“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
My family and I live in a city where there are not many members of the church. My daughters make up two of the five Mormons that go to their school. In many ways it has been a blessing for them. It has given them the opportunity to discover their testimonies and realize their strength. It hasn’t always been easy. In fact there have been times that are just simply hard. Hard because they find themselves on a daily basis either being ridiculed for their faith, challenged by their beliefs, or having to explain what they believe and why. However, it has given them the opportunity to really discover for themselves the truth of what they have been taught and what their testimonies are based on.
I have watched as my daughters have questioned, studied, pondered, and prayed to find their own answers and to know truth. I have seen their testimonies strengthened as they have shared their faith with their peers, friends, and even teachers. They have been brave, bold, and fearless in sharing, defending, teaching, and explaining what they believe. Most of all, they have been examples to those around them by the way they live and through the choices they make.
Just as the apostle Paul taught, our living prophet, Thomas S. Monson, teaches us to:
“Be thou an example of the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12)
“We become examples of the believers by living the gospel of Jesus Christ in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, and in purity. As we do so, our lights will shine for others to see.”
I remember one day as I drove my oldest daughter home from school during her sophomore year of high school, she got in the car, completely frustrated and almost in tears. She went on to tell me about some of her peers who were, once again, making fun of her because of her religion and some of the choices she was making. She told me how tired she was of hearing these comments and trying to defend herself. I wasn’t quite sure what to say to her. I grew up in Utah where almost everyone in my high school was Mormon. I could see how hard it was for her, but it wasn’t something I had experienced in high school. I didn’t exactly know how it felt. Other than when I was on my mission and having a few experiences like this as an adult, I couldn’t fully understand how hard it must be for my daughter to have her friends ridiculing her for her standards and her religious beliefs.
I said a silent prayer in my heart to be able to say something to help her. I felt inspired to tell her that her Heavenly Father has placed her here, where she lives, for a reason because He needs her to be a light to those around her. He needs her to share her goodness with His children. He needs her to be here at this time in her life because He is using her to bless others and to share His gospel. I knew in that moment that what I was telling her was true. And I have seen how she has shared her light. She is now a senior ready to graduate and go on to college, but she has touched many lives through her words, her deeds, and her example. She has been a fearless missionary, sharing her beliefs and bringing light, truth, hope, and love to others. She has certainly been an example and a light to those around her. She has done, and is doing, exactly as our prophet, President Monson says:
“May I say to all of you, and particularly to you young people, that as the world moves further and further away from the principles and guidelines given to us by a loving Heavenly Father, we will stand out from the crowd because we are different. We will stand out because we dress modestly. We will be different because we do not use profanity and because we do not partake of substances which are harmful to our bodies. We will be different because we avoid off-color humor and degrading remarks. We will be different as we decide not to fill our minds with media choices that are base and demeaning and that will remove the Spirit from our homes and our lives. We will certainly stand out as we make choices regarding morality—choices which adhere to gospel principles and standards. Those things which make us different from most of the world also provide us with that light and that spirit which will shine in an increasingly dark world.” Be an Example and a Light
Just like my daughter, I believe the Lord places each of you Young Women in certain situations and places and puts you in the paths of others for a reason. He uses you to bless His children and help them feel His love. He leads you to where He needs you, and He needs you to share your light!
I love what Sister Elaine S. Dalton said about being a light:
“Heavenly Father loves and trusts His precious daughters, and now, as never before, is the time to flood the earth with their virtue, their strong spirits, and their light.”
Your Heavenly Father is depending on you. Now is your time to shine – Be a light and share your goodness!
What are you doing to be a light to those around you?