One word conjures up images of sweetness, self-sacrifice, and service: that of mother. Motherhood is the noblest status in the world, in part because of these traits. We learn about mothers in the Family Proclamation; the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles explain how gender is an important component of motherhood: "gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose." Those who are women here on earth were women before they were born. The call to motherhood was extended at the time the calling of the priesthood was extended to men: in the pre-earth life. Pres. Benson said, "Before the world was created, in heavenly councils the pattern and role of women were prescribed. [Women] were elected by God to be wives and mothers in Zion" (Ensign, Nov. 1981, p.104).
Similarly, Sheri Dew states to the women of the Church, "Our motherhood began before we were born. Just as worthy men were foreordained to hold the priesthood in mortality, righteous women were endowed premortally with the privilege of motherhood…. Motherhood is not what was left over after our Father blessed His sons with priesthood ordination. It was the most ennobling endowment He could give His daughters, a sacred trust that gave women an unparalleled role in helping His children keep their second estate" (Ensign, Nov. 2001, p. 96).
Motherhood is not an afterthought to Heavenly Father, it was not instated merely to give women something to do; it is essential for the salvation of Heavenly Father's children, when coupled with the priesthood. Once women leave the pre-mortal life and become mothers here on earth, they can look to our greatest Exemplar—the Savior Jesus Christ—for how to become faithful mothers.
Elder Ballard teaches, "When God asked [in the premortal world] who would come to earth to prepare a way for all mankind to be saved…, it was Jesus who said, simply, 'Here am I, send me' (Abraham 3:27)" (When Thou Art Converted, p.178). Speaking to women, Elder Ballard continues, "If you are wondering if you make a difference to the Lord, imagine the effect when you make commitments such as the following: 'Father, if you need a woman to rear children in righteousness, here am I, send me. If you need a woman to make a house, a home filled with love, here am I, send me…. If you need a woman of faithful steadiness, here am I, send me" (p. 179). We need such willingness in today's world more than ever!