As you live up to this mission, in whatever life circumstance you find yourself—as a wife, as a mother, as a single mother, as a divorced woman, as a widowed or a single woman—the Lord our God will open up responsibilities and blessings far beyond your ability to imagine.
May I invite you to rise to the great potential within you. But don’t reach beyond your capacity. Don’t set goals beyond your capacity to achieve. Don’t feel guilty or dwell on thoughts of failure. Don’t compare yourself with others. Do the best you can, and the Lord will provide the rest. Have faith and confidence in Him, and you will see miracles happen in your life and the lives of your loved ones. The virtue of your own life will be a light to those who sit in darkness, because you are a living witness of the fulness of the gospel (see D&C 45:28). Wherever you have been planted on this beautiful but often troubled earth of ours, you can be the one to “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees” (D&C 81:5).
My dear sisters, as you live your daily life with all its blessings and challenges, let me assure you that the Lord loves you. He knows you. He listens to your prayers, and He answers those prayers, wherever on this world you may be. He wants you to succeed in this life and in eternity.
Once I heard a speaker tell the following story: A certain woman had long wanted to take a cruise and had saved her money to that end. Finally the day came when she was able to purchase a ticket for the much desired voyage.
As she carefully planned for the trip, she said to herself, ”Of course it would be wonderful to eat in the dining room of the boat. I won’t have money enough to eat all meals there, but I can take some cheese and cracker along for the first part of the trip, and then I can go to the dining room for the last meal. I’ll have money enough for one meal on the boat.”
In high spirits the good woman set out for the thrilling experience of her first water trip. At mealtime, after wistfully watching the other passengers file into the dining room, she would go off into some corner and eat her cheese and crackers, trying all the while not to be envious.
Then the last day arrived, and time for the final meal aboard ship. She went in with the other passengers “to eat in style,” as she put it.
It was one of life’s big moments for her, and she lingered long to enjoy it. When she has at last finished the meal, she sat patiently waiting for her check, but when none was presented to her, she beckoned the waiter and asked for it.
“Let me see your ticket, madam” said the waiter, and when she handed it to him, he gave it back with, “Madam, all your meals were included in the price of the ticket.”
Of that woman, without hesitation, we say: Why didn’t she look at her ticket? Or why didn’t some other passenger tell her she could eat on the boat?” But of ourselves what do we say?
Are we not all passengers on God’s big universal ocean liner? In our ignorance of what our ticket includes, do we, like the woman in the story, eat “cheese and crackers”?
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Our mission in life, as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, must be a mission of saving. . . .
If we are to build that Zion of which the prophets have spoken and of which the Lord has given mighty promise, we must set aside our consuming selfishness. We must rise above our love for comfort and ease, and in the very process of effort and struggle, even in our extremity, we shall become better acquainted with our God.
The three basic purposes of the Church should consume our efforts until the end of our mortal lives. There's not much place in the Lord's kingdom for "retirement." In fact, the idea of retirement is, in my opinion, a sick, secular notion. We may retire from an occupation, but we retire to serve missions on both sides of the veil. If we study the literature in the field of stress, we find that the key to staying healthy and vibrant is to stay involved in meaningful projects that continually excite and energize us. Such projects actually retard the degenerative forces in the body and strengthen the immune system; they can literally give us ten or more years of life. I think that's one reason why many of the General Authorities are so active at an advanced age. Since life is not a career but a mission, there's no better retirement concept than the gospel: the work goes on, we're in a constant learning mode, and we continue to grow to the very end of our lives. Every person has enormouse capacity, and we must not lose our opportunity to contribute as we get older.
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