This weekend one of our beloved granddaughters will celebrate her 17th birthday. She is as stately as a queen, her beautiful hair is her crown. She sings like an angel. Her expressive eyes and classic features reflect her energy, enthusiasm and humor. But where is the little girl we carried? Where is the little girl at play?
When did she get to be a beauty,
When did she grow to be so tall?
Wasn’t it yesterday when she was small?
Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years,
One season following another,
Laden with happiness and tears.
We have five granddaughters between 15 and 18 years of age. They are each different and they are all wonderful. We love them so much. And each one has her own challenges.
”Were it not for challenges to overcome and problems to solve, we would remain much as we are, with little or no progress toward our goal of eternal life.” President Monson
A number of years ago, Sister Elaine Cannon spoke of the challenges women must be prepared to face.
The Women in this Church need to be prepared—personally prepared—first, to stem the tide of error inundating the world, threatening families, short-circuiting the power of individuals. Second, though we have great men to lead us, we need to know for ourselves what is error and what is truth so that we can make valid value judgments. So much depends on this. Third, we need to grow and develop so that we are prepared to contribute. We each have a mighty errand to do.
Although young women ae not under the same mandate to serve a mission as young men, they are under the mandate to “be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness.” Each person has the mandate and blessing to obtain their own errand from the Lord. (See Jacob 1:17) The greatest blessing that we can imagine for our beautiful granddaughters is for them to be blessed with the personal preparation gained through worthy full time missionary service.
The scriptures give a perfect description of sister missionaries:
“But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:
“So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us” (1 Thes. 2:7–8).
Personal preparation is not easy. Francis Webster, of the Martin Handcart Company stated:
We suffered beyond anything you can imagine and many died of exposure and starvation, but did you ever hear a survivor of that company utter a word of criticism? Not one of that company ever apostatized or left the Church because every one of us came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives for we became acquainted with him in our extremities.
Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart? No. Neither then nor one moment of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay and I am thankful that I was privileged to come to Zion in the Martin Handcart Company. (in William R. Palmer, “Pioneers of Southern Utah,” The Instructor, vol. 79, no. 5 [May 1944], 217–18).
Sister Cannon said:
I don’t deny the struggle—it is the essence of Eden; but personal progress is what this life is all about. We must begin at once to work our plan of life, deciding to whom and to what we will give our fullest attention, our highest loyalty, our deepest commitment.
Individually, are we moving forward as is our rapidly growing church?
Or would we have drowned in Noah’s day or been caught polishing the golden calf with Aaron’s people?
Our lack of individual progress can impede the Savior’s work.
I don’t want to seem simplistic, sisters, but we need to move!
Like our brethren, we too have a mighty errand of our own. It requires our growth, our preparation, our constant reaching out to learn from the lessons of life, from our leaders, from the Lord.
There is so much to do.
There are many who don’t have what we have, who don’t know what we know. So may we be gentle and affectionately desirous of others as we impart, not only the gospel of Jesus Christ, but our own souls to those who have need of us.
It is, after all, the only cause grand enough for woman’s precious energies.
What price will we pay to become acquainted with God?