Motherhood (Divine Nature of Women series 8 of 7)

Dear Reader,

We decided to do one more email in the Divine Nature of Women series on Motherhood seeing as Mother’s Day is coming up soon. This email is definitely for moms BUT if you’re not a mom, this email is still for you! This email is for women especially, but I think even men will get something out of it. At least, that’s my hope, so stick with me. 

Last week, I signed out the email with my name, which isn’t something I normally do in our newsletters, but there’d been a few people replying to ask who was writing the educational emails for Cedar Fort, so I decided to throw it in. 

If you didn’t see it, my name is Emily Clark, and I work in the marketing department. So far I’ve done two educational email sequences for Cedar Fort. The B.O.M Series and The Divine Nature of Women Series, each consisting of 7 or 8 emails. 

And here’s my mug: 

Good to meet you! 


I’m 40 years old, almost 41, truth be told (7 Days! Eek!) I’m not married, and I don’t have kids. I’m in the Adult Singles ward, and since I joined the “Adult” singles almost a decade ago, I’ve seen it over and over again on mother’s day: single women not showing up to sacrament meeting on Mother’s Day, grieving that they’re in this specific time of life, not married and with no kids. Mother’s day is HARD for single women. (Though, I suspect Father’s day is hard for single men as well.) 


As I was preparing this series, Dru Huffaker, our Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Acquisitions, and Events, came into my office, and I mentioned that I wanted to write a email for this series on Motherhood, but that I, knowing how hard Mother’s Day can be on single women, was worried it would polarize any singles reading this email. 


Before I continue, you should know that Dru is a mother of 6 children and 18 grandchildren, (though you wouldn’t believe it to look at her!) 


Know what she said to me? She said, “I’ll tell you a secret. Mothers don’t like Mother’s day either.” (I read this article to my sister before we sent it out, she’s a mother of five, and she confirmed this sentiment. Anyone else? Raise of hands?)


Which led into a conversation about how mother’s often listen to talks about all these great mom’s and start to feel like they don’t measure up, which in turn makes them feel guilty. It’s said that Mother’s Day is the least attended sacrament meeting of the year because so many women feel like it’s a guilt trip, feel unworthy, or that it's straight up not for them.

It reminded me of all these studies that have shown social media can cause depression in people because all they’re seeing is highlights from other’s lives, and they compare their worst days to the best days of their friends. 

Why do we do this to ourselves? Well, I guess this is a great way to loop back to the first email in the series: The Struggle with Feeling Worthy. (If you haven’t read it, you’ll want to check it out.)

So, I decided then and there that I wanted something really special for this email. Wanted women to read it and feel amazing about the topic, no matter where they stood. 

I’ve spent the last couple months talking to friends and family to brainstorm, and finally had an amazing conversation with my good friend, Stephanie Fowers. She’s a clean romance author, and she and I know one another because we’ve both written clean romance books for multi-author series we were in together. 

You’ve already seen her name in this email series. A couple times actually.

I listed her under LDS Authors in The Blessing of Being a Woman in the Latter-days, and again last week, she added her thoughts to the Women in the Scriptures and What We Can Learn from Them by talking about Shiphrah and Puah—the midwives who refused to kill male babies and in so doing, saved Moses—among many others. 

In talking with her about this subject, she said, “Why don’t you write about Moses’ biological mother and Pharaoh's Daughter.”

It was like a light turned on in my mind. And for weeks, I’ve been thinking about how I’d do it. Stephanie sent me a talk on it, which I didn’t get to read until last week, and I was surprised to see it was in a Word document. I thought the talk was someone else’s, but no, it was my friend’s, and it was amazing! 

And I have to expound on this just a little more. Despite my age and single status, I’ve always had a really positive outlook about where I am. Do I want to get married? Absolutely. If it’s the right person. Do I want children? Of course! If it’s in the right circumstances. 

Because I’ve had this attitude, I’ve been able to escape the overwhelming sadness so many of my single friends have experienced. But that yearning is still inside me. My family may tease that it’s deep inside but it’s there. (Promise. *wink) And after reading Stephanie’s talk, I knew for sure, because it had me in tears. It is hands down one of the most beautiful talks on motherhood, no matter if you are a biological mother, like Dru Huffaker, our Executive Vice President, or not, like myself and my friend, Stephanie. 

Stephanie kindly gave her permission for me to use it here because after reading it, I just couldn’t imagine doing a better job than she did.

So here it is. (Do keep in mind that this was written for a talk she gave in sacrament meeting for Mother’s Day.) 

And before you jump in, here’s a pic of Stephanie’s mug:


My Mother’s day talk:

Jochebed and Pharaoh’s Daughter

by Stephanie Fowers


As I was preparing for this talk and having technical difficulties and especially when I realized I’d have to start writing my talk all over again after it got erased, words of encouragement kept running through my head. “That’s okay, babe. You’ll be fine. You’re smart. You’ve got this, dear heart.”

“Dear heart?”

It was the “Dear heart” that tipped me off. I don’t say “Dear heart.” Either I was losing it or I was hearing my mother’s voice in my head. I prefer the option that didn’t mean I was hallucinating, of course!

Thinking about my mother calling me “dear heart” made me smile since my talk is about . . . mothers.

It also made me very grateful that my mother was so supportive when I was growing up. I might’ve had different, more negative thoughts running through my head if she hadn’t been so encouraging.

I remember sitting in a child development class once and watching a video about how kids learned right from wrong. The video said that from a very early age, as children make their choices, that they’d recall the things that their parents said. I remember a vivid shot of a toddler holding his hand out to a frying pan and then a thought bubble over the kid’s head where it showed his parents wagging their fingers and saying, “No!”

As I watched it, I realized that also happens to me in high-stress situations like when I have to take a test or run a race or talk in public. The words that come to me then are: “You can do it. One foot in front of the other. Get it over with and then you can sit back and relax!”

And though my dad had a good hand in raising me too (believe it or not I’ve also given quite a few father’s day talks about what I’ve learned from him), it’s my mother’s voice that keeps popping into my head during these times of high stress: whether it’s for encouragement, or as a caution, or just as advice; and it helps me realize how important mothers are and what a difference they can make for us all.

Today, I want to talk about two kinds of mothers—ones like mine, who have children and do the best that they can, but might question every day if they’re doing it right. And then women like me who affect the lives of children, though they don’t have any.

Biblically, I want to compare these two mothers to Moses’ mother, Jochebed, and Pharaoh’s daughter in Exodus.

These were two very different women with the same calling: to raise Moses.

First we’ll talk about Jochebed, Moses’ biological mother.

She lived in hard times. As we know, Pharaoh was so afraid of the slaves taking over that he ordered all the infant boys killed:

In Exodus 2: 1-4, it reads:  And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi.

2 And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.

3 And when she could no longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink.

4 And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him.

Jochebed is an example of a mother who’s hit troubled times—be it financial, worry over children’s spiritual welfare and/or their or her own health, day-to-day struggles, heartbreak, you name it. Jochebed is a mother who has to trust Heavenly Father completely as she tries her best to fulfill her mission as a mother and to raise her children.

One of my sisters has teenagers. And just like many mothers in her situation, she struggles with her relationship with her children as they grow into their independence. My sister confided in me one day regarding her sixteen year old; “I’m afraid I’m losing her. She doesn’t turn to me like she used to.” But my sister does everything she can to get her daughter to participate in scripture study; they bond by organizing the pantry—believe it or not—and recently, my sister even took up the banjo just so they could play duets together.

To my teenage niece, my older sister is Jochebed.

A younger sister of mine has five boys (going on six) all under the age of ten. They create a scene everywhere they go—to the store, at church—they even got a star role in a documentary about misbehaving children in sacrament meeting. Her two-year-old can only say, “Ya” but that means “No.” Her eight-year-old son just crashed the car into the garage two days ago. And yet she has prayers with her children every night and just this week, she invited me and the neighbor kids for a flash Cinco de Mayo party with her kids where she made a piñata out of a shoe box and stuffed it with leftover Easter candy.

To her family (and to some of the kids in her neighborhood), she is Jochebed.

When I found out I was talking today, I remembered that my mom gave a talk last year on mother’s day (which I recalled because she lamented loudly that she’d much rather eat bonbons and watch the primary kids sing). I asked to see her talk and this is what my mom had to say about her own mother: 

She said: “Both my mother and her mother had a lot in common. Both of these wonderful women were widowed at a young age, each with many children to raise in limited circumstances. They faced their challenges bravely and were frugal, hardworking, and self-reliant. My Mom was the youngest girl in her large family. She was a cute redhead, and we enjoyed a pretty normal life until she was widowed at age 35. With five children, she soon saw that being a waitress was not going to support us (in spite of her tips—I TOLD you she was a cute redhead!), so she decided to study to be a nurse. During that time, mom said that she developed nearly every symptom that she had read about during her classes—miraculously, our entire household regained our health when she graduated.”

My mom gave a glowing and comedic account of these hard times in her talk, but there was also a troubling, sadder side that she didn’t talk about. My grandmother was a single mother at 35 with no one to help her. Of course, my grandmother was scared that she couldn’t make ends meet. She was tired, sometimes irritable. She remarried, experienced many failed relationships, and her small family had hardships that my mother still has a tough time dealing with today. My grandmother struggled and worked long hours. Her church attendance suffered.

And yet . . .

When my grandmother died, my older brother was asked to dedicate her grave. On his way there, he kept thinking about how church never seemed like a big deal to her. He stood at the graveside and he wondered if dedicating her grave wasn’t something she even wanted or had prepared for. These dark thoughts kept lingering until they were interrupted with an even clearer, stronger thought that said, “You do not know my daughter as I do. You do not understand the trials that she went through. She fulfilled her mission. Dedicate this grave.”

And so my brother dedicated her gravesite and he did so in faith.

To me and most especially to my mom, for whom my grandmother meant so much, my grandmother is Jochebed.

Mothers are not perfect. Family life isn’t either, but we all have our own mission here on earth. Our Father in Heaven works with us all and helps our faith to grow. For some, faith doesn’t happen instantly, for others they must place one foot in front of the other and make life work.

And when we think we have it bad, let’s for a moment, think about the trials that Jochebed went through—in order to keep her baby safe from the Egyptians, she had to place that child in a basket of reeds and send him floating down a dangerous and dirty river. Moses could’ve drowned. He could’ve been spied and killed, but instead? Jochebed put her trust in God, and guess what? Marvelous and wonderful things happened. Miracles even. Can we do that?

Because no matter what trials and disappointments happen in the home, mothers must keep intact, in fact, must depend on their spiritual connection with Heavenly Father in order to raise their children. They must know that this child was God’s first and that no matter what paths they take, He always had and still has a plan for their growth, learning, and progression in this life.


Now, I’d like to talk about this second mother in Exodus: Pharaoh’s Daughter.

In Exodus 2: (5-6), it says:  “And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river's side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it.

And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, ‘This is one of the Hebrews' children.’

I’d like to say that Pharaoh’s daughter is a woman that, despite not having children of her own, looks beyond herself and has a maternal influence over those who need it.

Last year, my friend—who is about my age and has had no prior children before this—got married to a man only four years her senior and became an insta-grandma at the age of 38. This means that not only does she now have stepchildren, but those stepchildren have children. My friend, who had thought that she’d never have any children, now has three stepchildren in high school and she is raising a step-granddaughter and, as of this Saturday, is officially adopting that granddaughter as her own. My friend took this all on with courage and a laid back attitude. There have been many miracles involved in getting her family to where it is now.

To her new family, my friend is like Pharaoh’s daughter.

One day, my sister, Jacqueline (who is also in this ward—there she is over there) was driving a niece and nephew around during a family reunion. This niece and nephew are both children from different siblings and are as different as can be. One is a too-cool-for-school seventeen year-old-girl and the other is a rambunctious, bobble-headed eight-year-old boy who always gets into mischief—remember the crushed garage door? Yeah, that’s him. 

My sister, Jacqueline, was in the middle of teasing our niece. I’m sure our niece was probably texting at the time because she’s THAT cool, when Jacqueline said, “Well, since I don’t have kids of my own, I need someone to take care of me in my old age. Hey, if you do, I’ll leave all my money to you.”

Of course, the joke was that Jack doesn’t have ANY money and my sister was going to go on about all the horrible things Samantha would have to do to take care of her. But then my nephew piped up in the back and completely ruined the teasing moment by saying, “You know, Jacqueline. Even though you don’t have kids, it’s like you do. You have more kids than anybody. All of your nieces and nephews are like your kids. We’ll all take care of you when you’re old.”

Our sophisticated niece got really quiet in the car and later, she said, “I couldn’t even talk. I was going to cry.”

I love those kids.

Both this teenage girl and this rambunctious boy have a special bond with Jacqueline. They love and respect her because she cares about them. To them, she’s Pharaoh’s daughter.

In my last ward, I got to work with the young women (strangely enough, all of us leaders working with the young women weren’t married and we had no experience with raising our own children, so we were going at this blind). Some of the beehives that we worked with came from families who were trying to better their lives after leaving the homeless shelter. Their own mothers were in jail, on drugs, or mentally handicapped, so a lot of responsibilities for raising these young women fell into our hands.

I thought then that I could imagine how Pharoah’s Daughter did when she pulled Moses out of the water.

We had good times with these girls, but there were also times of struggle. Some of them were really hurting. There were social media battles and problems with bullies and abuse and self-harm. We filled out food orders and tried to find them clothes; we caught bedbugs. The girls would hug us and tell us that they loved us and then the next time they saw us that they hated us. They were going through a lot!

It was tough. I felt like I was doing everything wrong. I didn’t feel like I was helping them at all. I’m not a mother and I still felt my imperfections with mothering.

And yet . . .

When my own mother came from Washington to visit, she saw me getting ready for Trek with these girls. My mom whisked out my sewing machine that I had never bothered to learn back in the day, (she always warned me that I should), and she decked these girls out as the best dressed pioneers out there with matching pink bonnets and flowing skirts.

My mother was so touched by these girls that when I looked at her Mother’s Day talk from last year, I saw that out of her 10 children (8 of whom are actual parents), that I was the one who got an honorable mention. She said:  

“One of the girls had NEVER OWNED a dress, and she just kept whirling around and then watching as the skirts settled around her, like a flower as she sat on the floor. It was an enchanting experience.”

My mom went on to say, “Then came Trek-week, and Stephanie had further ‘mom-experiences’ as her ‘children’ made their wise and unwise choices [my mom always puts everything so nicely]. She said: “They all came through that experience blistered, tired but closer than ever.

My daughter had experienced the ‘best of times, and the worst of times’ in the world of mothering. She understands motherhood more and more each day, as do we all. We learn as mothers AND daughters.” 

In this instance, I really couldn’t do it on my own. Pharaoh’s daughter and Jochebed joined forces to help out children in need.

Today, we continue to join forces. It happens for me when my siblings allow me a place in their children’s lives. Jochebed and Pharaoh’s daughter join forces again when I back up my siblings with motherly advice to their teens. We join forces when my siblings gather their kids together and make mother’s day cards for us. [Here’s mine! It might say Happy Birthday on it because my nephews think they’re sooo funny, but I’m taking it].

We join forces when we offer to babysit the younger kids and hold monthly slumber parties with the older ones. And yes, everyone here can join forces when we comfort a child of a stranger or shout out “good job” to a wobbly kid on a bike [but not too loud or he’ll fall over—guilty], or smile and wave at a friendly toddler at a grocery store.

In his “Forget me Knot” talk in a Relief Society general conference, President Uchdorft talks about an elementary school teacher who was so bitter that she didn’t have her own children that she failed to help the children all around her. He said, “The lesson here is that if we spend our days waiting for fabulous roses, we could miss the beauty and wonder of the tiny forget-me-nots that are all around us.”

And I would add, instead of getting caught up in how dirty the water was, Pharaoh’s daughter looked around the stream and saw a child who needed help.

And I would also add, instead of giving up in the face of impossible odds, Jochebed put her faith in Heavenly Father and placed her son in the stream.

Motherhood is a calling—be we Jochebed or Pharaoh’s daughter. And as with every calling, we struggle with our imperfections, but each of us brings our different skills and talents to the table. We offer what we are in the service of our fellow beings and in the service of our God. And in turn, we learn what we need to grow and to fulfill our mission in this life, and we are blessed as we bless others.

I’m grateful for my mother and for all the mothers, who are the sung and unsung heroes of our day. May we all hold onto each other with sweet embraces, lift each other up, and appreciate our differences and similarities. We must love each other as our Heavenly Father loves us, even as he blesses our efforts to be the daughters, sisters, and mothers that we are all meant to be.

Aren’t you glad you read it? 

I’ve re-read it several times already. 

You can check out all of Stephanie Fowers’ books here on Amazon. And trust me, they are fantastic. I’ve read multiple of them. 

Before we close out, we have one more thing we want to draw your attention to. If you were one of the lucky people who got to go to our Fortified in Christ event last week, you got to hear the amazing Kristina A. Bishoff play the piano. She is producing an album called DIVINE about our Heavenly Parents, which partly inspired this series, and we are so proud to support her in this endeavor. You can learn more about it, and hear one of her gorgeous songs, here

Here’s a little more about the project from her own words:

"My name is Kristina A. Bishoff and I am the music producer for DIVINE. I have been gathering a growing community of talented artists and songwriters to create this beautiful project. We are dedicated to writing uplifting music to help people embrace their own divine nature and connect with their Heavenly Mother and Heavenly Father. We believe we are all children of God."

(To learn more about this topic, click here to read the "Heavenly Parents" article.)

Thank you again so much for sticking with me through this series, encouraging me with all your wonderful responses, and for helping motivate me to keep going. This series was so difficult for me to write that my supervisor told me I could quit after the third email we sent out, (we’d gotten a couple negative comments on the first email,) but because of you, I decided to stick it out and am so glad I did. 

And no matter who you are or where you are in your journey in this life, I really and truly wish you the best of Mother’s Days. You deserve it. 



Emily Clark with The Cedar Fort Family


P.S. Read the entire Divine Nature of Women Series

  1. The Struggle with Feeling Worthy
  2. God Comes to Women
  3. The Power of a Converted Woman
  4. The Blessings of Being a Woman in the Latter-days
  5. Women and Education 
  6. Famous LDS Women
  7. Women of the Scriptures and What We Can Learn from Them
  8. Motherhood 
P.P.S. Want to learn more about how amazing women are? Check out our Celebrating Women’s collection from I See You, to Royal Daughters with Priesthood Power, to Sisters Strong here!