I wish I could say I have some powerful, testimony-building experience of “standing,” but I don’t. I’m not an incredible wordsmith or talented debater like so many I know on social media who are able to eloquently and gracefully state facts and defend beliefs, but as I stopped to ask myself if and how I “stand,” I read something that President Russell M. Nelson stated in his 2015 General Conference address:
“Today, let me add that we need women who know how to make important things happen by their faith and who are courageous defenders of morality and families in a sin-sick world. We need women who are devoted to shepherding God’s children along the covenant path toward exaltation; women who know how to receive personal revelation, who understand the power and peace of the temple endowment; women who know how to call upon the powers of heaven to protect and strengthen children and families; women who teach fearlessly.”
I stand when I defend my home against the adversary with regular Family Home Evening, regular temple attendance, dedicated Sabbath worship, daily prayer and scripture study, both personal and family. It is in these small and simple daily moments that I am trying to make important things happen, courageously defending morality and family, shepherding my little ones along the covenant path, striving to receive personal revelation, seeking to call down the powers of heaven to protect and strengthen my family, and trying to teach fearlessly. This is how I stand.
I so admire Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson for her candor and enthusiasm as she spoke to the women of the Church in the 2016 October General Women Meeting. In her talk she said,
“President Russell M. Nelson told us a year ago: “Attacks against the Church, its doctrine, and our way of life are going to increase. Because of this, we need women who have a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ and who will use that understanding to teach and help raise a sin-resistant generation. We need women who can detect deception in all of its forms. We need women who know how to access the power that God makes available to covenant keepers and who express their beliefs with confidence and charity. We need women who have the courage and vision of our Mother Eve.”
This message reassures me that despite the conditions of our day, we have many reasons to rejoice and be optimistic. I believe with all of my heart that we sisters do have the innate strength and faith that will allow us to meet the challenges of living in the last days. Sister Sheri Dew has written, “I believe that the moment we learn to unleash the full influence of converted, covenant-keeping women, the kingdom of God will change overnight.”
Sister Oscarson, President Nelson, and Sister Dew are all giving me detailed descriptions of the woman I need to become in order to protect myself and my family. It is in becoming this woman they are describing that I will be able to more firmly and frequently stand. It is in becoming this woman that I will be able to add my influence in order to help move the kingdom of God forward in progress and positive, eternal change.
This is not an easy world to live in and raise children in. I realize Satan is doing all he can to destroy my sense of identity and my family, but like Elder Gary E. Stevenson said, “Heavenly Father’s generous compensation for living in perilous times is that we also live in the fullness of times.” I take such great comfort in that statement. He hasn’t abandoned me. As I stand for Him, He will stand for me!
Author Ashley Arnold says that if only she had that name in elementary school: front of the line for everything baby! She’s married to her best friend, mama to a Mowgli and a Tinker Bell, and just recently added a Simba. Mama first and foremost, but during naps she plays writer and graphic designer, while wiping off smashed avocado and banana from her face and hair, and removing the embedded Legos from her feet.