~by Cindy (beingcindy.blogspot.com)
I have cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease involving all the mucus in my body, especially in the lungs and digestive tract. I am prone to frequent lung infections as a result of the thick, sticky mucus that build up in my lungs and provides a perfect place for bacteria. I am no stranger to hospitals; even at home, hours of my day are spent in respiratory therapy to help keep my airways clear enough that I can breathe.
I’ve spent a cumulative total of about four months in the hospital over the past three years. Although it always carries its share of physical and emotional ramifications, the routine of a hospitalization has become routine for my husband and me. We are old pros at the rearrangement of our plans, the time spent apart when he can see me only on the weekends, and the long recovery time afterwards when I am devoid of energy and not capable of doing much.
It is often easy, in the turmoil of daily living, to feel as if I am failing somehow as an LDS woman. Most of my friends have two or three children, while my husband and I have yet to bring even one into the world. Most people around me juggle jobs, school, motherhood, and demanding church callings, while I struggle to fill my simple roles of “wife” and “visiting teaching supervisor” (a position to which my sweet bishop and relief society president called me with my unique challenges in mind). Although I long to raise children in righteousness, to serve in my ward and community, the bulk of my day right now is taken up with therapies, medications, and much-needed resting.
I have struggled with all of these doubts and insecurities so often that sometimes I feel as though they are well-trodden byways in my heart and mind.
For most of my life, I had the unconscious impression that the role of a righteous woman mostly related to raising her children. I’ve always been excited for motherhood, and had a deep testimony of the divine nature of that calling. But when I got married, knowing that my husband and I would need to wait until I was in better health to have children, I began to realize that the divine nature of a righteous woman is not limited to raising her children—as blessed a calling as that is. A truly righteous woman is a person of power, a person with the right and responsibility of creating a home that “compares to temples in sacredness” (Bible Dictionary), whether or not that home belongs to her alone, to her and her husband, or to a large family.
Most of all, a righteous woman is a woman who willingly turns her heart, her spirit, and her life over to the Lord.
Early in my marriage, I felt Heavenly Father leading me often to study out what it meant to be a righteous woman. The knowledge I gained in my self-assigned course of study has lifted me through the last three years, reassuring me that even in my unusual circumstances, I am seen, loved, and cherished by the Lord. I am reminded, also, that as a righteous woman I have great purpose and power—power in my own life, to turn to the Lord and allow Him to make of me what He wants; power in my home, to make it a refuge and a haven from the world for my husband and I, and for any who come into it; power to touch and bless the lives of those around me, often in ways I do not recognize or realize.
I have learned that the Lord loves all of his daughters intimately and perfectly, and that love has helped me through everything that has come my way: long days and lonely nights in the hospital, the heartache of current childlessness, and the frustrated afternoons when I find myself in angry tears over yet another physical setback. This testimony has brought light to my life and joy to my days. It has helped me to find and embrace the purpose that the Lord has for my own, unique life. It has helped me as I work to fulfill that purpose, and as I seek to bring the Lord into every aspect of my life.
And in the end, that seeking is at the heart of what it means to be a righteous woman.