I had the opportunity to teach the Young Women in our ward a lesson on the Word of Wisdom this past Sunday. The Word of Wisdom is a principle of health that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints live by. Young Women's is where the female youth in our church gather to learn on Sundays and have one activity together a week.
So I was teaching this lesson and while I was doing so I was taught a huge lesson. We decide to put only good things into our body. We refrain from drinking coffee, tea, or alcohol. We don't use any form of tobacco products. We are told to eat good things, such as good grains, fruits and vegetables and to only eat meat sparingly. And we are told to do nothing in extremes. For the most part, I am fairly good at living by the Word of Wisdom. I am not tempted, except when my kids are driving me nuts, to consume alcohol or drugs, and I don't drink coffee or tea. I'm probably not as good as I should be about consuming the good things! I do like junk food and probably indulge a little too much, but I think I do pretty good. So I was teaching about the Word of Wisdom and of the blessings that we receive by choosing to live by it.
One of these blessings is that they "shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones" and "shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint" (D&C 89:18,20). I thought about this promise for a bit. I definitely don't believe that I have this disease because I have not lived by the Word of Wisdom, but I definitely can't run or really walk that well anymore. There have been times when I have felt that I can't accomplish the things that I would like to with the body that I have been given. I have felt like I could be a better mom if I could go and do more with my kids, if I felt like I had more energy. I've felt like I could be a better wife if I didn't need to lay down sometimes and could have a spotless house instead. I could be a better friend and neighbor if I could help someone else with their cleaning, or cooking or could just go visit without having to worry about how I'm going to even get inside their house. So how am I going to be the person that I should be with the body that I have?
This is where I learned an amazing lesson that I've been thinking about for the past few days. In a talk given by Elder Boyd K. Packer on living the Word of Wisdom, he said, "The Word of Wisdom does not promise you perfect health, but it teaches how to keep the body you were born with in the best condition and your mind alert to delicate spiritual promptings." He also shared an experience that he had. "I remember a blessing I received when I was serving in the military. It included counsel that's good for every young person: "You have been given a body of such physical proportions and fitness as to enable your spirit to function through it. ...You should cherish this as a great heritage. Guard it and protect it. Take nothing into it that shall harm the organs thereof because it is sacred. It it the instrument of your mind and the foundation of your character." This experience that he shared has had an amazing impact on me.
The body that I have is perfect for what I am supposed to accomplish on this Earth. Anything that I am to learn or to become I can do in the body that I have been given. Even though this body has physical limitations, it will not stand in the way of the progress that I can make. I can be the mother that my Heavenly Father wants and expects me to be in this body. I can be the wife that my Heavenly Father expects me to be in this body. I can be the friend and neighbour that my Heavenly Father would have me to be in this body. He gave me this body. Why would he give me a body that would hold me back from being the person that he wants me to be? I don't believe that he would. I believe the person that he would like me to be I can become in this body. It may take me changing my perception of the ideal mother/wife/friend. But I do have an amazing example.
My mom had Muscular Dystrophy as well. On top of the Muscular Dystrophy she had chronic headaches and fibromyalgia. I remember very few days where my mom actually felt good. In fact, I'm pretty sure she never felt good, just better. Despite her health, I couldn't have asked for a better mom. My mom wasn't able to go out and do anything physical with me. This didn't make her feel like any less of an amazing mom. Her example to me of her ability to endure to the end was the legacy that she left behind for me and all of her children. She was close to the Lord and worried about everyone except herself. I hope to be exactly like her and know that I can do that in this perfect body that I've been given.