Pinning down a single word that would describe Jessica Merrifield’s philosophy on life would be extremely simple: Love.
“A mother is love,” said Sister Merrifield of the Colleyville Ward in the Colleyville Texas Stake. “She just needs to embody love and nurturing. A mother everywhere in the world is love. Even if [some] can’t have children, don’t have the ability, or will never have children, we as women have a unique ability to love. We nurture everyone around us.”
Sister Merrifield, who was chosen as the Young Mother of the Year for Texas, does everything she can as a mother to her children and a “fellow mother” to spread love.
“We need to be a little more sweet to one another and less judgemental,” she said.
In speaking about representing Texas as Young Mother of the Year, she said, “It’s not about being the best mom. It’s about being passionate about being a mother. It’s about helping other mothers be better.”
In her own family, she has been taught and continues to help her five children see the wonderful in each other. She and her husband, Will, have a tradition in their family: “We do warm fuzzies,” she said. “We go around the room during family home evening and tell each other what we love about each other.”
With these sorts of traditions, love has been able to be shown by her children to unsuspecting people.
Sister Merrifield told a story of her daughter, Gabrielle, when the two of them went to tour her school before the school year started. “We were leaving the cafeteria, and there was a little boy crying by himself in the corner,” she recounts. “Gabby immediately, instead of listening to me [and following me to her class], walked over to the boy (he looked older), and she gave him a big hug. It made my heart melt.”
Moments like these make Sister Merrifield grateful for her job as a mom. “[I love] to see [my kids] embracing, loving, honoring, supporting and championing other people. They are precious, precious kids.”
The gospel has helped her find joy in everyday life. “There are days that are wild and chaotic, but there is sweetness in every day,” she said. “The beauty of the gospel is, if you’re living it — if you’re present — you can see tender mercies every day of your life.”
During her time representing Texas, Sister Merrifield plans to work with the city board and put together a fundraiser and gather donations for the local battered women’s shelter.