Recently, I was talking with a young woman whom I mentor. She confided in me about a deep concern she has about marriage and family. She looks forward to being a wife and a mother, but realizes that her life will change very drastically when she gets married and has kids. She recognized that when she begins her family, her life will no longer be simply about her. She recognized she would very likely have to sacrifice and serve her family in unprecedented and challenging ways. She could have children with disabilities, have periods of unemployment and financial stress, or suffer through health challenges. All of it seems very daunting to her. She wondered if having a family would be worth it. Or would it be better to remain single?
She’s absolutely right. When she starts her future family, her life will change forever. She won’t be able to tell beforehand what she’s getting herself into. She’ll say yes to marriage and children on total faith that she’ll be able to do it. She won’t really know until she’s in it what she’s signing up for.
My first response was to hug her tightly for several moments as tears filled my eyes. Choosing to have a family is definitely something wonderful to hope and aspire to! That choice in my life has brought me so much joy! However, I could not fully understand that level of joy if I had not also been through sorrow and pain. I held her hand tightly and tried to communicate to her, soul to soul, that being a wife and mother would be excruciatingly hard at times, but that it would also be so worth it!
There is no doubt that each person’s life is unique. Single or married, it will have ups and downs and opportunities for learning and growth. However, accepting the role of wife and mother is accepting the invitation and solemn duty to care for someone else. It is agreeing to be a key player in that person’s eternal salvation. What a tremendous responsibility!
When I made the choice to marry and have children, I felt very much that I was being invited by the Savior Himself to follow Him in a greater degree than before. As a wife and a mother, I would be entering into a divine calling, a role that would never end. Through this calling, I would be invited to become like the Savior Himself. In fact, He had a special work for ME to do and He would walk with me every step of the way. When I was young and in love with my wonderful husband, this was very easy to accept and I eagerly jumped at the Savior’s loving invitation. I was so happy! As life has gone on, I have been asked to take on more and more difficulty. I must continue to accept the Savior’s ongoing invitation to follow Him and keep on progressing on my journey. Each step has required much more faith.
On one of my more difficult days, I came across this poem. It has brought me so much light and understanding. It seemed to me to be a message directly from heaven at a time when I needed it most.
Wilt Thou Follow Me?
“Wilt thou follow Me?” The Savior asked.
The road looked bright and fair;
And filled with youthful hope and zeal
I answered, “Anywhere.”
“Wilt thou follow Me?” again He asked.
The road looked dim ahead;
But I gave one glance at His glowing face:
“To the end, dear Lord,” I said.
“Wilt thou follow Me?” I almost blanched,
For the road was rough and new.
But I felt the grip of His steady hand
And it thrilled me through and through.
“Still followest thou?” ‘Twas a tender tone,
And it thrilled my inmost heart.
I answered not, but He drew me close,
And I knew we would never part.
In that moment when I clung to my young friend, I knew there would be days ahead for her when she would not be able to audibly answer the Savior’s question, “Still followest thou?” Those times are when she will be on her knees or even prostrate, completely humbled, and feeling the weight of her burdens to the fullest. It is in those moments, when she feels that she is going to be crushed with the weight of it, that she will find her Savior holding her, comforting her, and enabling her to go on. That is where she will become acquainted with Him in a greater degree than she ever thought possible.
I would want her and all women everywhere to know this: You will never be alone! He will be there as you take on the precious and eternal role of bringing souls to Him. Motherhood is wonderful and divine! It is so worth it! What better way is there for us to come to know Him and be like Him?
He has a special place in His heart for His daughters. We have a partnership with Him in caring for God’s children. That is the divine calling of mother.
Some days will be running, joyful days. Some will be average walking, plodding days. And some days will be crawling days. I have come to know that all are valid. All of them are part of this journey of life. In all of them, the Savior will be there.
You will never be alone.