I count our next guest blogger, Meg, as one of my mentors. She is so wise! I enjoy hearing her opinions and reading her thoughts. Like Andalucy, she is another kindred spirit.
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In Pres. Julie Beck’s talk at BYU Women’s Conference this last May she said women “are like lionesses at the gate of their home”. If blogs are any measure, this idea has struck a chord with a large number of LDS women. I see it frequently quoted and talked about. I believe that most of us recognize that there is a war raging against the family as established by the Lord. We, too recognize that women can be as a mighty army in defense of the family.
It was in a General Relief Society meeting that President Gordon B. Hinckley first presented The Family, A Proclamation to the World. His talk was entitled, “Stand Strong Against the Wiles of the World” and he encouraged women by saying: “I need not remind you that the world we are in is a world of turmoil, of shifting values. Shrill voices call out for one thing or another in betrayal of time tested standards of behavior. The moral moorings of our society have been badly shaken. I cannot say enough of appreciation for your determination to live by the standards of the Church, to walk with the strength of virtue, to keep your minds about the slough of filth which seems to be moving like a flood across the world. Thank you for knowing there is a better way.”
The lioness at the gate recognizes that the better way is not found by mimicking, or worse, joining the world. She recognizes the battle cry to fight for that which we know is right and good and protect our homes and families from harmful influence wherever they are found.
Saving and protecting our families must surely start with protecting ourselves and our testimonies of our own divine worth and divine destination. Elder Glenn Pace recently warned, “Sisters, keep in mind anything that detracts from your divine nature should be avoided. You live in a time when you have more opportunities and options available to you than any other women have had through-out the history of mankind. Some of these options will complement your God-given natures. Others will chip away at it. Some things will make you strong. Others will make you hard. Some will increase your spiritual sensitivity. Others will separate you from the Spirit.” If the world is where you are looking for validation and understanding, you will very quickly loose your footing. This is in part why Sis. Beck so strongly counseled us to keep ourselves in the place of receiving constantly renewable personal revelation.
One of the most obviously destructive forces against the family today are the twisted, warped definitions of womanhood being shouted from every available outlet. Take for instance this one example of wedding planning I saw a few summers ago. I was waiting on an appointment and I picked up a healthy living magazine there on the waiting room table. It was a special spring edition centered on the theme of “The Big Day”. I noted a check list for brides and thought I’d browse it and see if much had changed since my “Big Day”. The magazine time line went as follows:
- 3 months before the wedding- Fill thy cup. Breast augmentation will improve your asymmetry and fill your wedding dress perfectly and give you a stellar honeymoon body.
- 2 months before – In the Eyes of the Beholder. Have your LASIK surgery. You don’t want to see your wedding day through the rims of glasses.
- 1 month before – Whiten Up. Get those pearlies white again. Additionally, Something to Smile About – Dental veneers to make sure your pictures are full of beautifully aligned, shapely teeth.
This was definitely not the wedding-prep checklist I had worked off of! I jokingly wondered if I had been mysteriously transported from Utah County to Beverly Hills. I re-checked the magazine cover questioning if I had misunderstood something and this was simply a bunch of advertising masquerading as a magazine. Nope, this publication considered itself (arguably) legitimate.
The list continued:
- 3 weeks before – Smooth Sailing. Anyone want to guess what this one was? Unwanted hair removal from face and body, of course.
- 3 week before – Face Age. Facial injections (I kid you not) to enhance facial volume and recontour the face.
- 2 weeks before – Gift Wrap. A spa body wrap to slenderize and shape your body, also perhaps taking away unwanted inches.
- 1 week before – Brush Strokes. Airbrush makeup and tanning for flawless skin.
Wow. What a stark contrast from the counsel given to the young women in April. Sis. Dalton talked to the young women about “deep beauty” – “the kind of beauty that shines inside out. It is the kind of beauty that cannot be painted on, surgically created, or purchased. It is the kind of beauty that doesn’t wash off. It is spiritual attractiveness.”
We are not alone in the battle. The Lord sends encouragement and reassurance, guidance and counsel at every turn. Elder James Talmage stated, “The world’s greatest champion of woman and womanhood is Jesus the Christ.” We are beloved spirit daughters of God and our lives have meaning, purpose and direction. Elder N. Eldon Tanner taught, “To mothers, daughters and women everywhere, let me stress the fact that because of your potential and influence for good in the lives of all of us, Satan is determined to destroy you. You can’t compromise with him. You must have the courage, the strength, the desire, and the determination to live as the Lord would have you live.”
Sis. Dew reminded us that coming unto Christ means walking away from the world. “We no longer have the luxury of spending our energy on anything that does not lead us and our families to Christ. That is the litmus test for …our lives. In the days ahead, a casual commitment to Christ will not carry us through.”
I once read a metaphor by Roger Williams representing the building of Zion. As I read it, my mind naturally changed the word of “church” to family and taught me much about my responsibilities in my home. It reads, “The garden was the domain of the [family], the gentle, fragile region where the people of God would congregate and try to build lives around the Divine Word. The wilderness was the world lying beyond the garden wall, uncivilized and potentially quite threatening to the garden. The wall separated the two, and the reason for the wall was not that the wilderness needed protection from the garden- the wall was there to protect the garden from the wilderness.”
Defending the family starts with understanding who we are as women and who we’ve always been. It then becomes our job to stand in defense of the family as defined by the Lord, most specifically in the homes we find ourselves in the position to protect. You are the wall protecting yourself and your family from the wilderness – uncivilized and threatening. You are the lioness at the gate.
Meg is a SAHM who loves books, hazelnut hot cocoa, the Atlantic Ocean, Brady Bunch re-runs, old Relief Society magazines and vintage dishes. She doesn’t mind being called a housewife, homemaker or homeschooler, since she is in truth, happily all three. You are welcome to visit at www.journeydiscovergather.blogspot.com.