With twenty minutes left in a particularly trying sacrament meeting, I mentally consoled myself, “It’s OK, you don’t have a calling anymore. You can skip Sunday School and Relief Society today.”
No sooner had the thought flickered through my brain, when my little girl turned to me and said, “If you go home, I’m coming too!”
In a heartbeat, my youngest son added his plea,”Take me too!”
“I’m not going home,” I whispered across the bench, “we’re all staying.” I did stay, but I spent the next few hours wondering what expression or body language betrayed my thoughts to my little mind readers. And realizing, once again, the tremendous impact I have on their attitudes and actions.
Even the most novice chess player recognizes the most powerful piece in the game– not the king, nor the bishops, the leaping knights or the eager pawns– but the elegant, versatile queen. She moves powerfully across the board influencing the moves of every other piece.
My sister recently suggested Satan is working extra hard to discourage me because I am the queen of my household. Not the ‘dripping diamonds, bring me a cake’ sort of ruler, but the ‘my actions shape everyone else’ kind.
I’m a believer of the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other, perhaps not literally, but in theory. I do believe we are each tempted in unique ways. I consider myself relatively unimportant: I don’t make any money or have important connections, most days I talk to very few people outside my home. In church I’m leading activities for seven Cub Scouts and I’m pretty shy about even updating my Facebook page. Ask the world, and my influence score is shockingly low.
But for my children and the people around me, I DO matter. And I can’t be toppled by those minions whispering, “you’re worthless” “no one needs you here” “why even try?” In fact I’d very much like to be one of those women who when I get up in the morning the devil says, “Oh no! She’s awake again.”
We are all, each of us (mothers or wives or not) more powerful than we believe. I love the concept in Acts describing the Christian missionaries preaching to the ‘chief women’ of the community (17:4). These missionaries understood women as the spiritual barometer of their cities and towns. Yes, men may hold most of the leadership positions in ancient and modern churches but it’s women who sway families, groups of youth, communities. Think about it, you probably know several families where the mother still brings her children to church even when spouse isn’t interested, but the reverse is extremely rare. Hmm, maybe that’s why men hold so many leadership positions– because we are needed on the benches!
My little chess mavens taught me the best way to defeat the queen is to distract her; create all kinds of chaos around her, then take her down. Our world could scarcely contain more distractions for women– beauty secrets, social networks, PTA, Pinterest– we are expected to hide our wrinkles, watch our weight, serve the community, maintain a career (at least a little something on the side), all while nurturing children, making dinner and cultivating a happy marriage.
For me, staying on my game means making choices, eliminating too much busyness and shutting out the voices of discouragement. I’m determined to ignore those minions whispering cruelties in my ear. I’m brushing them off, stomping on their little tails and sweeping them out my back door. I need to live boldly, happily and guide my children along with me. No influence?! Look at these people I’m sending out into the world– honest, smart, good and kind.
No one can take me down; I’m the queen.