Monday, March 21, 2016

Finding Nobility in Motherhood and Joy in Womanhood by Nikki Yaste

You are in for a treat today! Nikki has the most incredible story and the testimony to go with it. I have learned so much from her and she constantly inspires me to be better and to look at things differently. Enjoy!

I’ve been asked to write a special blog to celebrate the anniversary of the Relief Society. It’s been 142 years since the founding of this amazing organization in March 17, 1842. As I read through the Relief Society Declaration and thought about what I “bullet” I wanted to specifically address in this, I kept circling back to this:

“[Finding] nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.”

Why?! The topic I most wanted to avoid!

Often times, I feel like I come up short when the subject of motherhood is specifically addressed in Conference or Relief Society. I want to avoid these topics like the plague. I spent a lot of time extremely jealous of people who had the “loving” and “doting” mothers in their lives. Honestly, I go so far as to ignore Mother’s Day, chalking it up to just another Sunday in the month of May. As a child, I didn’t grow up in the most conducive environment that would produce any “noble” qualities of motherhood and certainly, there was little joy to be found as a woman.

As a child, I felt like a burden to my parents. Something that was to be seen and not heard. I was to fall in line or suffer the consequences, no questions asked. For along time, I didn’t have a relationship with my own parents as a result of their abusive behavior. When I am asked “what was my childhood like?” My normal response, with a smirk, is always “what childhood?” I didn’t have the “normal” upbringing and comfort that most children, hopefully, have. Simply things, like napping on the couch or having an open imagination were mocked relentlessly. There were few hugs and fewer expressions of “I love you.”  As I entered into my teenage and young adult years, it became all about sex, alcohol and drugs. I partied with the best of them, sneaking into clubs and bars. I built an identity on exploitation (If I got it, flaunt it.) and the false idols of sex and power. I married the old wise tale that I was really living the “good life.” When I became a mother, all that changed. There is nothing that that will focus your life like a baby.

The first year of my son’s life, I was a terrible mother. I was distant and cold. I found comfort in routine. All the normal “baby things” my child wanted from me, I struggled with as a new mother. I rarely held my son just to hold him. Rarely, I played with him. It all seemed so foreign to me. All that tenderness seemed awkward, stiff and forced. I felt tied down and stuck, moving through the motions with very little joy and certainly, no nobility. I couldn’t wait to start working again and felt that a job at Playboy would be the best avenue. Here’s the thing, I wanted to find peace as a mother. I WANTED to enjoy motherhood. I wanted to move past that ingrained mindset that my parents instilled in me that parenthood was a burden. I wanted to grow from a woman-child to a lady who loved her role as mother and wife. I wanted to be all those things, but I didn’t know how get them or who to look to for an example.

The first time I attended The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I fell in love with the Relief Society. Period. It was there that I met women that I didn’t know I had needed. Years, I have spent searching in empty rooms for women who weren’t afraid to be women WITHOUT sacrificing their divine role as a woman to get it. They delighted in being women. Unlike me, these women who held up the role of mother and wife with honor and looked at it like it was a privilege instead of a burden. It was in Relief Society that Sisters held my toddler son and treated him as if he was part of their family-something that left me in tears when I left my first church meeting.

It was in Relief Society that I found woman of deep strength and commitment to their families. I also found a variety of womanhood that inspired me into the eternities. Women that dealt with infertility and chose the beautiful route of adoption. Women that chose to have large families. Women that chose to work outside the home to help provide for their families. Women that held the role of homemaker as the way to provide. Single Sisters. Single Mothers. Widows. Community activists. Quiet pioneers. Beautiful woman that permeated the room with Light and Charity. And when I went through the Temple to receive my own endowments, hands down, it was the sisters that turned out in droves to support me. I love the Priesthood, but when it comes to rallying around a member in support and love, the Relief Society are always first on the scene….and with food!

Through the Relief Society, I found a quiet but firm declaration that proclaimed, “No! As Daughters of God, we do not buy into the lies of the world without a protest.” Because of the Relief Society, I found myself shifting and changing, not because I forced too, but because I wanted too. The Prophet Joseph Smith said,
“Nothing is so much calculated to lead people to forsake sin as to take them by the hand and watch over them with tenderness. When persons manifest the least kindness and love to me, O what power it has over my mind, while the opposite course has tendency to harrow up all the harsh feelings and depress the mind.”

That is exactly what happened with me in the Relief Society. The love of these wonderful women worked its way into my harden heart, took root deep inside me and it unleashed something resembling goodness and love out of me, qualities I didn’t even know I had until it happened.

That being said, just because I am a part of Relief Society, it doesn’t mean motherhood magically became easier to me. I’m filled with doubts, struggles and the “mommy guilt” like every other woman on this planet.  I used to belong to those “mommy groups,” but there was so much comparison and opinions over how to mother and be a wife that I promptly had to quit or risk going insane.  Elder Scott said this,

"Once I saw a sheet of paper that had thirty-seven suggestions of what a mother should do or should be. I thought, a woman does not need that kind of guilt trip. Tear it up. Just be your best selves. Don't over-program. Enjoy the life you have as mothers and wives. If a man, an important way to show greater gratitude is to consistently express the things of your heart to your wife or mother. When you do there would likely be less of a tendency for a mother who is really doing very well to be overly critical of herself. Unwarranted self-criticism robs a mother of joy and a fullness of life.”

I’ve learned that the joys of motherhood come in little moments and we must take every one of those moments, really look at it, live in it and never ever give it up. Those moments go so fast. There will always be hard times and difficult challenges, but even in the challenges I have felt that peace through a Parent-Child love that knows no bound, no matter what. Nobility in motherhood isn’t about perfection, but knowing and truly understanding the role I have to play in shaping the lives of future generations. It IS the highest honor and it is a privilege.

Sisters, God took what was good in us and expanded it by He made us mothers.

It’s true, I may not have had a good relationship with my parents, but those feelings of motherhood did not escape or get lost on me. Once, I believed that traditions repeated themselves and my son was doomed to repeat my history of an abuse and promiscuity. You know the sayings, "The apple doesn't fall from the tree." "Abuse and addictions run in families."

I'm here to tell you that, with the help of Jesus, that is absolutely not true and that is exactly how the adversary keeps us in bondage to him, the Father of all Lies. That pure love doesn't and hasn't escaped me and it hasn’t escaped you, even if we didn’t grow up in the most “loving” environment. Because of these amazing woman, who have loved me, laughed with me, allowed me room to grow and taught me, I have the overwhelming joy and happiness that comes with knowing that this…this is what I was made to do, even with all of my imperfections.

Sisters, you are doing a great job, regardless of how you may feel today or tomorrow. We are equipped to handle the job that is in front of us. We are strong enough. We are powerful enough. We are women of God and together, we will influence a generation that will impact the world.

My name is Nikki Yaste. I am a wife and a mother to one child, Mason. I am from Florida, but I have lived all over the country due to my husband being a career service member of the Armed Forces. I used to work in the Adult Industry and because of that have battled my own addictions and demons. It has been only through the Atonement of Jesus Christ have been able to find healing and redemption. 

 In January 2008, after the birth of my son, I finally hit rock bottom and tried to commit suicide. Shortly after, I had my first encounter with the Mormon missionaries. I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the Summer of 2009. I am LDS blogger at LDS Woman at the Well ( and my blog has been featured on LDS 

I am currently working on my first book. I am the founder of Alabaster Outreach, a LDS ministry that currently serves the Northern California area Strip Clubs. We are an outreach that believe in showing practical ways of God's love to those working within the industry. With small gifts, we put arms to the love of Christ to those who need to know that they are not beyond the love and mercy of Jesus and there are people out here that care about them. They are cherished Daughters of God. My husband and I were sealed in the Reno Nevada Temple and we currently live in outside the Sacramento area.

My passion and purpose to share my story and teach the Saints that there is nothing that they have done that can't be redeemed on their way to the Celestial Kingdom and be used to glorify God and further His Kingdom. I believe that God is in the business of recycling. There is no one beyond the healing power and mercy of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The Gospel truly gathers up our scattered longings and realigns us with our true identity, as Children of God. "Everything in the gospel teaches us that we can change if we need to, that we can be helped if we truly want it, that we can be made whole, whatever the problems of the past."~Elder Jeffery R. Holland


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  1. This is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing and for the good work you do to help women.

  2. Wow, what an incredible journey. Thanks for sharing your story. It's taken me years to feel at home in Relief Society (I always felt more comfortable in primary), but I'm learning to recognize the power that lies in this special sisterhood.

  3. I so appreciate your testimony and perspective! When I think about defending the nobility in motherhood, I often feel like I have to defend it from those who see it not as a burden or a waste but as a nice thing that some people like to do, and if they want to, that's great, but for heaven's sake don't try to call it something truly *important* or *universal*, because then you're anti-feminist. What you shared about the universality and divinity in womanhood and motherhood really touched me.

  4. thank you for sharing this wonderful post about your motherhod, , i`m also writing articles about motherhood of different nations, you can look it here, i think you will find it helpful!