Guest Post: Not “Just a Mom”

“The troubles of the world may largely be laid at the doors of those who are neither hot nor cold; who always follow the line of least resistance; whose timid hearts flutter at taking sides for truth.

As in the great Council in the heavens, so in the Church of Christ on earth, there can be no neutrality. We are, or we are not, on the side of the Lord.”

– John A. Widtsoe, Conference Report, April 1941, p. 117

This quote by Elder Widtsoe is one of my favorites. He perfectly sums up the fact that in these Last Days there can be no fence-sitters. “We are, or we are not, on the side of the Lord.” It is obvious that Satan’s influence is strikingly powerful in the world. Assuming we have the desire to take a stand, where do we even begin? It can be overwhelming. About four years ago I had an issue that I wanted to become involved in; however, I felt completely inadequate. I was just a mom with no important title and little college education. How could I possibly make a difference? A dear friend shared with me this quote from Elder Neal A. Maxwell: “God does not begin by asking us about our ability, but only about our availability, and if we then prove our dependability, He will increase our capability.” With this reassurance, I decided to dive in.

The issue bothering me was education. I saw some trends that were concerning to me and I was able to join with like-minded people to try and make a difference in our area. Talk about being thrown out of my comfort zone! It was a whirlwind of new experiences, from community presentations to media interviews to legislative efforts. It was the first time in my life I had really taken a public stand on anything, and it turned out to be an incredible growing experience. I did things I never thought I could do, and I felt the direct influence of the Holy Ghost as I was able to write and say what was needed at times when my shy, introverted self would normally come up empty.

Beyond issues in the education world, my eyes were opened to the workings of government, and I was not impressed. I had been taught the basics in school about three separate branches of government, 50 sovereign states, and the Constitution holding it all together.This ideal seemed farther from reality with each new issue I studied. I began to compare our present situation with the words of Ezra Taft Benson, David O. McKay, J. Reuben Clark, and a host of other prophets and apostles on the proper role of government and found that we have gone far off course from our founding principles.I read their words on the divine origin of the Constitution and the responsibility of Church members to protect and defend it. I began to notice how often current apostles were speaking out about threats to religious freedom and directly calling on members to take a stand. I felt drawn to this freedom issue more strongly than anything else.

I never realized how much has been said by Church leaders on these topics, and surely I wasn’t the only one. I thought that if others could read what I had read, perhaps it would help them have a desire as I now had to stand for freedom. I decided to compile a daily thought book with the words of prophets and apostles on the subjects of freedom, the Constitution, and citizen responsibility. I worked on it for many months and then submitted it for copyright approval.

I was unable to publish my book, I was confused. I had felt prompted to compile these things, so now what? Still having a desire to share what had so inspired me, I turned to social media and started a Facebook page called Latter-day Prophets and Patriots (https://www.facebook.com/latterdayprophetsandpatriots)  It’s essentially my daily thought book in the form of online memes. It may be a small effort, but it’s my way of taking a stand and sharing truth. I have also become familiar with state and local politics and my husband and I have gotten involved in various ways. I can now name my state representatives and know them all personally – something I could not say five years ago.

Wonderful blessings have come from choosing to take a stand. Among the greatest blessings are the friendships that have formed with other people traveling the same road. I will forever be grateful for the people that Heavenly Father brought into my life to strengthen and teach me. He truly knows each one of us and knows our needs!

I will never again say, “I’m just a mom.”The truth is that I am a daughter of God with a divine purpose on this earth. I am a wife, a mother, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and a citizen of this country. Each of these roles has responsibilities, and I am learning to find balance. I am learning that part of being a mother is teaching our children how to face the world, and all the evils in it, while being firm in the faith of Christ. We have covenanted to “stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that [we] may be in, even until death” (Mosiah 18:9). Standing as a witness may look different for each of us. There are many issues to stand for, and it’s impossible for one person to do it all. What a blessing to have the Holy Ghost as a guide! With the help of the Spirit, we can be prompted in the right direction for our personal circumstances. We can know how the Lord can best use our particular gifts and talents. As Elder Maxwell said, we need to be available and dependable, and the Savior will cover the rest.

Author Stephanie Gifford lives in southeast Idaho with her wonderful husband, Jared, and their beautiful daughter. She has a passion for learning about God’s hand in American history and how it ties to the restoration of the Gospel. Stephanie enjoys horses, baseball, reading, and any time spent with family. Visit Latter-day Prophets and Patriots here: www.facebook.com/latterdayprophetsandpatriots

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