ISSUES OF FAITH: Mothers: The foundations of faith

PRESIDENT THEODORE ROOSEVELT said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

For some, Mother’s Day can evoke feelings of guilt; thinking maybe that other mothers are better. Avoid comparing yourself to others.

Everyone is dealt a different set of cards and we all have room for improvement.

As a single mother, my mother would be gone during the day. Fortunately for me, my grandmother lived close by.

When I was not in school, I would spend time at her house until my mother got home from work.

I was very close to my grandmother. Whenever we made Mother’s Day cards at school, I always made two; one for my grandmother and one for my mother.

My grandmother gave me a spiritual foundation.

She read the scriptures with me. She took me to church. She taught me to pray. She led by example.

While I was young, my mother was not very religious, but she did teach me to work hard and was a good provider for our little family.

My mother always told me that I could do anything if I set my mind to it. Her view of me was always a few notches above my view of myself.

As a bishop, I have met and counseled with many single mothers.

Being raised by a single mother has given me extra compassion for these good sisters who tackle being both the breadwinners and all that goes into raising children.

Since my mother’s passing in November, I have had a recurring thought of Shel Silverstein’s book, ”The Giving Tree.”

In the book, there is a boy whom the tree loves, and through the years, it gives the boy all the tree can until all that the tree has left is its trunk.

The boy, now an old man, comes and sits on the trunk, and the tree is happy.

Like the tree, my mom was very giving and big-hearted. She often gave when she had little to give. She taught me to be generous.

A hallmark song in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is, “A Child’s Prayer.”

As the song begins, you can almost hear the child asking,

“Heavenly Father, are you really there?

And do you hear and answer ev’ry child’s prayer?

Some say that heaven is far away,

But I feel it close around me as I pray.

Heavenly Father, I remember now

Something that Jesus told disciples long ago:

“Suffer the children to come to me.”

Father, in prayer I’m coming now to thee.”

Next, you can almost hear a kind mother telling the child,

“Pray, He is there;

Speak, He is list’ning.

You are His child;

His love now surrounds you.

He hears your prayer;

He loves the children.

Of such is the kingdom, the kingdom of heav’n.”

I am grateful for a faithful wife who has diligently taught our children to pray. If you were to ask any of our children, they would tell you that she is the best. She is a wonderful mother. And as a bonus, unlike me, she is good with math. Otherwise, our children would only rely on YouTube for those hard problems. As my mother did for me, I see my wife constantly encouraging our children.

My mother did find her way back to God and activity in the Church during my teenage years. She had a strong faith in Jesus Christ and yearned to see her mother again. I miss them both, but it makes me happy that my mom is now with her mother. I am especially grateful that they can be with my daughter Maggie as well.

Mothers and grandmothers, we love you. Don’t rob yourselves of joy by comparing yourselves to others. The world needs your loving direction, sensitivity, charity and righteousness. Point your children and grandchildren to the Savior. Teach them to pray. Heavenly Father is listening. Happy Mother’s Day!

_________

Issues of Faith is a rotating column by religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. Bishop Jason Bringhurst is the leader of the Mount Pleasant Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Port Angeles, ComeUntoChrist.org. His email is jasonbring@gmail.com.

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