Last Sunday, during Relief Society, I had an opportunity to thank our outgoing Relief Society presidency and to welcome a new presidency. While I was waiting for the meeting to begin, the Spirit opened my mind to a dimension of a woman’s life that I had not seen clearly before.
I saw how women of faith, those that I have known personally and from afar, are called upon to wait patiently on the Lord in so many ways, but especially for their husbands and children and boyfriends. Certainly men must wait, too, but it is our wives and mothers and daughters that bear it in so many ways. It was to me at that moment almost the supreme office of their calling. (I am wrong on that point, but it seemed that way.)
Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. —Ecclesiastes 7:8
In an instant, I saw how young women wait patiently for young men to grow in maturity and stature so they can be treated the way they deserve and want to be treated—with kindness and dignity and respect and love and concerned attention. They wait long years for missionaries to come home, or perhaps for their boyfriends to straighten out and prepare themselves for missions or the temple or even baptism.
Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations [or trials]; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience…let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. —James 1:2–4
They wait to turn 16 and then to be asked on dates from boys they hope will ask them, or endure in patience the dates they wished they had never been asked on! Then much later there’s “When will he ask me to marry him?” After the proposal, they wait for the wedding day, for that first baby to be born, for graduation day, their own or their husbands, for that “real” job and paycheck.
Perhaps the most difficult kind of waiting is for that boyfriend or husband or son or daughter to see the light, to straighten up and fly right, to get their priorities set, to repent of sins or bad habits, many of them serious and troubling. This is the most difficult kind of waiting.
Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days. —D&C 24:8
To the women of our ward, and to all women who read this message, I sincerely thank you for all your patient waiting. Patience is a not only a virtue, it is a powerful form of faith. It is a quality of love that beckons the wayward home. Your patience does not go unnoticed, nor unheeded, though you may be waiting even now for something that is taking an unbearably long time to resolve.
You have a promise from the Lord:
Waiting patiently on the Lord, for your prayers have entered into the ears of the Lord…and are recorded with this seal and testament—the Lord hath sworn and decreed that they shall be granted. —D&C 98:2
May God grant you each of you the end of your patience. I love you and thank you with all my heart for bearing long with me as your bishop. It is one of the things that has gotten me through many trials and much anguish. May God bless you all.