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“Part of the tragedy you must avoid is to discover too late that you missed an opportunity to prepare for a future only God could see for you.” —PRESIDENT HENRY B. EYRING
God needs you to prepare now to become a leader. This statement might sound a bit strong to some of you, but I believe it with all my soul. Why? Because I hear it from two sources: Church leaders and directly from my Heavenly Father. In this chapter, I make a case for the first. I’ll provide many statements and teachings that will help you consider more deeply the role that covenant-keeping women have today and in the years and decades ahead. But you’ll need to do the second part yourself. This book will guide you along that path, but it is ultimately up to you to receive that confirmation and guidance from your Heavenly Father.
Personal revelation on these concepts and principles may come quickly if you welcome the Spirit as you read and ponder, but it could also take more time and work than you expect. Each of you has a path of growth that will be unlike your friends’ or any other woman’s. The path you will take is only yours, but you don’t have to walk it alone. Talk about what you are reading with your friends, Young Women leaders, parents, and even the sisters you minister to. I promise that personal revelation will come if you do your part. And I hope you learn to recognize the whisperings of the Spirit in new ways. Spiritual moments matter.
A year after inspired changes were made to the Young Women program, the Young Women General Presidency shared the follow- ing reflection on November 5, 2020, in the Church News: “Heavenly Father loves all of His young daughters all over the world, and He sees them as young women who are exercising faith in Jesus Christ. As time goes on, they will continue to be women of God, knowing how to serve, lead, love and minister in Christ’s holy name.” The path is being prepared for you to serve. What a choice time to learn to “serve, lead, love and minister.”
In his powerful 2015 general conference talk titled “A Plea to My Sisters,” President Russell M. Nelson made a statement that I think about often: “It would be impossible to measure the influence that such women have, not only on families but also on the Lord’s Church, as wives, mothers, and grandmothers; as sisters and aunts; as teachers and leaders; and especially as exemplars and devout defenders of the faith. This has been true in every gospel dispensation since the days of Adam and Eve. Yet the women of this dispensation are distinct from the women of any other because this dispensation is distinct from any other. This distinction brings both privileges and responsibilities.”
President Nelson is saying that women in the Church right now are distinct from women who have lived on this earth at any other time. It is a different time and a different world. We have different temptations and different challenges. We need to be prepared in different ways for different opportunities. This book will explore what all that means for teen and young adult women today. Our homes, schools, universities, workplaces, communities, and governments are different than they used to be. However, “different” doesn’t mean bad; it just means differ- ent. As you may remember, President Nelson has also encouraged us to take our vitamins and get some rest because exciting days are ahead.
Our Heavenly Parents, who know each of you perfectly, have reserved you to come to earth at this specific time in the history of the world. They knew that the stakes would be higher and the opposition would be more intense than ever before. Yet, they chose you to come now for very specific reasons. I don’t know the reasons, and you probably don’t either, but they will become clear as you move forward on a purposeful path of preparation. The challenges you face and the opportunities you create and receive are intentionally designed to refine you so that you can prepare to influence in ways no one else can. And there is no other time in the history of the world that we as women have been faced with “greater complexity in [our] concerns.” According to Sheri L. Dew, former counselor in the General Relief Society Presidency, “We are living in a day unlike any other, which means it is time for us to do things we have never done before.” And, as one recent Ensign article taught, women in the Church “individually and as a united whole, are needed to lead, not follow, the world.”
To paraphrase Winston Churchill, former prime minister of the United Kingdom (replacing “man” and “his” with “woman” and “her”): “To every woman there comes in her lifetime that special moment when she is figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a special thing, unique to her and fitted to her talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds her unprepared or unqualified for the work which would be her finest hour.” Our Heavenly Parents need you more than ever before, as young women and adults in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to become prepared to step forward and lead in your homes, church congregations, communities, and beyond.
The following was taken from the book A Future Only God Can See For You by Susan R. Madsen, currently on sale at Cedarfort.com.