bouquet of flowers

There Will Always be a Message and a Miracle in the Mess

In Mothers Who Know we often use a meaningful phrase that has become a burning testimony for me.

“There will always be a message and a miracle, right in the middle of a mess.”

The passing or graduation of my awesome mother, 

Verla Woolstenhulme, on April 6th is no exception. In fact, I am realizing that this statement applies beautifully to our mortal experience.

You can read her tribute here. 

I expect you will agree that our experience in mortality gets messy, and that the most difficult times, when we are right in the middle of the deep soul stretching work of it is not easy.

The miracles and messages in messes can be challenging to notice, let alone be looking for, because our heart and mind can become consumed with the hard of our circumstances.

But as I stand as a witness of my mother’s good life, and how her efforts to live well by figuring out how to love God most, value and accept herself and care deeply for others in messy mortality reality, I am super inspired to press forward on purpose and do the same. 

From my perspective, her life is an example of this Mothers Who Know statement. “There will always be a message and a miracle, right in the middle of a mess.” 

As I associate with you amazing courageous women, I know this is true of you as well. 

Our terrific prophet, President Russel M. Nelson has been trying to teach us to look beyond or above the hard circumstances we are in with an eternal perspective. One that believes in messages and miracles

“My dear brothers and sisters, the joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.

When the focus of our lives is on God’s plan of salvation, and Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening—or not happening—in our lives. Joy comes from and because of Him. He is the source of all joy”. (

This is our mission, our cause, our battle! 

For me, it is a battle well worth my effort, but it can sure get sweaty and arduous. 

I know that every circumstance in our lives is covered under Heavenly Fathers plan for our salvation and happiness. I also know that being messy in mortality is living and breathing His plan.

Our Heavenly Parents special love for us is evidenced in the gift of their Son, our Savior, brother and best friend, Jesus Christ. The only way, the only reason we can feel joy regardless of what is happening, or not happening, in our lives is possible because of Him. 

Thank you, Jesus! 

I would not only be a hot mess, but a miserable one without thy loving sacrifice that makes it possible for me to repent (stop focusing on the mess, allowing satan to do his work to separate me from Christ), and come unto thee (remember Christ and His power to save me from misery and endless woe in the mess).

Mother really believed in Heavenly Father’s plan for our salvation, and she deeply loved her Savior and Friend, Jesus Christ. She taught us through word, and mostly example that we can joyfully believe in Christ. 

She was a walking “Title of Liberty” as she tried again and again to teach us through her living it, that Christ’s pure love was charity, it was the greatest gift because it would never fail.  She knew that He, the teacher of us all taught us that we should lay down our lives (our will, our ways) for our friends, take up our cross (our hard stuff) and follow Him. 

Each of us has to learn charity, the pure love of Christ in a personal way where it really counts.

It seems the classroom I am in consistently is the one that teaches me that saving people by controlling them is not charity. Not getting a good grade in this class and finding that I have to keep retaking it, has often made me feel as though I am failing in my relationships.

Often our most challenging relationships are the ones closest to us. 

Over the years I have shared some of my deep hurts, frustrations, and heartaches with my mother. 

Each time she has gently pointed me toward following the Savior’s example to love someone when they least deserve it. Consider more serving and doing, when I just want to say, “You do something, I’m done doing!” 

When it seems, I have given till I feel I am done, her council and especially watching her example assisted me to keep trying in small simple ways to bring something greater to pass. 

Mom would often say, “Life is hard for the old, and the young, and the in-between”, and “We can’t go around it, gotta go through it. 

Marjorie Pay Hinckley said, “Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

Mom is a heroin and ally for any and all in their mortal battles. She loves being His hands and sees it as a blessing of duty and love.  Laying down her life, her work, her will, to be a support to His work of saving. To succor the weak, lift up the hands that hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees. (D&C 81:5)

Her charity never failed because she was a window to his love, a doorway to the truth. A barer of the message he’d have her bring to you.

God gave mother a powerful gift to influence because he knew that his love would shine brightly through her and inspire his children to come unto him in their laboring and heavy burdens, so He could help them rest.  

Now with all my heart I express to each of you…

Your charity never fails because you are a window to his love, a doorway to the truth. A barer of the message he’d have you bring.

God gave you a powerful gift to influence because he knew that his love would shine brightly through you, his beloved, valued daughter, and inspire his children to come unto him in their laboring and heavy burdens, so He could help them rest.  (Mathew 11:28-30)

It’s Mother’s Day.  I wish you a pleasant one regardless of what is happening—or not happening—in your lives. 

“If we focus on the joy that will come to us, or to those we love, (because our Savior championed Heavenly Fathers plan for us) what can we endure that presently seems overwhelming, painful, scary, unfair, or simply impossible?” (President Russel M. Nelson, Joy and Spiritual Survival)

I invite you to join me and the army of courageous good women standing for the cause of Christ to remember that we fight for Him and with Him in His cause.

We believe in “There will always be a message and a miracle, right in the middle of a mess.”

Don’t give up, with us! 

I sincerely invite you to listen to “Verla – A Mother Who Knows” podcast created from presentations she shared in our Mothers Who Know meetings from December of 2016 to September of 2018.

As I have listened to all these episodes since her graduation, I am deeply grateful for the gift of my mother, my mothering being considered, and the association I am honored to have with you beautiful Mothers Who Know!

I also invite you to enjoy “Angel Mother”, the playlist I created as a tribute to my mom Verla on Spotify. When I listen to it I am filled with gratitude and taught in the spirit more about the kind of “atmosphere angel” I can be to better support God’s work with those I love so much. 


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