The Anticipatory Arrangements of a Heavenly Mother

This post is part of the General Conference Odyssey. This week covers the Saturday Morning Session of the April 1978 Conference.
There were some really good talks this week. I wanted to write about Elder Ashton's awesome talk on avoiding contention. It was so good! And Elder McConkie had a great talk about the Restoration of the gospel too. But then I read Elder Neal A. Maxwell's talk about women, and I decided I had to write about that! I think I have heard some quotations from this talk before, but I discovered so many more parts I liked. I had practically the whole thing highlighted! Here's one part I loved:
Special spiritual sensitivity keeps the women of God hoping long after many others have ceased.…Like Mary, they ponder trustingly those puzzlements that disable others. 
I know sometimes when someone gives a talk praising women, some women feel uncomfortable or guilty because they don't match the glowing descriptions of womanhood in the talk. But I've always thought it was obvious that the traits described are an aggregation; of course no one has all these qualities or exhibits them all the time! This is an aspirational description of what women CAN be, as they develop the qualities they've inherited from Heavenly Mother. And I love reading about how to be like Her! This quality Elder Maxwell describes, of hope and trust and optimism in the face of apparently contradictory evidence, is one I want so much to develop. It's hard to do! But I like his reference to the scripture about Mary "keeping things and pondering them in her heart," because I relate to that so acutely! I have so many questions and worries and pains that have to stay inside my heart, but Mary apparently turned all those "puzzlements" over to God, and let Him calm her heart so she wouldn't be "disabled" by them. I can do that too.

Here's another trait I want to gain:
So often our sisters comfort others when their own needs are greater than those being comforted. That quality is like the generosity of Jesus on the cross. Empathy during agony is a portion of divinity!
It's so easy to excuse myself from being nice or patient because things are hard, or I'm tired, or I'm preoccupied. But I KNOW it's not right to. Remembering the Savior's "empathy during agony" is such a great way to jolt myself out of any self-pity, and to inspire me to serve others especially during times when I'm having the most difficulties.

Another great quote, said with characteristic Maxwellian forthrightness:
I thank the Father that His Only Begotten Son did not say in defiant protest at Calvary, “My body is my own!” I stand in admiration of women today who resist the fashion of abortion, by refusing to make the sacred womb a tomb!
I can't stop thinking about that.

But this last section was maybe my favorite, especially because of the Thanksgiving holiday this week.
Finally, remember: When we return to our real home, it will be with the “mutual approbation” of those who reign in the “royal courts on high.” There we will find beauty such as mortal “eye hath not seen”; we will hear sounds of surpassing music which mortal “ear hath not heard.” Could such a regal homecoming be possible without the anticipatory arrangements of a Heavenly Mother?
I'm definitely not as skilled of a hostess as my mom or grandmother, but I love trying to make things nice in our home: setting the table beautifully, cooking extra good food, making the house feel clean and bright and light. I love it especially at this time of year. So this comparison just made me long to…I don't know…to always belong in this role, to share it forever with the great sisterhood of womankind. And to do it perfectly someday. I just love to think of Heavenly Mother bustling around making preparations like every woman does at Thanksgiving or Christmas; making a place that is lovely and beautiful and comforting, in joyful anticipation of Her family returning home.

Such a beautiful thought. I can't wait to see Her again!

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