Several years ago, one of my children was struggling, and as their mother, so was I. I felt like I was suffocating actually. But I had a meeting to attend, so I went. It was a summer meeting in a backyard with a few other families. I felt so discouraged I couldn’t talk, so I sat down. My friend Judy came over, gave me a warm hello and sat next to me. She didn’t try to talk. She was just “there.” How did she know exactly what I needed? Her presence gave me comfort that day. She has no idea how much she shared her light with me when I needed it.
This year I was sick through the Christmas season. Miraculously, women around me brought me gifts. I needed every one of those acts of love. I felt the peace that came from these inspired women.
Women of God respond to his guidance so effortlessly that you often don’t recognize the power that moves them. It runs as a tenuous undercurrent beneath their spirited steps and their quick smiles. That power is the light of Christ.
Jesus ministered to women, recognized their faith, and responded to it. Consider the witness of grieving Martha when she met Jesus after her brother Lazarus died: “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.”
Jesus taught Martha about his mission, and she confirmed her belief in his divinity: “Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.” Jesus taught Martha truths that even his apostles struggled to grasp. When Jesus commanded, “Lazarus, come forth,” Lazarus was raised from death to life as Martha knew it could be, and as only the Son of God could do (See John 11:1-44 all references KJV).
The woman of Canaan’s faith is both humble and unyielding. She sought Jesus and asked him to help her daughter. He told her he was only sent to minister to the Jews: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” She understood this but still believed he could help her. She asked again for his blessing, saying, “Lord, help me.” Jesus told her again that he couldn’t take what was meant for one and give it to another. Her faithful reply was that even a “crumb” from him—a “leftover”—would be enough. Jesus responded: “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour” (Matt 15:22-28).
I recently read the minutes from the first meeting in 1842 of the Relief Society, the women’s organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This meeting was a humble event with great vision. “We are going to do something extraordinary…we expect extraordinary occasions and pressing calls.” The group was organized. The women in the group chose a name and the church funded their fledgling organization with a five-dollar gold piece. They then moved on to their first item of business: recommending the sewing work of a widow, ensuring she be paid promptly, and emphasizing that she not be defrauded. Significant work indeed.
Currently, this little organization is in over 220 countries with more than 7.5 million members. All over the world, inspired women of the Relief Society strengthen each other spiritually and temporally. They provide food and other aid to families in their neighborhoods, minister, visit, teach self-reliance skills and provide literacy training. The handful of women who created the “extraordinary” Relief Society on the American frontier nearly 200 years ago remind us that we never know what our humble, inspired works will bring.
Jean Bingham, current worldwide president of the Relief Society, recently taught, “In times of change and uncertainty, one thing is certain: every woman is a beloved daughter of heavenly parents. And as we turn our lives to Jesus Christ, our divine light shines brightly…. As we love God and those around us, we spread peace. We build unity. We bring empathy, kindness and joy…wherever we are in the world” (Lead, lift, love video March 8, 2021).
May we expand our own opportunities to serve God by sharing his light with those around us.
Beth Wright loves this beautiful valley, and her favorite thing in the world is her family. She finds great joy in being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.