Portraits of Mormon Women: Emily (@Lioness at the Gate)
I could never decide what I wanted to be when I grew up; however, I did choose to be happy with my life, whatever it was.
I loved obtaining a college education. I went to Ricks [now BYU-Idaho], then on to BYU. I majored in health education. I liked the health part because so many health principles are aligned with the gospel. I liked the education part because if I ever needed an out-of-the-home job, that would mostly allow me to be home when my hopefully future children were home. I found l loved learning about developing nations and minored in International Development. A cool twist was that I got to do my student teaching in Western Samoa. I also loved history, so I minored in that, too.
I didn’t meet my “match” at BYU, but met him when I moved back home after graduating. So far we’ve been blessed with three young children: one son and two daughters. We are working on having more fun in our family so that we can create more of those magic moments that make parenting all worth it. We enjoy, to the extent you can with young children, traveling, hiking, and camping; oh, and we play a lot of Uno lately. We can’t wait to take the kids mountain biking and rock climbing!
I make time to blog, sew, exercise, volunteer at the school, do church service, and listen to podcasts while doing some of the previously mentioned activities. Someday I would like to do more historical research, remodel, read, exercise and cook for enjoyment, travel, do more service & volunteering, and relearn to play the piano, and really learn to play the guitar.
For some reason, I caught some of an attitude of negativity toward motherhood in my growing up years. That made it kind of hard to want to be a mother and value their domestic duties. Not that I wanted a career, I just wasn’t so sure I wanted to be a mother! As I’ve sought to better understand and value motherhood, though, I am changing and becoming the type of mother I want to be — I am feeling joy in motherhood! I believe the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been, and my role as mother is crucial. I feel that women need to know that even though many voices around us seem to say it is dumb to be domestic, we don’t have to listen! It is okay to want to stay home and raise families! It is truly a noble thing.
I love being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I also particularly enjoy my membership in the Relief Society. I really took Relief Society for granted until I sat in a Relief Society presidency meeting as the secretary and learned how women used to have to pay dues to be a member. You mean people actually wanted to be a part of the Relief Society and would sacrifice money for it? My whole perspective changed. I began looking at it as something I should actually want to do, not something I was obligated to be a part of. I also have a testimony of Visiting Teaching. Again, I always did it out of duty, and after years, I learned I really could make a big difference, even if it was in the life of only one person.
I also believe that the things that we are asked to do now by our leaders are exactly what we need to be doing. It matters less how things were done in the past or how they will be done in the future. They help us focus on what we need today. I believe we live in an exciting time, and I’m grateful for opportunities like this to connect with others with similar values and standards.
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Editor’s note: When Emily talked of the study she did about motherhood, I asked her to share some of the quotes that have been of value to her. Following are some she included:
. . .Women are like lionesses at the gate of the home. Whatever happens in that home and family happens because she cares about it and it matters to her. She guards that gate. . . . — Julie B, Beck
[Emily's blog got its name from this teaching. You can read more of her thoughts at Lionesses at the Gate]
The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity. — Margaret Nadauld
Some women give birth and raise children but never “mother” them. Others, whom I love with all my heart, “mother” all their lives but have never given birth. Therefore, we must understand that however we accomplish it, parenthood is the highest of callings, the holiest of assignments. — Patricia Holland, A Quiet Heart
. . . because of the increasing diversity of lifestyles for women of today, we seem even more uncertain and less secure with each other. We are getting not closer but further away from that sense of community and sisterhood that has sustained us and given us unique strengths for generations. There seems to be an increase in our competitiveness and a decrease in our generosity with one another. . . . So as long as we are committed to living righteously and with faithful devotion, we should celebrate these divine differences, knowing they are a gift from God. We must not feel so frightened; we must not be so threatened and insecure; we must not need to find exact replicas of ourselves in order to feel validated as women of worth. — Patricia Holland, A Quiet Heart
Grateful daughters of God learn truths from their mothers and grandmothers and aunts. They teach their daughters the joyful art of creating a home. They seek fine educations for their children and have a thirst for knowledge themselves. They help their children develop skills that they can use in serving others. They know that the way they have chosen is not the easy way, but they know it is absolutely worth their finest efforts. — Margaret Nadauld
[A woman of faith] stays away from the evil influence and the unclean thing, and if it encroaches on her territory, she is as a lioness protecting her cubs. . . . [Her children] not only hear her discuss her commitment, but they see her commitment in her daily living—in the way she dresses, what she reads and watches, how she spends her leisure time, what she loves and laughs at, whom she attracts, and how she acts at all times, in all things, and in all places. She has a certain style of her own that is attractive and joyful and bright and good. Our little girls and our young women can safely trust in her example. — Margaret Nadauld in “A Woman of Faith“