April 2016 Visiting Teaching Message
This month’s visiting teaching message, builds on the message from last month that we are made in the image of a gendered God. It states:
The scriptures teach us that “we are the offspring of God” (Acts 17:29). God referred to Emma Smith, wife of the Prophet Joseph Smith, as “my daughter” (D&C 25:1). The family proclamation teaches us that we are each “a beloved spirit … daughter of heavenly parents.”
We are daughters of Heavenly Parents! Every spirit has both a Heavenly Father and Mother. Of course we all feel we have a Heavenly Mother, but it is nice to have it directly stated and recognized by our leaders. The Family Proclamation helps us to understand that we are the offspring of a Heavenly Mother as well as a Heavenly Father. How do you nurture your identity as divine female offspring, when our Heavenly Mother is so infrequently mentioned or discussed in our correlated curriculum?
Consider replacing references to “Father” with “Heavenly Parents” or “Heavenly Mother” as an exercise to see how it impacts your sense of worth and connection to deity. Earthly families know the importance of both fathers and mothers in building a happy home. How might you deepen your spirituality by more frequently reflecting on the existence of our Heavenly Mother?
Try it with this Elder Holland quote from the message.
“Your Mother in Heaven knows your name and knows your circumstance,”
“She hears your prayers. She knows your hopes and dreams, including your fears and frustrations.”
How does that feel? Is Heavenly Mother interchangeable with Heavenly Father? Does their love feel any different to you?
In this month’s message, Sister Stephens stresses the importance of each diverse individual in the family of God:
“We each belong to and are needed in the family of God,” said Sister Stephens. “Earthly families all look different. And while we do the best we can to create strong traditional families, membership in the family of God is not contingent upon any kind of status—marital status, parental status, financial status, social status, or even the kind of status we post on social media.”
What unique qualities to you bring to your immediate family? How are you needed in your ward family? What does your existence bring to the family of God? Are any of these qualities in you dependent on status?
Finally, consider closing your visit with a Heavenly-Mother infused version of a favorite primary song that invariably fills me with a sense of belonging to both a Heavenly Father and Mother. Reflect on how the temporary change in lyrics makes you feel.
Heavenly Mother, are you really there?
And do you hear and answer ev’ry child’s prayer?
Some say that heaven is far away,
But I feel it close around me as I pray.
Heavenly Mother, I remember now
Something that Jesus told disciples long ago:
“Suffer the children to come to me.”
Mother, in prayer I’m coming now to thee.
Pray, she is there;
Speak, she is list’ning.
You are her child;
Her love now surrounds you.
She hears your prayer;
She loves the children.
Of such is the kingdom, the kingdom of heav’n.