Are You Beautiful?

Are you beautiful?

Do you have perfectly shaped eyes with thick, full lashes? Is the color of your irises rich and deep? Do you have a perfectly shaped face and a clear complexion? Are your lips deep red and full? Do you have a perfect body shape with great muscle tone and definition, free of cellulite, bulges, and blemishes? Are your hands and feet perfectly manicured?

If you have all of that, or can afford to purchase it, then you are fortunate. You will have the ability to attract a great deal of attention and praise, and the world will never mock you for your physical imperfections. But, you are not necessarily beautiful. And, any or all of that can become disfigured, marred, scarred, bruised, or broken–gone in an instant.

Do your eyes sparkle with joy or shine with love? Do your ears hear the quiet pleas of children and the real need behind their whining? Does your mouth speak soft, kind words even in times of distress or anger? Do your arms steady the elderly as they struggle to walk, or embrace lonely, weary, broken souls? Do your hands prepare meals for the hungry or healing for the injured? Is your touch gentle and patient? Do your legs run to the aid or defense of the wounded or the weak?

If you do these things, you have the kind of beauty that lasts, can not be purchased, and can not be taken by time or circumstance. Your beauty is the kind that can reflect outward and fill the world with beauty. It can radiate from you and penetrate even the bleakest, blackest darkness. Your beauty will nourish and strengthen and heal. And it will be remembered forever.

Isaiah 53:2 says of the Savior, “he hath no form or comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” But when we see him, if our hearts are right, we will not see anything that might be lacking in His physical appearance. We will see the love in His eyes and the compassion in His voice. We will see the service and sacrifice symbolized by the scars in His hands and feet. We will feel the warmth of His embrace. We will delight in His companionship as He walks beside us. We will remember Him, not for his outward appearance, but for the way He makes us feel, and we will recognize beauty beyond compare.

Are you beautiful?

Our Exemplar, Jesus Christ                                                                                             Image found at http://www.lds.org

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Twenty-five Thousand Days

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We each get about twenty five thousand mornings, twenty five thousand nights, twenty five thousand days–in a life time; how many of those mornings are we mindful of how few we have? Twenty-five thousand may seem like a lot, but in reality those twenty-five thousand mornings slip by so fast. If you do not grip them tight, they will slip through your fingers like light and water. Once they are gone, they are gone, and can never be reclaimed.

Of those twenty-five thousand mornings, only a few hundred are filled with the smile of a waking child still young enough to climb in your bed in the middle of the night. The nights spent rocking with a child who wants to sit on your lap are so few, and soon gone. Before you know it, those precious mornings are over, and they can never be relived. We spend so many nights and so many days struggling to accumulate the worldly wealth to buy the detritus that we have been told we need to be happy. Of the twenty-five thousand days we get, how many are spent cleaning up the spills, and the messes of a child? So few that in the grand-scheme, in the course of a life, they will account for nothing. When your child spills yogurt on the rug, how few of those hours does it take to clean, or even replace it? When your twenty five thousand mornings are coming to an end, it is a sure bet that you would give anything for a few more of those days that you complain about now. When your precious little princess is gone, and has children of her own, you will look back with longing for the days that you sat up late with a crying child, when you had to bathe her twice in the same day, or when she painted her sister with chocolate. The days spent earning the money to have the stuff you think you need will seem like days that were wasted. The mornings spent with a child, reading a book, telling a story, playing a game, will seem like heaven on earth.

You have twenty five thousand days, more or less, make them count, use them well, waste them not.

Honoring Mothers by Choice

In the interest of full disclosure I have to say that I am not a mother. And I can never be a mother. I am a man. But I have been blessed through the great mothers I have known in my life. And I value motherhood and I am not ashamed.

In order to understand the rest of this post, you will need to watch this video (It is just over seven minutes long and has subtitles, but it is well worth watching and reading):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPtOm9UXfnU

A mother by choice

I saw this video earlier tonight and it has been haunting me ever since. I understand that it is part of an advertising campaign for Walcoal Thailand. And, I know that Walcoal is an Asian company that makes underwear. So, all evening I have been obsessing over an elaborate commercial for woman’s underwear. I know that sounds terrible, but it really is a great commercial, and it has made me think of mothers, motherhood, and the greatness that is inherent in the calling of mother.

I am a man of faith. I have not always been, but as I grow older, my faith grows deeper. Faith is the lens through which I view the world, and faith informs my thoughts and opinions. I do not apologize for that. It is who I am and who I will always be. But, let us be clear, I view mothers and motherhood through the lens of faith, and that shows me the greatness of this sacred calling. I know the value God places on mothers, and I know the great trust He places in them and their ability to care for His children.

But, anything that can be used for great good, can also be used for great evil. We live in a society that devalues mothers. Motherhood is mocked and derided. We live in a culture where those who should defend women who choose motherhood, instead write articles about how they scorn them. The amazing contribution that mothers make to society is belittled. The sacred nature of motherhood is corrupted, and mothers kill their children before they are born or abandon them after they become inconvenient. Either way, the world scorns motherhood, and too many women believe the lies they are fed.
In far too many ways, the world devalues all women, and children, and girls. And that is where this commercial comes in. Because, whether we recognize it or not, not all mothers ever bear children. And not all women who bear children should ever be honored with the sacred title of Mother. A mother is not just someone who gave birth to a child. A mother is a woman, any woman, who chooses to accept the role that God intended for her. A mother is someone who accepts God’s plan for her. A mother is someone who truly cares for one of God’s children entrusted to her care. A mother is someone who recognizes the value of that child-a son or daughter of a Heavenly Father. A mother is someone who willingly gives more of herself than she asks for in return. A mother is someone who willingly sacrifices her needs for the needs of her child. A mother is someone who gives love unconditionally. And in return, she is loved, unconditionally.

And that is a beautiful thing.

So, tonight, I honor all those great women who are mothers by choice but not biology.