"I know what it is to love a daughter of God who with grace and devotion served with the full feminine splendor of her righteous womanhood. "
It always gives me chills to think of that quote. Today I really began to understand why. It began with a talk reminding me of the Young Women theme, which reads as follows:
We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him. We will stand as witnesses of God at all times, and in all things, and in all places as we strive to live the Young Women values, which are: faith, divine nature, individual worth, knowledge, choice and accountability, good works, integrity, and virtue.We believe as we come to accept and act upon these precepts, we will be prepared to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.
Middle school was rough for me. Beyond rough. Wanted to curl up and pretend I didn't exist. Every morning as I walked down the street to my school, Mum would tell me, "Remember who you are!" And that is when this theme would go running through my head as a mantra. "I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father who loves me and I love Him! I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father who loves me and I love him!" That naive knowledge of my divine nature as a daughter of God was the only thing that kept me going.
I knew what is was to be a daughter, but I didn't understand what it was to be a woman.
Then I went to university, fulfilled an overseas internship. I graduated, found a job, and regularly attended the temple. I was growing up and meeting the obligations of day to day life while trying to find time for my Father and the responsibilities given to me by Him. He then asked me to move across the country on little more than a whim. I lost my job and my sofa. But my earthly father came and drove me home and waited for me at the doors of the temple when I received my endowment. He hugged me and I knew he was proud.
I made it to Columbus, friendless, jobless, and unsure about my academic pursuits. I went to church and made friends. I attended the temple and found strength. Through these things, I secured employment and was able to meagerly provide for myself. But along the way, my heart was broken and my academic endeavors nipped in the bud before even sprouting. I prayed and attended the temple even more. Feeling like the middle school version of myself, I again uttered the words, "I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father who loves me and I love Him! I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father who loves me and I love him!"
Almost a year to the date later, I walked down the hallway of the Manti Temple in my wedding garb towards my soon-to-be husband. He looked at me and I knew I was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. I felt it. But it was more than that. He didn't see my weaknesses, though they were many. He didn't see my emotional scars. He saw my strength. He made me feel wise. He trusted me, had confidence in me, and believed that together, we could conquer anything. He saw the "full feminine splendor of righteous womanhood" in me.
Today I saw it in myself. Through my wonderful husband's eyes, but through my own. Through my Father's. I saw my ability to move repeatedly to foreign locations. I saw my creative drive, my love of others, my wonderful friendships. I saw countless hours of temple service and infinite hugs. I saw the love I derived from my family and my spouse. I saw my talents and realized how wonderful I am.
I wish I were a carpenter so I could make the most beautiful mahogany frame. It would carved to the hilt with wildflowers and exotic leaves. Amongst the flora would be etched the words now engraved on my heart, "the full feminine splendor of righteous womanhood" so that every woman might look in the mirror and see how magnificent she really is. That she might be surrounded by beauty and the reassurance that she is exactly who her Father created her to be. A glorious servant of God with specific talents, gifts, and abilities who is doing the best she can. It would be like the evil queen's mirror in Snow White.
"Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is this staring back at me?"
"My daughter, my daughter, the woman you see is the woman I see daily! How much it saddens me that you do not recognize her. My daughter, my daughter, do you not see? You are my prized creation! A beauty beyond measure. You have a good soul, a loving heart, and a desire to good. How glorious you are. Do not hide from your potential, but embrace it! I have such plans for you. Do not worry, I have given you all the tools you will need. Have faith and take courage. You will succeed. Remember who you are, dear daughter, remember! Remember that I love you."
I am a capable woman. A wife. A daughter. A future mother. A granddaughter, a niece, cousin, friend, neighbor, and acquaintance. I am an artist, future librarian, and avid reader. I am strong. I am feminine. I am a Daughter of my Heavenly Father who loves me, and I love him.