I don't know why, but for the last few months, I have been thinking a ton about my role as a woman and a mother. Bear with me as I just throw out random thoughts.
There is definitely a war on women that has increased dramatically over the last 5 years. I can see it, feel it and sadly witness it every day of my life. There is very little sanctity and reverence for women and the role of mothers and wives.
I know for myself, my role as a mother is what I am hardest on myself about. I have been given the gift of one child and I so desperately don't want to look back and have any regrets. I have been blessed to mother one of God's divine daughters and it is my nature that she deserves only the best from me.
Last night, we had a family home evening with some of our dear friends and Sister B. We gathered to hear her story of surviving World War II. She is from Germany and was 6 years old when the war started. Her family was LDS at that time, but it was not the Nazi's they feared, it was the Russians and the Polishes (?) that made them run and flee for their lives multiple times. She shared stories of sleeping in ditches, seeing dead bodies all the time, her hometown being completely bombed, her mother being taken to be raped and murdered and then a divine hand changed the soldiers mind and sent her mother back to take care of her children. She talked of farmers who took them in and sleeping on the ground with straw for months. She calmly explained how multiple family members had passed away and how her mother would figure out how and where to bury them. Her grandfather was buried in a farmer's field with no casket and they buried him with as much dirt and rock as they could by hand so the animals would not try to dig him up. She talked about how they had no food and their 2 year old brother slowly died from starvation. Their mother was able to get a small white casket for him and he was able to be buried in a garden. A few weeks later, her grandmother died and bloated up with water. As they were taking her casket to a cemetery, they pushed her casket in a 2 wheel cart and water seeped out of the casket and left a trail. She lost an Aunt who she believes died in a concentration camp. She was hit by a car by 3 Russian soldiers and a nurse. She had a 4 week hospital stay and was taken out before she was completely healed because they were being kicked out of the country again. She got gangrene on her arm and the bone was not set correctly. They wanted to amputate her arm, but her mother slowly saved her arm by placing chamomile leaves on it as they were fleeing the country. They were placed on 1 of 2 trains to go into Chekoslavakya (sp?) and after their trained passed over a bridge, the second train did not make it over the bridge. I was later told that she could hear the screams of the people as the second train fell.
We sat in awe of this wonderful woman as she shared her life experiences. When she was done, I asked her what helped her heal through such traumatic experiences? She said 3 things:
First, her mother. Her mother had incredible strength and never gave up even in their darkest moments.
Second, their faith. Her mother had a strong faith in the church and she loved to sing in the ward choir. When they were able to finally settle with a small community in Chekoslavakya (sp?), her mother taught Primary for many years and the children loved her testimony and her music. Her mother held strong in the church even after her husband abandoned her and the children to serve in the military and had multiple relationships. As they were running, her mother always had their Book of Mormon with them.
Third, was the music. They would sing Hymns and songs from their mother to help them get through. She said the music always brought joy and they loved to sing.
All 3 still tie back to the influence of a righteous mother. Sister B showed us her scars on her arm and she is living proof of endurance, hope and love. I was inspired by her life and determination and her mother's example. It was a mother's love that saved them all.
I reflect now back to myself, and I am reflecting on how my love could help and strengthen my daughter in the war on her, myself and women in general. Thank you Sister B! I have had some very strong impressions come to me. Now, if I could just have the same courage to act upon them!