At some point in my life I realized a truth about myself: I am not particularly mild-mannered or quiet. In fact, I am fairly confident, bold, sometimes loud, and often forceful. In the last few months a scripture in the Book of Mormon jumped out at me and became a personal mantra: "Use boldness, but not overbearance. . ."(Alma 38:12).
It was a timely epiphany for me. While I have to be aware of how I use my traits, so as not to be overbearing, the Lord does not need me to pretend to be someone I am not. As a matter of fact, today more than ever, the world needs strong women.
My strength is a virtue, and my voice needs to be heard. My Heavenly Father values my strong personality and loves my bold stand. Of course, as with all things, Satan has created a counterfeit that is increasingly enticing women to turn their backs on the real source of their strength. Over a decade ago, Sister Margaret D. Nadauld, spoke boldly about our divine attributes:
"Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity."Do not mistake my call for women of strength to be a call for modern feminists. Believing that women should be treated with respect and that my views should be heard does not translate to asking to be treated like a man. I am grateful to be a woman with a special responsibility and God-given calling to stand for truth and righteousness while teaching those of the rising generation to do the same.
As I have embraced my new mantra to be bold but not overbearing, I have felt over and over again the hand of the Lord in my life. I have felt the thrill of being an instrument in His hands more often than ever before. I have received a witness that strong women who will "bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves" (Romans 15:1) are a vital part of the Lord's Church and His work.
I invite each of you women to renew the covenants you have made to serve your Father in Heaven. The world needs women who will boldly stand for truth and righteousness. It takes courage to shine our light, to be noticed, to stop shrinking in the shadows. It takes work to study the doctrines, know what has been taught about our role, and to then fulfill it. I was thrilled today while reading the words of a hymn to come across these lyrics: "Let each heart be the heart of a lion." I publicly announce (as I have before) that I am a lioness at the gate of my home. I invite each of you to do the same with a renewed resolve to safeguard our families.
I pray that each of us may recognize the strength that we already have while also acknowledging our weakness. I pray that we will turn to the Lord to increase our strength, so that we can, with united hearts, proclaim as did Ammon: "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things" (Alma 26:12).
I pray that today we will each answer the call to be strong women of God. The Church needs us. The world needs us. Our families need us.