Special Thank You to Women

Saturday, May 11, 2019

A couple of weeks ago, I had a special moment while serving with some of the young women (ages 12-18) in my church. Each week we have a youth activity and this particular activity was planned by another woman in my congregation. She asked several women from our congregation to come and talk to the young women about the values of the Young Women's program. I knew ahead of time the general idea of what would be happening and some of the people who would be speaking, but I did not anticipate the experience that I would have just walking into that room.

Love. An immense love for all those in that room. I walked into a room filled with women who I have a deep respect and admiration for, women who I have seen showing Christlike love and kindness, women who have been so genuine in their concern for others, women who have experience with life and who were willing to share even the difficult things if it meant that it would benefit even just one person. As I heard each woman speak, I contemplated those feelings of love that I felt for them, seeing in them the divine qualities that are inherent in each of us. And seeing within the young women of whom they spoke to, the divine qualities and the potential that each one of them had.

You, women, and young women, whatever your age are amazing. I have seen it. I have seen the light you carry within you and I know that you will inspire the world.

With that, I want to share with you a post that I posted on Mother's Day in 2017 from my other blog www.raisingmydreams.com. I've adapted and updated it slightly but much of it is still applicable because it illustrates the profound influence that women have had in my life. I hope that as you read it, you think of all those who have influenced your life as well.


A few years ago I wrote about the influence of all the women in my life. I posted it on a personal blog that was only meant for friends and family to see. It was my first Mother's Day as a mom. I had so many feelings going on and I wanted to thank all of those women who had an impact on my life. I decided to go ahead and revisit that post, update it to reflect where I am today and share it with you.

As I sat writing those years before, I remembered the past Mother's Days leading up to being a mom. I could still feel the pain I had in not being able to be a mom. I love being a mom. I'm passionate about it and I intensely wanted to be one. It took a while for my daughters to come to me. My husband and I had struggled for a few years with getting pregnant and there was lots of heartache involved. I would always try to make it through church, but in those times that I have succeeded it’s been difficult. After church was easier, because I would put all of my focus on my mother and my mother-in-law, both amazingly strong and loving women. But, the pain of not being a mother was still there. Even now, I feel the emotion and sorrow, breaking through, the memory of the emotional pain is strong. I can still recall it with only a moment’s notice.

In addition, I have always been aware of others' emotions around me. I know that whether or not you have kids, Mother's Day can be difficult. Whether it be from emotions of unfulfilled dreams, loss of one you love, or unmet expectations, there are many emotions that surface on Mother's Day. Perhaps because of all these emotions,  I now perceive Mother's Day as a day to think of others. A day to think of all the women in my life who have in some way or another had an influence on me. I choose not to focus on what I want, but on ways that I can thank others for what they have done for me.

I have come to recognize that this day is more about the beauty of women and their extraordinary influence in the lives of those around them.

I only share with you these things so you can better understand me and better understand why this day means so much more to me than having children. In my view, all women have the ability to bless and influence the lives of others, often in ways we do not completely understand.

With that in mind, I want to take a moment to focus on those women who have been strong and beautiful examples in my life.

The Leaders of My Youth:

You were there during one of the most difficult times in my young life. You comforted and strengthened my through not only your words but more so through your actions. In those times that I sought answers, you helped me to find the answers for myself. You reminded me that there is a higher purpose to our lives here on earth. I have thought of you often, especially now that I am now in your place as a leader of the youth.

Lifelong Friends:

I have known most of you for most of my life. I am thankful that we have maintained a relationship for so long. We have had many wonderful memories together and I know will yet have many more. You are great examples of kindness, loyalty and love, of being a true friend. There are times that we may not see or hear from each other for a while, but when we get together again that hardly seems to be a problem. Each of you have had your own trials and struggles of which you have had the strength to overcome and for some of you, you’re still struggling. I know that you can succeed, that there is a great strength within you.

Roommates and Friends in College:

You have been strong examples of women focused on the Lord. Your belief and conviction have strengthened my own. Your ability to succeed in life and in school helped me to succeed as well. I loved our in depth conversations about life. You always had such beautiful perspectives and a great understanding of what was truly important. You are educated and faithful. You are a great example of seeking for truth and being able to find it. I have seen the light of Christ shine through you.

Women from My Mission:

With some of you I struggled, but those times turned out to be some of the greatest growth experiences on my mission and I learned so much from you. With others, you were my tender mercies from the Lord. From all of you, I saw the diversity of women within our church. I saw beautiful examples of faith. I saw how each one of you could impact and influence countless others for good. You strengthened me and gave me greater insight. You had a powerful influence on me and on those around you. I saw people’s lives change for good because of your willingness to serve others. And each one of you changed my life for good.

Role Models and Mentors:

You helped me in those times that my roles in life were changing. Whether it be moving into adulthood, being a newlywed and wife, or being a new mother. You helped me, through your example, see traits that I desired to develop within myself. In some cases, I leaned on your example as I fulfilled the different responsibilities given to me. I would have been lost without you. In times of my greatest trials, you were there to provide strength. You, and your families, will always have a special place in my heart.

The Youth I Lead and Former Seminary Students:

It amazes me what you young women have gone through and the kind of temptations and struggles you come across each day. You have a great strength within you, more strength than you may realize. I have learned so much from you as I have tried to teach you. Thank you for your sincere questions and your willingness to understand. Thank you for your example of love for others.

New Friends on Instagram

And to those who women who have befriended me on Instagram in the 2018-2019 year. I am so thankful for your courage to share your stories, for your kind comments and all of your support. You are truly lights in this world and it has been amazing to see how you are going about making the world a better place because you are inspiring others to live with intention, to be healthier, to accept themselves, and to bear your testimonies of the Savior. You have shown me such strength and have given me a place to share my own experiences as well.

My Sister:

You have always been there for me. I remember how you would always stand up for me when our brothers would pick on me. No one wanted to mess with you, not even as they towered over you. I remember the love you showed when I had the miscarriage. I will never forget the concern that you had for me during that time. You have a great capacity to love. I’ve seen it time and time again in your willingness to help others, no matter how well you know them. You may not let many people see you on a deeper level, but those who you do let in you love fiercely and will do everything in your power to protect them. You are a beautiful mother to Henry and Sam. I don't think you realize the positive influence that you are in their lives. I see it so often in the photos and Facebook posts and when we get together. I am so thankful that you found them, they were meant to be your children.

My Sisters-in-law:

You readily accepted me into your families and have always shown love. Thank you for all the love and support that you have shown me and also for all your support and concern in our difficulties. I know that you will continue to be wonderful examples to me and to my daughters.

My Mother-in-Law:

You are one of the most loving people I know. You do so much for us and for others. You always look for ways that you can help others. You emulate the Savior in all that you do. You are the perfect Nana for Lil Bug and Lil Sunshine. Thank you for your willingness to help with them whenever it is needed. In my opinion, one of your greatest accomplishments is your family. Each one of your kids is amazing, especially Jordan. They are all successful in life and have a sound understanding of truth. I feel privileged to be a part of your family. I could not have asked for a better mother-in-law.

And the woman who has influenced my life more than any other. My Mom:

Mom, you mean so much to me and I can better understand all that you have done for me now that I have a daughters of my own. I understand more the love that you have for me and for my brothers and sister. I have come to see how a Mother’s love is pure love. I understand more the anxiety and worry, the concern that you have for each of us. I am thankful for all your selflessness through the years. You have taught me how to stand up for those I love and how to fight for what I know is right. You have taught me the importance of finding out for myself the truth. You are the greatest example that I have of inner strength as you raised a very unique family and overcame trial after trial, difficulty after difficulty. Your encouragement of me in ALL my endeavors have made all the difference for me. I am thankful that my daughters have such a loving and devoted grandma. I love seeing the look in your eyes whenever you see them. You once told me that the most important traits of a mother is her trust in the Lord and ability to listen to Him. You have shown that throughout my life.

Strength, love, courage, comfort, and a great influence to do good. Those are the traits that I think of when I think of women. I know that there are many other women that have blessed and influenced my life in many ways, some which I may not even realize. To you, I want to say thank you as well.

Embrace yourself as a woman. Embrace the traits that make yourself so uniquely you. Embrace the strength within yourself that is the essence of being a woman.

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