03157_000_021This narrative text accompanied taped segments of the March 27, 1982, General Women’s Meeting.
Some things do not change with centuries, circumstance, or culture, but are constant. The stirrings of our souls remind us that Latter-day Saint women share more than a name or a position. We share a legacy of belief—belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose love confirms, sustains, and motivates. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, we believe that He lives, and living, loves each one. Believing, we are bound together as sisters. Believing, we have courage to stand alone. This belief tells us that for every gift, there is purpose; for every struggle, growth; for every earnest prayer, assurance; for every trial, comfort; for every woman, value. This legacy we remember and renew.
Legacy of Growth
From seed to blossom there is an emergence, a slow unfolding that catches you suddenly in its beauty. So it is with us. We struggle with life’s moments and discover insights that open our awareness to self, that take us from where we are to where we ought to be.
Because God loves us, He has created us to feel the joy of growth, to fill in the lines of a divine blueprint. Our legacy of belief tells us that we have come into the world, not as a finality, but as a possibility.
An invitation to the celestial kingdom is an invitation to grow, surely and steadily, in ways we see and ways we don’t. Quietly, little by little, we sharpen our sensitivity, polish our gifts, smooth over our uneven edges.
While unveiling reveals richer colors, there is value at every stage. The bud is as beautiful as the blossom, the faltering first notes as important as the finished performance. Our belief brings to our growing, perspective. We know the end for which we make the beginning.
Growth may not always be recognized by others, or even by ourselves. But it is the daily victories that emerge as lifelong accomplishments, that are the sum of our lives. Who can say what moment it happens? It is as silent as a snowfall that comes in the night and quietly changes everything.
Day to day, we are living and inching a little beyond where we were the day before. It is the growth that comes from doing something we haven’t done before. It is finding out who we are and becoming that—the steady emergence of an eternal character. We can believe in what might be, instead of what is.
“If thou canst believe, all things are possible.” (Mark 9:23.)
Legacy of Adversity
Life requires of each of us a schooling in adversity, a trial of faith, a season of experience. Our legacy of belief is not without suffering; but belief tells us that before we can plant, the soil must first be broken.
Disappointment, loneliness, and frustration are common to us all. We work, we nurture, we triumph, and sometimes we fail. But that pain cultivates a responsiveness to the spirit whose tenderness heals the wounds we cannot see. We cannot prevent every pain or stay each sorrow. They come into our lives unbidden, often unannounced. But we can seek the inner strength that sends our roots deep in time of drought.
“The Lord has never promised us that we will be free from problems and challenges. He has, however, promised that with faith we will have the strength to meet any eventuality in this life. Being ‘anxiously engaged’ in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can provide for any of you in any circumstance some reasons to hope—even to be glad and certainly to be loved.” (Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, Nov. 1978, p. 105.)
We must learn all of life’s lessons. Life is not one direct journey, and sometimes to arrive safely we must change the course of the compass. We can make adversity a stepping stone, not an ending place. We can use it to refine and purify, to season and uplift, to draw closer to Him from whence all blessings come.
The pathway to perfection is not comfortable or untroubled. It takes great courage to step into the wind and keep going. But we can weather the tempest and cushion the daily large and small jolts of mortality with joy. Even in the midst of our suffering, we are in His kingdom and His protecting arms are around us.
“Be faithful and diligent … and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love.” (D&C 6:20.)
Legacy of Diversity
No two of us are the same; we can each contribute through that particular spark of the divine that makes us unique. The mark we leave on the world, on the hearts and minds of others, will be our own.
That the Lord values variety is manifest in many ways. Why a daisy, or a marigold, or a sunflower, if a rose had been sufficient? The Savior performed a multitude of miracles and gave a series of signs for the last days. He created a family of man, rather than a single race.
Our legacy of belief persuades us that there is more than one way to do good and to develop our talents. Yet we can bring to each other something both special and something to be shared. Our unique and individual gifts can complement, rather than compete, so the territory we travel will be richer for our moving forward together.
“No greater recognition can come to you in this world than to be known as a woman of God. No greater status can be conferred upon you than being a daughter of God who experiences true sisterhood, wifehood, and motherhood, or other tasks which influence lives for good.” (Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, Nov. 1979, p. 102.)
As we rejoice in lives so different, we rejoice in hearts so similar: We are the same as we reach outward toward others, with hands that bring light and hope and healing. We can reach out from our uniqueness and make the similarities count. We can use whatever talents God has given us for service. Whatever the realm of our influence, we can allow our similarities—faith, hope, charity, and the pure love of Christ—to make a difference.
“So we, being many, are one … in Christ” (Rom. 12:5.)
Legacy of Testimony
We remember and renew a legacy of testimony, of faith, of commitment. We are of one heart in our belief that He lives and loves us, individually, unconditionally. We are of one heart because we have chosen to follow the way that values the widow’s mite more than power, integrity more than visibility, charity more than charisma.
We will use the Savior as a model, so that we may bring to our living, to our nurturing, to our teaching, His life, His teachings—whatever our area of influence, His influence.