Madness need not be all breakdown. It may also be break-through. It is potential liberation and renewal as well as enslavement and existential death
Through the blessings of the priesthood, the Lord shows us that He is "no respecter of persons." In my travels, I usually have the chance to visit members in their homes. Some of those homes are very basic dwellings. At first I would say to myself: "Why am I blessed with a house that has electricity and plumbing when this family does not even have water near their home? Does the Lord love them less than He loves me?"
Then one day I sat in a temple next to a sister who lives in a humble house. I spent two hours at her side. I looked often into her beautiful eyes and saw the love of the Lord in them. As we finished our work in the temple, I had a powerful realization. In all of the eternal blessings, in all of our most important privileges and opportunities, we were equals. I had been "baptized unto repentance," and so had she. I had spiritual gifts, and so did she. I had the opportunity to repent, and so did she. I had received the Holy Ghost, and so had she. I had received temple ordinances, and so had she. If both of us had left this world together at that moment, we would have arrived equal before the Lord in our blessings and potential.
Priesthood blessings are the great equalizer. Those blessings are the same for men and women, for boys and girls; they are the same for married and single, rich and poor, for the intellectual and the illiterate, for the well-known and the obscure.
But Shakespeare was wrong—“To be, or not to be” is not the question at all. There are other options beyond that simple contradiction. For my taste, I’d have Hamlet turn to the audience and say: “Knowing that I am a child of God, what need I do and be to live up to this potential? That is the question.” Now, I understand that such an edit would hopelessly ruin one of the greatest literary masterpieces of all time. Nevertheless, if I were writing a script for you, that is how I would word it.
Think of where you came from. You are sons and daughters of the greatest, most glorious being in the universe. He loves you with an infinite love. He wants the best for you. Do you think our Father in Heaven wants you to feel depressed and sad? He wants no such thing. He has provided the commandments, which are the royal road to a life of purpose, peace, and joy. All we need to do is follow it. Knowing and living God’s commandments really do lead to fulfillment and to joy.
Our destiny is greater than we can imagine. If only we understood who we are and what is in store for us, our hearts would overflow with such gratitude and happiness that it would enlighten even the darkest sorrows with the light and love of God, our Heavenly Father. The next time you feel unhappy, remember where you came from and where you are going. Rather than focus on things that dampen your thoughts with sorrow, choose to focus on those things that fill your soul with hope. You will realize that these things are always connected to serving God and our fellowmen. Remember that the Lord has given you His word in the scriptures. Pray earnestly to Him; talk with Him daily. Learn of Him, and walk in His way. Serve God and serve your fellowmen.
Remember that there is “a time to weep” but also “a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:4). If your heart has been heavy for a while, perhaps it is time to allow the light of the Son of God into your heart. I plead with you—just look into the water and see your true reflection! Realize the purpose for which you were created! Lift your face toward the far horizon!
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.
"As children of God we are somebody. He will build us, mold us, and magnify us if we will but hold our heads up, our arms out, and walk with him."
Excellence is the difference between what I do and what I am capable of.
Believe in God our Eternal Father, He who is greatest of all, who stands ever ready to help us and who has the power to do so. Believe in Jesus Christ, the Savior and the Redeemer of mankind, the worker of miracles, the greatest who ever walked the earth, the Intercessor with our Father. Believe in the power of the Holy Ghost to lead, to inspire, to comfort, to protect. Believe in the Prophet Joseph, as an instrument in the hands of the Almighty in ushering in this the dispensation of the fulness of times.
Believe in the sacred word of God, the Holy Bible, with its treasury of inspiration and sacred truth; in the Book of Mormon as a testimony of the living Christ. Believe in the Church as the organization that the God of Heaven established for the blessing of His sons and daughters of all generations of time.
Believe in yourselves as sons and daughters of God—men and women with unlimited potential to do good in the world. Believe in personal virtue. There is no substitute for it anywhere under the heavens. Believe in your power to discipline yourselves against the evils that could destroy you.
If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.
It's not who we are that holds us back, it's who we think we're not.