difference in the world to have him there by my side. I love motherhood! There is so much I have learned about myself and about the Lord through serving my family and my children. Recently I have had the honor to be named Nevada's 2013 Young Mother of the Year from American Mothers, Inc. I get to be a representative of motherhood. Me with the unorganized house and moldy food in the fridge, who has to count heads so no one is forgotten when we are out and about, and who, on occasion loses her temper and yells at her kids. Imperfect me gets to represent all of us imperfect mothers as we journey this road together.
What a glorious journey it is!
Growing up Montserrat thought she would change the world by discovering cures for diseases. She was well on her way when she entered college at 15. God had other plans for her life. Now as the mother of 10 children she is changing the world one child at a time. Maybe one of them will find a medical cure instead! Montserrat blogs about her families varied adventures homeschooling and farming, crafts, recipes, and living her faith.
Chocolate on my Cranium: http://chocolateonmycranium.blogspot.com/
A little too much chocolate is just about right.
Chocolate is cheaper than therapy and you don't need an appointment.
Note: To learn more about Montserrat's journey in being chosen to become Nevada's Young Mother of the Year, you can read the post she wrote on her blog here: http://chocolateonmycranium.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-taste-of-humble-pie.html (She probably won't like that I've included this link; because she did not. But, I thought that some of you would enjoy learning more. And because I'm here in Southern California and she's out on some farm, there's not a whole lot she can do about it. Right?) ❤ツ
You can also watch this video to learn more about American Mothers, the organization.