We Are Daughters in His Kingdom!

by Renee Packer
(A talk given at the stake fireside, "We Are Daughters in His Kingdom," for all women 8-110 years of age, May 2012)
Many years ago while away at college, I was asked to speak at a multi-stake conference. I could not calm myself, and fear began to take over. How I wished my mother could have been there to console me. I don’t believe my mother knew I had to speak, but the Spirit knew and told her that I needed her encouraging words.
from http://eldersokol.blogspot.com

Her call that morning was such a comfort to me as we spoke. I felt a sweet embrace of her love over the phone that I desperately needed. I survived my talk, though the fear of speaking has not eluded me. I still can feel the love of my mother’s tender embrace a thousand miles away while she and my father are serving their sixth mission in their mid-80s. What examples they are to me of the desire to serve with such faith.

I love Elder Ballard’s counsel to us, to cherish and love our mothers, and our daughters. I know at times it may take great effort by both, but its sweet rewards are worth any sacrifice.

As I contemplate the purpose of our meeting tonight, I see optimism and joy in our journey while here on earth. Your influence for good as young Primary girls, Young Women, and Relief Society sisters is so influential. Relief Society sisters, you are preparing and nurturing future wives, mothers, Primary leaders, visiting teachers, Relief Society Sisters, missionaries, bishops, husbands and honorable priesthood holders.

Sister Julie B. Beck, former General Relief Society President, stated,

“I hope my granddaughters will understand that Relief Society today is organized after a pattern of discipleship that existed in the ancient Church. When the Savior organized His Church in New Testament times, ‘women were vital participants in [His] ministry.’”

I too have a strong desire that my granddaughters understand the divine institution and purpose of Relief Society. I can already see their bright future, because of their faithful mothers.

Growing up, I was one of five daughters and one brother. We learned at an early age to help our mother to serve others. I look at these very faithful women now, my sisters, and see the fruits of what we were taught. I am most grateful for my own daughters and daughters-in-law and the way they have honored their Father in Heaven by raising righteous families, as they are great examples of Relief Society sisters in action. 

I am very grateful for my youngest daughter, Becca, who has shown me how to be a faithful young Relief Society sister, by putting her spiritual arms around others who may not feel so inclined to come to Relief Society, or institute or other church activities. That is really all they need.

One way we can help young girls prepare to understand and know who they are, is by allowing them to work alongside their mothers and other valiant women in their ward. How many of you Relief Society sisters remember assisting your mother take meals to a new mother or family in need, pray for and faithfully visit teach her sisters, and care for others in their ward? Through your example, you are helping future Relief Society sisters nurture a great love for this wonderful organization.

To the Relief Society sisters, please remember that no matter your circumstance (as a single woman, divorced, widowed, young single adult, young mother, mother of teens, empty nester, grandmother) you each have a specific purpose on this earth as a daughter in the Lord’s kingdom. We are here to lift one another, watch over, and to minister to one another. Young daughters need someone to look up to who will show them the Lord’s path, not that of the world. 
from http://2.bp.blogspot.com

Perhaps there are some of you who are unsure of your role as a Relief Society sister. I challenge you to read the book Daughters in My Kingdom. I testify that as you do, you will have a much better understanding of God’s love for you,and your special role in the Lord’s work of salvation.

Young single adults, each of you is a Relief Society sister, but perhaps you feel that you are not a part of this organization. My counsel to you is to forget yourself and get to work in this great organization. Seek out ways to lift those you visit teach, your friends and your family. Seek ways that you can lift the burden of a young sister or an elderly person; be an example of righteous behavior to the young men you associate with and perhaps date. Just reach out and serve and realize how wonderful it feels to not worry so much about what isn’t going right, but what you can make right.

Relief Society sisters, younger girls are always mindful of your actions. They need you to be an example of how to be in the world, but not of the world. They will see your example in the work of salvation and realize they too in their earlier years can aid in this great effort. They need to see you draw strength from the Lord through prayer, scripture study, church attendance, attending the temple, and honoring your covenants.

By so doing, you are “increasing faith and personal righteousness.” 

No matter what your relationship might be with your daughters or young girls you may teach, remember they ALL need your love, your time, and your nurturing. Utilize the Spirit to know how you can influence these young girls for good. As you work on strengthening your own relationships in your own homes with a spouse, family members and loved ones, they will know and witness for themselves the importance of strong and faithful families. They will want to mirror what they see. We are nurturing future wives and mothers of Zion and how else will they know if we do not teach them so.

By so doing you are “strengthening families and homes.” 

Relief Society sisters, you need each other as you minister as Christ would minister, as you look beyond your own needs, and as you pray and seek for personal revelation and act on what sisters in your ward or neighborhood need. Your own personal frustrations and particular wants will soon vanish.

By so doing, you are “seeking out and helping those in need.” 

As a young girl growing up, I had the privilege of being taught not only by my wonderful, faithful mother, but also by many other women. I gleaned from my YW leaders, the wives of each of my bishops, cheerful and loving neighbors, my mother’s visiting teachers, other women who would also serve us, or watching the countless times my mother would serve sisters in need. I desired at an early age to seek after the example of righteous women. 

I watched carefully the things that touched my heart that whispered to me that these are the examples I should follow, that pointed the way for the kind of woman I desired to become, that would help me return back to my Heavenly Father. I must have known at an early age that this was something of great importance and not to be trifled with. Even though not all women become mothers on this earth, we are all mothers as we nurture and love those we influence.

When I think of why it is so challenging for some young girls to enter into Relief Society, it may appear that Relief Society is just a place “old ladies” go during the last hour of church. However, Relief Society is not just for your mom or your grandmother. Relief Society is for all women ages 18 and older. 

Today there are more than five-and-a-half million Relief Society sisters in 170 countries throughout the world. When you turn 18, that number will be even larger. How exciting it is to know that you will be part of such a large and exciting organization. Never forget that Heavenly Father created the Relief Society for each of His daughters. It is one of His many gifts to you to help you throughout your mortal life.

Right now you are being taught vital truths in Primary and Young Women that are preparing you to become a Relief Society sister, to help build up the kingdom of God, and to hopefully one day become a mother in Zion. You have the ability right now to help and lift others and be great examples of chaste and virtuous young daughters. Our Father in Heaven is so pleased when we exercise our ability to be charitable in our earlier years as we serve alongside our mothers, fathers, Primary and Young Women leaders.

Alma 38:2:
And now, my son [or my daughter], I trust that I shall have great joy in you, because of your steadiness and your faithfulness unto God; for as you have commenced in your youth to look to the Lord your God, even so I hope that you will continue in keeping his commandments; for blessed is he that endureth to the end.

President Thomas S. Monson has stated, “My message to the young men and women of the Church is begin now to learn in your youth the joy of service in the cause of the Master.”

In the book Daughters in My Kingdom, President Hinckley states, 

“Let me say to you sisters that you do not hold a second place in our Father’s plan for the eternal happiness and well-being of His children. You are an absolutely essential part of that plan.

“Without you the plan could not function. Without you the entire program would be frustrated. . . .

“Each of you is a daughter of God, endowed with a divine birthright. You need no defense of that position. . . .

“. . . There is strength and great capacity in the women of this Church. There is leadership and direction, a certain spirit of independence, and yet great satisfaction in being a part of this, the Lord’s kingdom, and of working hand in hand with the priesthood to move it forward.”

I love and admire you dear Relief Society sisters for the great examples of hope, faith and charity you are to me. I am never too old to stop gleaning from your wonderful examples.

I am so grateful for the bright star of hope that I see in each of you young girls and young women. Let this special evening be a deciding factor that you will follow only the examples of righteous women and men. Live your lives with virtue and immovable values.

This is a glorious time to be alive. Though challenges may certainly arise, we must stand at the forefront as defenders, guardians of the hearth, valiant, noble, and righteous women, as did Mary, Elizabeth, Ruth, and Emma. We can work together, and we must work together to hedge up the way and light the path.

We are Daughters in His Kingdom!