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Lioness at the Gate

My husband and I spent one summer in Beijing when we were  still newlyweds. He had an internship at a software company, and I  taught English classes at a small Canadian university.  It was certainly  all an adventure, but this was before we ever had children, so I was a  little naive about what "adventure" really meant.  (You've never had a  real adventure unless you've tried to go somewhere with 3 small children  in tow.)    Anyway, one of the most popular historical/tourist spots  in Beijing is the Forbidden City:

"The  Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to  the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the middle of Beijing,  China, and now houses the Palace Museum. For almost five hundred years,  it served as the home of emperors and their households, as well as the  ceremonial and political centre of Chinese government."  (Thanks,  Wikipedia.)

Here I am at the Forbidden City.  I'll have you know that my denim  overalls and cassette walkman were very fashionable at the time. (The  walkman thing was actually rented for an audio tour.)

At the main entrance to the Forbidden City, this is what you see.  It is called the Gate of Supreme Harmony:

According to this travel website,

The gate is guarded by a couple of bronze lions which aimed to show imperial dignity. The west one is male, with its front right paw resting on a ball, symbolizing imperial power extended worldwide.

The lioness on the east side has its front left paw on a lion cub, indicating a prosperously growing family and the never-ending secession of the imperial lineage.

Cool, huh?

Wait.  This gets cooler.

At the last Women's Conference, Sister Julie Beck gave an amazing talk.  This is what she said:

"I have said lately that women are  like lionesses at the gate  of the home.  Whatever happens in that home and family  happens because  she cares  about it and it matters to her. She guards that gate,  and  things  matter to that family if they matter to her. For example, if the    lioness at the gate believes in the law of tithing, tithing will be   paid in  that family. If that family has a humble little portion of ten   pesos coming in,  that lioness will safeguard the one peso if tithing  is  important to her. If  that lioness at the gate knows about renewing  her  baptismal covenants with God,  she will be in sacrament meeting on   Sunday, and she will prepare her children  to be there. They will be   washed, cleaned, combed, and taught about that  meeting and what happens   there. It isn’t a casual event, but it is serious to  her, and it will   be serious to them. The lioness at the gate ensures that  temple  worship  is taken care of in the family. She encourages that   participation. She  cares about seeking after her ancestors. If the  lioness at  the gate  knows about and understands missions,  missionaries, and the mission of   the house of Israel, she will prepare  future missionaries to go out from  that  home. It is very difficult to  get a lion cub away from a lioness  who doesn’t  believe in missions,  but if the lioness believes in a  mission, she will devote  her life to  preparing the cub to go out and  serve the Lord. That’s how  important  she is. Service happens if she  cares about it.

Sisters, you are each like the  lioness at the gate.  This means that  there has to be some prioritizing. I was taught  years  ago that when  our priorities are out of order, we lose power. If we need   power and  influence to carry out our mission, then our priorities have  to be   straight."

She then goes on to suggest ways to establish those priorities and  protect our families as we should.  I love the concept.  I want to get  statues like that for my front door just to remind me.  Motherhood? That, my friends, is dignity, power, lineage, and prosperity.  And let's not forget adventure.

I can totally make that face.  Just ask my kids.


Stephanie  is a mom of three young and relentless children. Her interests include  Latin music, naps, restaurants, writing, travel, teaching, housework  denial and long showers. Stephanie seeks for the divinity in  motherhood--- tries to share it when she finds it, and tries to laugh  when she doesn't. She blogs for fun, posterity, and therapy. Her musings  are chronicled at Diapers and Divinity.

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