Friday, December 31, 2010

Re-Issuing the Challenge

Last year at this time I issued my "Women in the Scriptures Challenge." I've decided I am going to re- issue the challenge again this year. In fact I think it will be ongoing challenge always on this blog. So if you haven't completed it yet-- don't give up-- you have another year, or another or another.

If you've already completed the challenge, either the full or the half, you get a gold star to put on your blog! Lucky. I'd also LOVE to know about how the experience was for you, what you learned or what you discovered. PLEASE use the linky at the bottom of the page to link to a post you've written about your experience and insights. You might just inspire someone else to take the challenge.


Women in the Scriptures


I am going to put a link to this post on my side bar and whenever you finish the challenge you can come back and grab this button and link up to your experience. I'd love to have a collection of lots of different women's testimonies and experiences with the women in the scriptures.

Also, by request of someone who has a dark background on their blog, I've made a light colored button for the Women in the Scriptures Challenge. You can use this one or the old one which ever works best of you.


Women in the Scriptures



I know that many of you have committed to doing the challenge this year and I am really anxious to hear your experiences! You can even do the challenge two or three times if you want. Trust me, it never gets old.




Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Year Miracles



I don't really like making New Year resolutions. 

Unless they are something I've already been working on I never remember to do them. They just don't work for me.

Instead my husband and I write down New Year miracles. Each New Year we write down three or four things that we'd like to see happen during the next year. They are always things that at the time seem utterly and completely impossible, things that if they really were to happen would indeed be miracles. Sometimes we ask for miracles for ourselves but usually we ask for miracles to happen to people we care deeply about. Since they are things near and dear to our heart it isn't hard to think about them often and to offer up silent and vocal prayers for them throughout the year.

Last year I wrote down four miracles, things that I was sure weren't going to happen that year but which my heart yearned for desperately. I can bear strong testimony that God is still a God of miracles because one of my"impossible" things was answered directly this year, another was answered in a round about way, and one the miracles I prayed for two years ago was answered this year. I've noticed that sometimes God doesn't always perform the miracle in the year I pray for it but I've come to trust in God's timing and wisdom. I know that the other two miracles I prayed for in 2010 will someday be answered in His own time and His own way.

Perhaps these "impossible" things would still would have happened if I hadn't been praying for them to happen, but then they wouldn't have been miracles. Miracles are things that need to be asked for... they take faith. Jesus never performed a miracle unless someone specifically sought him out and asked for it. They demonstrated their faith in His power by being humble enough to ask Him for the miracle they wanted, whether it was for themselves or someone they loved. If we want to see miracles we have to have the faith to ask for them.

I am asking for some pretty impossible things this year. Part of my heart doubts that there is anyway they will be able to happen, but the other part of my heart is full of faith in God. I know that with Him nothing is impossible... even miracles.

Update: I recently shared this tradition with a friend and she directed me to an incredible story written by Boyd K. Packer in which he and his wife had a similar experience making New Year "miracles". I didn't know about this story when Jon and I start our tradition and it just strengthens my testimony of miracles.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Baby Changes Everything

My little boy turned three this week.

Time has gone by so quickly.

I remember that a few weeks before he was born I spent the afternoon dipping chocolates with my Grandma. As we cooked she she shared with me her thoughts about my own father's birth who was born just a few days before Christmas. She explained to me what a great blessing it is to give birth to a child at Christmas time. She said that for her it brought new meaning to Christmas and turned her heart towards Mary and Christ. It made giving birth mean so much more to her. I pondered a lot about my Grandmother's words the last few weeks of my pregnancy and tried to imagine what Mary must have experienced as she waited to give birth to her baby boy. Mostly I was in awe that Mary went ANYWHERE on a donkey at nine months pregnant! She was a hero in my eyes just for that.

Then later as I sat nursing my new born son, wrapped in a swaddled blanket, staring into my Christmas tree my heart really began to turn to Mary. I felt such a kinship with her and my heart overflowed with gratitude at her sacrifice. I could only imagine how her heart rejoiced as she held her son, knowing who he was, and how it must have ached, knowing what he would face. It humbled me so much to think how, from the moment she chose to become the mother of the son of God, her life was never normal and it was never easy. She sacrificed so much for so many.

In the three years since my son's birth I've continued to ponder on Mary and I've learned that each and every conception is a gift from God and is, in essence, no less miraculous than Mary's immaculate conception. I've seen that God is as interested in the birth of the child born to a prostitute mother in Asia, the child of rich European parents, the child born to an HIV mother in Africa, and the birth of my child as He was the birth of the Christ child. It is a beautiful testament to the nature of God to realize that the "worth of souls is great in the sight of God" and that all of God's children are just as precious to Him as the his Only Begotten. He even promises us that if we are worthy we will be made perfect and will inherit the same glory and power that Christ has received. In this sense each and every birth is the birth of the Christ child and each and every woman is a Mary, a chosen vessel of the Lord.

A few weeks ago I heard this song on the radio when I was driving home and it made me cry so hard I had to pull over. I hope you will take the time to watch this beautiful video. Listen carefully to the words. They are so powerful.


Wishing you all a Merry Christmas

and don't forget

one life

one woman, one baby

changed everything.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Fasting While Pregnant or Breastfeeding

I have a confession to make.

It has been a long time since I've fasted.

I actually have a really strong testimony of fasting but over the last three and half years there has been a grand total of two months when I was either not pregnant or not breastfeeding. I know that there are women who still fast when they are pregnant and breastfeeding but physically I can't seem to do it. When I am pregnant I get "morning sickness" (ie. all day sickness) if I don't keep something in my stomach and so a complete fast is out of the question. Then when I am breastfeeding I seem to need even MORE calories than I did when I was pregnant. I tried once to do a half day fast when I was breastfeeding and after a couple of hours I felt really faint and had to eat something.

I have to admit that for the first little while I was kind of happy to have a valid excuse to skip out on fasting. I didn't really feel like I was missing out on anything and that God understood why I couldn't. Yet lately I've really been yearning for the opportunity to fast. I know call me crazy. There is such a beautiful power that comes with fasting. It takes your prayers to a whole different level and brings you a bit closer to the Savior. After four years I really miss being able to utilize the power of the fast like I once was able to, especially when trials seem to be pouring out on my family and those I love.

So I'm wondering. How do you (or a woman you know) find ways to fast when you are pregnant or breastfeeding? Of if you have another medical reason, besides pregnancy and breastfeeding, that makes fasting impossible for you how do you find ways to keep the spirit of the fast?

I'd love to hear your suggestions.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Nephite Women of Sherrizah and Lamanite Women taken Prisoner in Morinatum

Mormon's Farewell by Arnold Frieberg

Moroni 9: 7- 20

Background: Around 400 AD

The Lamanites and Nephites were in the midst of a long and violent battle. Wickedness and cruelty was rampant on both sides of the lines. Mormon was leading the Nephite armies but knew that because of their wickedness the situation was hopeless. In a letter that he wrote to his son Moroni he said, "they have lost their love, one towards another; and they thirst after blood and revenge continually. And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God." (Moroni 9:5-6) The information he passes on to his son about the suffering of the Lamanite and Nephite women was told him by a man named Amoron (Moroni 9: 7).

Facts About Them:

  • The Lamanties captured men, women and children from the tower of Sherrizah. They killed all the husbands and the fathers and then fed “the women upon the flesh of their husbands, an the children upon the flesh of their fathers; and no water, save a little, do they give unto them.” (vs 7-9);
  • “Not withstanding this great abomination of the Lamanties” the Nephites in Moriantum had taken many of the daughters of the Lamanties prisoner and “after depriving them of that which was most dear and precious above all thins, which is chastity and virtue—and after they had done this thing, they did murder them in a most cruel manner, torturing their bodes even unto death; and after they have done this, they devour their flesh like unto wild beasts, because of the hardness of their hearts; and they do it for a token of bravery.”(vs. 9-10);
  • There were many Nephite widows and daughters who were left in Sherrizah. They didn't have any provision because anything that was left was carried away by the army of Zenephi. Most of the remaining women were left "to wander whithersoever they can for food; and many old women do faint by the way and die." (vs.16);
  • Moroni laments that his own army is weak and that there are Lamanite armies between him and Sherrizah (vs. 17);
  • In speaking of the Nephites Moroni laments that, "they are alike brutal, sparing none, neither old nor young... and the suffering of our women and our children upon all the face of this land doth exceed everything; yea, tongue cannot tell, neither can it be written" (vs. 19).

Speculations about them:

  • Moroni doesn't clarify who the army of Zenephi is that carries away the provisions from the tower of Sherrizah. Yet since he differentiates them from the Lamanties (and indicated the Nephite men are wicked) it is probable that Zenephi was another of the Nephite captains and that it was Nephite men who took the remaining food for themselves and left the Nephite women to fend for themselves and starve to death.
  • We don't know where Mormon and Moroni's wives and children are at this time. We never hear anything about them and it makes me wonder if perhaps if they might have been among these women.

My Thoughts:

When I was at BYU I took the most amazing course my last semester there. It was called "The International Political Economy of Women" taught by Valerie Hudson and Donna Lee Bowen. It sounds like a big fancy name for a class but if you ever have the possibility to take it or hear one of these women speak I would recommend you jump at it in an instant. The whole semester was spent talking in depth about the issues that women face in the world-- from breastfeeding, female genital mutilation, the glass ceiling, prostitution, slavery, bride burning, dowries, child birth, rape, religious oppression, war, peacemaking, veils, pay inequities, women's education, domestic violence, and every other issue you can think of concerning women. Through the semester they painted for us very vivid and real picture of the situation of women in the world.

It was sad,

really, really, really

sad.

There were times when I would go home after class and bawl. I felt so much sorrow, anger and confusion about why, if men and women are really equal before God, that women seem to suffer so much more inequality and violence. I felt totally overwhelmed by the situation of women in the world. There was too much that needed to be done, too much sorrow, to much inequality, too much hatred, and too much violence. How could anyone ever hope to make any sort of difference? My heart was really weighed down by these questions. The situation really seemed hopeless.

Then, the last few weeks of the semester the professor's laid aside the newspapers, the videos, the books, and the statistics and they opened the scriptures. The things they taught me those few weeks healed my heart, opened my understanding and gave me hope. (If you'd like a taste of it I'd recommend "Women in Eternity, Women in Zion" by Valerie Hudson) One of the most powerful things they taught was the story of the women in Moroni 9. At the end of the chapter, after Moroni has told his son all the horrible things that have happened to the Lamanite and the Nephite women he laments that the people have become so wicked that he "cannot recommend them unto God lest he should smite me." Then he says this:

My son, be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever. (Moroni 9:25)"

Dr. Hudson then told about how during a dark period of her life, when she was weighed down with sorrow and grief over the situation of women in the world, she read this verse and felt like a light had penetrated through her grief and her confusion. She realized that no matter how bad things were for women she didn't need to be weighed down with anger or sorrow. Her heart clung to Mormon's promise. Christ was personally aware of the sorrow and the suffering of each woman and no sorrow and no injustice would be forgotten. She could take joy in knowing that all women everywhere have the most powerful and compassionate advocate. She knew that Christ loved women and from that moment on her heart no longer felt weighed down but she found hope, joy, and courage in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Mormon's example of clinging to Christ and the truth, even amidst so much wickedness, unrighteous dominion and misunderstanding, has also been such a powerful example for me. I think it is easy when we view the inequalities and suffering of women in the world to let ourselves go to a place of sorrow, anger, and confusion. I know there are times when I feel like I am "weighed down to death" by sorrow for women's situation in the world and there are times when I feel like I have so many more questions than I have answers. There are times when my pillow is soaked through with tears and prayers for understanding. Answers don't 't always come easily but piece by piece, truth by truth, scripture by scripture, the Lord has always answered my petitions, given me peace, expanded my understanding, and let me be an instrument in his hands. I know first hand that Mormon's promise is true, that Christ will lift us up from our sorrow and our grief and causes "the hope of his glory and of eternal life, [to] rest in your mind forever."

The quote on the the banner of this blog is "The greatest champion of woman and womanhood is Jesus the Christ." I can't repeat enough how true this statement is. There is no force in the world that will do more good in the lives of women then the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is the greatest advocate that women will ever have. He is our older brother, our advocate, and our redeemer. He understands completely all the pains, sorrows, questions and inequalities that women suffer in this world. Satan would have us fill our hearts with sorrow, anger and confusion. Christ on the other hand wants to fill our hearts with peace, understanding and joy. Like Mormon, when we are faced with wickedness, violence, inequality, and unrighteous dominion we have two choices. One, we can either be angry, hurt, sorrowful and confused or two, we can fix our hearts and minds upon Christ and have faith in His ways. We may not always understand why things are they way they are, or why people have to experience the trials they do, but we can know for certain that if we cling to Christ and his promises everything will be made clear and the justice will be done.

The greatest force for good and change in this world is love

and Christ is the source

of that love.

Questions to Think About:

  • Why would they have been in the tower of Sherrizah? Was it a stronghold? Were they making a last stand like at Masada? Mormon says that he tried to get to Sherrizah but his army was weak and the Lamanties stood between him
  • How did those women comfort their children and still be mothers in such horrible circumstances? How did they survive?
  • What similarities to you see in these women's stories to that of the concubine in Judges 19?
  • How have you seen the gospel of Jesus Christ improve women's lives? How about your own life?
  • How do you deal with feelings of sorrow, anger or confusion over women's roles and experiences in the world, within your church, or within your family?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Canning Jars and Charity


I just went down to my pantry to get something for lunch and a quick count revealed that I currently have:

6 quarts of grape juice

8 quarts of grape jelly

25 quarts of apple sauce

10 quarts and 5 pints of green beans

10 quarts and 8 pints of salsa

4 quarts of tomato sauce

18 quarts of dill and bread and butter pickles

sitting on my pantry shelf.

When I started the summer I had 200 empty canning jars on my shelf. I used up every single one this summer. Our fruit trees did really well this year, as did our garden and my uncle's garden. We had produce, especially cucumbers, coming out of our ears this summer. For some reason knowing the work and labor that went into each jar always gives me an sense of indescribable joy. Yet because I know how much work each one of those jars took I also mourn the loss of one of those jars every time we eat. I tend to guard those jars passionately making sure that nothing I worked to preserve is wasted or unappreciated.

As I was counting my jars I realized that there were only 94 jars on my shelf. I think my family has probably eaten the contents of about 20 other those jars since the start of fall. So that means there are 86 jars missing from the 200 I started with.

Where did those 86 jars go?

As I thought back on my summer I realized that every time I made a new batch of pickles, salsa or apple sauce I gave it away to friends and family almost as fast as I made it. I was so proud of what I had done that I wanted to share it. I felt so blessed to have so much abundance and it gave me joy to share the work of my hands. With each jar I sent out I was sending out a little piece of myself. It surprises me now to realize that, without me evening being aware of it, I gave away-- so easily-- 86 precious jars.

As I glanced around my pantry I started to worry that I had given away too many and that I wouldn't have enough jars for next year's harvest. Yet when I looked at the other side of my pantry where I keep my empty bottles I realized that it was filled with empty jars.

Where did they come from?

Then my mind wandered back through the summer and I remembered the friends and neighbors who had brought me over the produce of their gardens and shared with me their jam, their salsa, their applesauce, their pear butter, and their juice. It is sort of unwritten "code" that if a person gives you something in a mason jar you don't have to return the jar. It is yours to fill anyway you choose and to pass on to someone else. These people had freely given me the labor of their own hands in jars they didn't expect to be returned. Those jars now filled my pantry. Waiting to be filled with next year's harvest. I marveled that somehow I had ended the season with more jars than I had started with... even though I'd given 86 of them away.

I've learned there is great charity in canning jars. Each jar given away is a gift of labor and love, with no expectation of return. I think they exemplify the teachings of Christ. As Christmas approaches it is a beautiful reminder to me that when we give from our hearts, with no expectations, we always receive more than we started with. Love multiples in small little ways, day upon day, jar upon jar, until one day we look around our pantry and realize it is full.


God has a strange way of doing math. It seems the more you give the more you receive. It doesn't really add up at all, but I'm not complaining.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Prophetess (Wife of Isaiah)


Isaiah 8:3
2 Nephi 18:3

Background
: 8th century BC

Isaiah's ministry was during the time when the kingdoms of Israel and Judah were divided. He began his ministry during the reign of King Uzziah of Judah and continued through three more, Jothan, Ahaz and Hezekiah. At the time that these scriptures were given Judah was under threat of attack from Rezin, king of Syria, and Pekah, King of Israel. Isaiah obviously did not have a high opinion of Pekah because he often refused to refer to him by name, simply calling him "Remaliah's son." Not long after these prophecies were given the children of Israel fell into captivity and the ten tribes were scattered.


Facts about her:
  • She was the wife of the prophet Isaiah;
  • She bore a son to Isaiah named Maher-shalal-hash-baz, which means "destruction is imminent"
  • Isaiah refers to her as "the prophetess";
  • After Isaiah received the prophesy on Christ (chapter 7) he was commanded to write on a great roll with a "man's pen" (perhaps meaning that it was easy to be read) the prophecy the Lord had given him about "Maher-shalal-hash-baz" (referring to the destruction which is to come to the children of Israel from Assyria). After Isaiah wrote the prophesy he "went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son. Then said the Lord to me, Call his name Maher-shalal-hash-baz" (Isaiah 8:3);
  • In Isaiah 8: 18 Isaiah stated that "... I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and wonders in Israel..." His sons were living testaments to the coming of Jesus Christ and the future of Israel.
Speculations about her:

  • The scriptures don't specify but it is very likely that she was also the mother of Isaiah's other son Sherajashub, whose name means "a remnant shall return" ;
  • Since Isaiah was from upper class society it is likely that she was as well;
  • There is much controversy about the correct translation of the Hebrew word "almah" in Isaiah 7:14 which says, "Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." Traditionally Christians have translated the word as "virgin" and have seen this scripture as a reference to Mary, the mother of Christ and his divine birth. Jews on the other hand claim that the word should not be translated as "virgin" but as "young woman" and doesn't denote a woman's sexual status. They claim that Isaiah's prophesy in 7:14 was either a referring to a random woman in the crowd that Isiah was preaching to or that he was referring to his own wife (perhaps indicating that Isaiah's first wife, the mother of Sherajashub, had died and that Isiah had remarried a young woman). This is a highly contested issue between Christan and Jewish scholars and there is a lot of literature on it. I think that this article gave a good concise explanation of both sides, even though it is a little skewed to the Jewish side.
My Thoughts:

It is so interesting to me that Isaiah, out of all the words he could have used to describe his wife, choose to call her "the prophetess." It may be that he was just referring to her status as the wife of a prophet but he may also have been referring to her ability to speak by the spirit and testify of truth. Throughout the scriptures it is not unusual for women who have the ability to receive and use the gift of prophecy to be called "prophetesses". James E. Talmage wrote, 
“No special ordination in the Priesthood is essential to man’s receiving the gift of prophecy. … This gift may be possessed by women also.” (Articles of Faith, 12th ed., Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1924, pp. 228–29.) 

In addition Bruce R. McConkie taught that, 

“Where spiritual things are concerned, as pertaining to all of the gifts of the Spirit, with reference to the receipt of revelation, the gaining of testimonies, and the seeing of visions, in all matters that pertain to godliness and holiness and which are brought to pass as a result of personal righteousness in all these things men and women stand in a position of absolute equality before the Lord. He is no respecter of persons nor of sexes, and he blesses those men and those women who seek him and serve him and keep his commandments.” (Ensign, Jan. 1979, p. 61.)

Seeing as Isaiah's wife was a very active participant the conception, birth, and naming of Maher-shalal-hash-baz, who was a living testament of Isaiah's prophecy on Christ given in chapter 7, I think that it is fair to assume that Isaiah was referring to her as a "prophetess" in the very essence of the word. She literally, by giving birth to her son, "brought forth" prophecy. Also, one can only imagine that people thought her son's name was strange even back then. I'm sure it made people ask questions and wonder why anyone would name their child "destruction is imminent." Every time she spoke her son's name she had the opportunity to testify of Christ and prophesy of the future.

In addition if Sherajashub (whose name "a remnant shall return" prophesied of the scattering and gathering of Israel) was also her son, then both of her sons had prophetic names that testified of the coming Savior and the future events that awaited the children of Israel. While we may not have a written record of any of the words she spoke, through her sons we have evidence of her daily dedication and faith in God. She lived and breathed her testimony just like her husband did.

Questions to think about:
  • Who would you consider to be a prophetess? How does one develop the characteristics of a prophetess?
  • How do you think she felt being married to a prophet like Isaiah who received much criticism and skepticism as he warned and chastised his people?
  • In what ways do you bear testimony of Christ in your daily life?
  • This is one of only a few instances where we learn anything about the wife of prophet. Still we know that most of the prophets must have wives. I challenge you, the next time you come across a prophet in your reading of the scriptures, to try to imagine what their wife must have been doing, feeling or experiencing at the time they were writing. How does that change your perspective?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

All the Thanks and Praise

"... if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice...if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.

...And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him. And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast? And now I ask, can ye say aught of yourselves? I answer you, Nay. Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth; yet ye were created of the dust of the earth; but behold, it belongeth to him who created you."



I'm feeling really grateful this Thanksgiving for the things for which I will never be able to repay God for, the blessings that I take for granted each day of my life but which shape the quality and rhythm of my life.

Grateful to be a woman,

to live in a land free from war

to have my basic needs provided

for knoweldge of the restored gospel

for a healthy body


for daily miracles

and God's tender mercies.

My heart is full.

How can I ever really thank Him ?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Scripture Power

Every morning my husband gets our family together for scripture study. Our children are still really young so it is hard to get them interested, but lately we've started singing the song "Scripture Power" before we start and it has really made a huge difference. Each of the kids has their own little set of scriptures and every morning we they get them off the shelf and sit on the couch. Then someone, usually me or my husband, sings the song and pretends be the "bad guy" while sneaking up on them. When we get close enough, and to the chorus, they scare us away by opening their scriptures and using their "scripture power". (We tell them that the scriptures only have power when they are open. If you never open your scriptures they don't have very much power for you. )



My three-year-old is really into this game. It is a great way to start our morning off because he is always excited about playing "stipture powder". A few weeks ago he took to carrying his scriptures around EVERYWHERE and wouldn't go to sleep unless his "scripture power" was tucked in next to him. It was pretty cute. Lately my 14 month-old has been getting into this song as well. Every morning when my husband mentions scriptures she will run over the shelf where we keep the scriptures, pulls one out and run to climb up on the couch. She has even started to try to sing along in a screechy voice and giggles uncontrollably as she holds her scriptures up. It is fun to see her already excited about scriptures!

Here is a video of us singing "Scripture Power". My husband was a little embarrassed I was going to post this on my blog, but I think he sings beautifully. Also, please forgive the silly "mommy voice" at the end. I hope that isn't what I really sound like :)


video


They don't listen at all while we read the scriptures but at least they are excited about getting them out. It is a step in the right direction, right?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Real Meaning of the Term "Help Meet"


One of the most frequently misunderstood terms in the bible is the term "help meet" in the book of Genesis. In Genesis 2:18 it says, "And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him."


The common way in which the term "help meet" is interpreted is to mean that Eve, unlike the other beasts of the earth, was "appropriate for" or "worthy"  of Adam and was to be his helper or companion on the earth. While there are some really good things about this interpretation it doesn't do full justice to what the term "help meet" really means. The term, in it's original Hebrew, means something much more profound and powerful than just a "helper" and when we understand what God was saying to Adam we come to see Eve's role and the role of women on this earth in a much different light.

In Hebrew the two words that "help meet" are derived from are the words "ezer" and the word 'k’enegdo".

Ezer which is commonly translated as "help" is really a rich word with a much deeper meaning. In her book Eve and the Choice Made in Eden, Beverly Campbell explains,
“According to biblical scholar David Freedman, the Hebrew word translated thee into English as “help” is ezer. This word is a combination of two roots, one meaning “to rescue”, “to save,” and the other meaning “to be strong.” Just as the roots merged into one word, so did their meanings. At first ezer meant either “to save” or “to be strong,” but in time, said Freedman, ezer “ was always interpreted as ‘to help’ a mixture of both nuances.”
Diana Webb in her book Forgotten Women of God also clarifies this word by explaining,
"The noun ezer occurs 21 times in the Hebrew Bible. In eight of these instances the word means “savior”. These examples are easy to identify because they are associated with other expressions of deliverance or saving. Elsewhere in the Bible, the root ezer means “strength.... the word is most frequently used to describe how God is an ezer to man. "
For example the word "ebenezer" in 1 Samuel 7:12 is used to describe the power of God's deliverance. "Eben" means rock and "ezer" means "help" or "salvation". Ebenezer therefore means "rock of help" or "rock of salvation". The root "ezer" is the same word that God used to describe to Adam who Eve was. She was not intended to be just his helper or his companion, rather she was intended to be his savior, his deliverer.

The other part of the term "help meet" which is commonly translated as "meet for" or "fit for" is the word "k’enegdo". It is hard to know exactly what the word k’enegdo means because it only appears once in the entire Bible. Yet Diana Webb explained that,
"Neged, a related word which means “against”, was one of the first words I learned in Hebrew. I thought it was very strange that God would create a companion for Adam that was “against” him! Later, I learned that kenegdo could also mean “in front of” or “opposite.” This still didn’t help much. Finally I heard it explained as being “exactly corresponding to,” like when you look at yourself in a mirror."
Eve was not designed to be exactly like Adam. She was designed to be his mirror opposite, possessing the other half of the qualities, responsibilities, and attributes which he lacked. Just like Adam and Eve's sexual organs were physically mirror opposites (one being internal and the other external) so were their their divine stewardship designed to be opposite but fit together perfectly to create life. Eve was Adam's complete spiritual equal, endowed with an essential saving power that was opposite from his.

I've pondered a lot about this clarification of Eve's role and how it is that she has been given a saving power equal but opposite to Adam's saving power. As I've thought about it I realized that while women do much to help and assist men in their stewardship they have been given a stewardship that is uniquely theirs and which is every bit as important as men's stewardship.

Women are "saviors" to men by the fact that they give them life and nurture them towards the light of Christ. By conceiving, creating and bearing mortal bodies women make it possible for God's children to start on their mortal journey and have the opportunity to become perfected. Without women there would be no gateway into this world and no opportunity for progress or exaltation. In addition, by being willing to sacrifice ( their very lives if necessary) to bring children into this world women demonstrate the true meaning of charity. From the very first breath a child takes he or she has been the recipient of charity and unconditional love. This is a powerful gift that a mother gives her child and it is her love which first reminds the child of God and points them towards Christ. Each woman, regardless of her ability to give birth, is a savior to mankind when she loves men and nurtures a child closer to Christ.


Even Adam, whose physical body was not created by a daughter of Eve, was saved and delivered by a woman. For it was through a woman, Mary, that Jesus Christ came to conquer the bonds of death and sin and atoned for Adam's transgression. Without a woman to bear the body of Christ mankind would have been lost and fallen forever and Adam's work and purpose on the earth would have been meaningless. Mary was the gateway that made Christ's work possible and her nurturing the catalyst for his success. Even though Eve didn't give physical life to Adam she literally saved him from spiritual death by opening the way for the Savior and Redeemer to come into the world. Salvation, in the form of Christ, literally came to the earth through a woman.

This perspective on Eve is so powerful for me. It is so different from what we normally hear about her and about women's roles in the world. I love how Beverly Campbell concluded her remarks about the term "help meet", she said,
"Thus, it seems that through imprecise translation, our understanding of the powerful words used originally to describe Eve’s role have been diminished. As a result, our understanding or Mother Eve has also been diminished. Suppose we had all, male and female alike, been taught to understand Genesis 2:18 as something like the following, “It is not good that man should be alone. I will make him a companion of strength and power who has a saving power and is equal with him.”"
I know that understanding the real meaning of the term "help meet" earlier in my life would have made a huge difference in how I understood my role and mission as a woman. I think that if I had caught the vision of who we are as women and what a marvelous stewardship the Lord has given us I wouldn't have wasted so many years and so much energy being angry that I couldn't have a man's stewardship. I realize now that true power come when men and women understand that they have been blessed with different gifts, abilities and stewardship's and truly work together as equal partners to help each other be successful. Men and women need each other and it is only when they are united, body, soul and mind, that God's work moves forth. We are nothing without each other and nothing without Christ.

“It is not good that man should be alone. I will make him a companion of strength and power who has a saving power and is equal with him.”

How different our world would be if men and women really understood that!

Monday, November 1, 2010

"Good Guys" and "Bad Guys"


Lately my little three year old has been obsessed with "bad guys" and has been fascinated with violence.

Example #1: A few days ago we were watching the movie "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" and he wanted to watch the battle scene at the end (you know the one where the armor comes to life and takes on the Nazis) over and over again. He spent the next 24 hours telling me about how the bad guys "shooted" the other guys. How they "bonked da heads" and how they used their "swourds".

Example #2: My husband and I are pretty strict about not allowing toy weapons in to our home or watching or reading violent things. Obviously this hasn't stopped him because the other day he picked up one of the tomato stakes out of our garden and spent a good half hour thrusting it around and yelling "I kill you bad guy!"

Example #3: Whenever he is playing with a group of other little boys they ALWAYS end up playing some sort of shooting or fighting game-- even when there are no weapons to be had-- that involves "bad guys" and "good guys". They spend hours chasing each other around and taking turns being good and bad.

Example #4: In church on Sunday we were looking at the pictures of Christ on the cross and I mentioned that the "bad guys" had put Jesus on the cross and pointed out the Roman soldiers in the background. For the rest of church all he wanted to do was look at the picture of the "bad guys" and have me tell him about how they gave Jesus "owies" in his hands and feet.

I know that these things are fairly mild incidents but I have to admit they have sort of horrified me. I feel like my husband and I have been really, really careful about what we let him see and participate in and so to see him-- my pure, clean, perfect little boy --practicing these sort of violent things really terrifies me. How can I have already failed as a mother at three-years- old?!

Yet after praying and pondering on this sort of behavior, and getting over my initial feelings of horror and guilt, I realized something important.

In "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" when it talks about gender it says, "By divine design, fathers are to... provide the necessities of life and protection for their families." It dawned on me that perhaps one of the reasons that my little boy is so interested in "bad guys" and in fighting against them is that there is a part of his eternal soul that feels the need to protect. Perhaps, just like little girls will play with a doll to practice their nurturing responsibilities, little boys will play "bad guys" and "good guys" to practice their protection responsibilities.

When I mentioned this idea to my husband a little light went on in his head. He told me, "Heather, you have no idea how strongly the need to protect is imprinted on men's souls. I don't ever leave this house without worrying about you and the children. Protection is constantly on my mind. It comes from somewhere deep." As we talked more about it we realized that by playing at "bad guys" and "good guys" our little boy is trying to figure out what is right, what is wrong, and what his role is in all of that-- even at three- years- old.

Seeing our boy's actions in this light has really changed the way we've started approaching his games of "bad guys" and "good guys". We see his play time as a way for my husband and I to teach him about what it means to be a righteous man and prepare him for his role as a husband and protector. Through playing with him we have the opportunity to teach him:

.... that there is no glory in violence....

.... that a man of God values life above all else....

.... the difference between protection and aggression....

....how to handle anger and hurt in a peaceful way....

.... good communication skills....

... that weapons are not "toys" and that to wield one is to carry a heavy responsibility....

... that taking a life, even if it is pretend, is a serious thing and is never something to be taken lightly....

... that what you think and do, even for entertainment, determines the state of your soul...

.... to recognize that each person is a child of God and has innate worth....

.... and that love is a more powerful weapon that hate.

Who knew that playing "bad guys" and "good guys" could be full of such powerful eternal lessons?

I still don't think that we will ever allow toy weapons in our home, but I guess the next time my little boy picks up a tomato stake and spends the afternoon "getting the bad guys" I'll try not to be too horrified. I'll try to see it as an opportunity to teach him about his role as a righteous man here on earth and how to fulfill it...

... just as long as he doesn't try to spear his sister with his tomato stake.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Judge Not, or in other words, What I Learned When I Was Hanging From a Rock


My sister-in-law climbing and my husband on belay at the bottom

On Friday my husband and I broke out our rock climbing equipment and took my sister-in-law rock climbing up the canyon by our house. It had been several years since I'd been rock climbing (I've been pregnant for the last few summers) and it felt so good to be back on the rocks. I love it. I am always amazed at how much "brain work" rock climbing requires. It really forces you to learn your body, unify your mind with your body and make hard choices quickly. Even though it looks physically hard it is really more of a mental game than it is a physical one. Rock climbing has taught me some important eternal lessons over the years and Friday was no exception.

We were climbing a fairly difficult rock but it didn't really look all that hard until you were the one actually climbing it. When I was the one belaying it seemed so obvious to me what route the climber should take, where they should put their hands and feet, and how they should get out of hard situations. I found myself yelling advice to the climber and wondering why they were having such a hard time. Yet as soon as I clipped in and approached the wall it was like I was facing a completely different rock than I'd been watching the others climb. It was a lot steeper, smoother, and higher than it had appeared from below.

I learned an important lesson when I watched my husband climb a portion of the rock that I had really, really struggled with. He did it very quickly and with little trouble. He found hand holds that I hadn't even seen. I wondered why he seemed to be able to do it so much better than I had. I felt a little embarrassed that I had struggled so much.


My husband climbing

The next time I climbed I followed the same route that he had taken and when I got to the hard part I asked him where the hand hold was that he had used. He pointed it out and I saw that it was at least four feet above my head. I don't have the long arms and legs that my husband does (I am quite a bit shorter than him) and I knew that even if I was to stretch my body to its limit there was no way I would EVER be able to reach the same spot he had so easily reached. I would have to find a different way to get up the route.


Me, stuck in a hard spot

When I got down from the climb I realized that even though I was climbing the same rock, using the same rope, and taking the same route as the others-- my climbs were totally different than theirs. My body was different, my flexibility was different, my experience was different, the connection between my mind and body was different, my fears were different and my weakness were different. I saw that there was NO possible way that I could judge another's performance based on my own experience-- even though it seemed like it should be very similar. I realized that any "coaching" or advice I could give from the bottom would be really subjective and that I shouldn't judge the choices they made or the route they went because I wasn't the one climbing. They would make different choices than I did and would have a different experience than I did because--- they were different than me.

I think I probably should have learned this lesson much earlier in my adult life, it would have saved me a lot of grief, but it has now been impressed upon my soul in a powerful way. I see now how impossible it is for me to make judgments about why people make the choices they do or why they are the way they are. I don't have enough information. My own experience, even though it seems similar, is not enough to base the judgment off of because I am a different person-- a different soul-- with different talents, abilities, and experiences. I think I now understand much better what President Thomas S. Monson said in his recent comments to the Relief Society,
“None of us is perfect. I know of no one who would profess to be so. And yet for some reason, despite our own imperfections, we have a tendency to point out those of others. We make judgments concerning their actions or inactions. There is really no way we can know the heart, the intentions, or the circumstances of someone who might say or do something we find reason to criticize. Thus the commandment: “Judge not.”… Mother Teresa, a Catholic nun who worked among the poor in India most of her life, spoke this profound truth: “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”I consider charity—or “the pure love of Christ”—to be the opposite of criticism and judging… charity that manifests itself when we are tolerant of others and lenient toward their actions, the kind of charity that forgives, the kind of charity that is patient… It is accepting weaknesses and shortcomings. It is accepting people as they truly are. It is looking beyond physical appearances to attributes that will not dim through time. It is resisting the impulse to categorize others.”
Judging is something I struggle with (don't most of us?) and I hope that I will be able to apply the lesson God taught me this weekend to my daily life. I've learned that I can do everything I can to help make sure other climbers are warned, safe, supported, loved and encouraged--if they ask for help I can give it-- but I can't judge their choices. I have my own climb to worry about.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Would You Have Peeked at the Gold Plates?

I just finished reading “Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith” a biography of the wife of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I couldn’t put this book down.  It was such an incredible experience for me to read about LDS church history completely through the eyes of a woman-- that doesn't happen very often.

One of the stories that impressed me the most about Emma was her interactions with the gold plates from which Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon. In September of 1826, Joseph went for a meeting with the angel Moroni on the Hill Cumorah not far from his house. When he had met with the angel before he had been told that the time wasn’t right yet for him to have the plates. This time though Joseph recounted that the “personage told him he could have the record the following September if he brot with him the right person and indicated that Joseph would know who that was.” Joseph Knight, a friend in whom Joseph later confided the story, said the young man “looked into his glass and found it was Emma Hale Daughter of Mr. Hale of Pensulvany.” (pg. 10 of Mormon Enigma)  It is awesome to me that God wouldn't let Joseph have the plates until he had Emma. She was a necessary part of God's plan for the establishment of his church and the Joseph's work as a prophet. She was Joseph's "help-meet"-- his equal.


Evidently after Joseph’s meeting with Moroni he didn’t waste much time and he and Emma eloped on January 18th of 1827. In September of that same year Joseph again returned to the Hill Cumorah, this time with Emma driving the wagon. She waited for him as he climbed the hill and watched as he returned with a bundle wrapped in his coat. She didn’t see the plates but saw the outline of what Joseph told her was a gold book with ancient engravings on them. Over the next year or so those plates, and the translation of them, would become the center focus of Emma and Joseph’s life. She would eventually be chased out of her home, estranged from her father and mother, be bounced from home to home as a guest, loose multiple children, be debilitated by illness, chased by mobs, harassed and criticized, and eventually loose her husband because of those plates.

Yet despite everything Emma went through she never saw the gold plates because Joseph was never given permission by God to let her see them. Later in her life Emma recounted that, “They lay in a box under our bed for months but I never felt at liberty to look at them.”  She said they were sometimes on a table in her living room, “wrapped in a small linen table cloth, which I had given him to fold them in. I once felt of the plates, as they thus lay on the table, tracing their outline and shape. They seem to be pliable like thick paper, and would rustle with metallic sound when the edges were moved by the thumb, as one does sometimes thumb the edge of a book.”  Emma also mentioned that she lifted and moved the plates as she dusted around them but never looked at them.” (Pg. 25 in Mormon Enigma)  Emma claimed that she never had any desire to see them but in D&C 25:4 the Lord tells her "Murmur not because of the things which thou hast not seen, for they are withheld from thee and from the world, which is wisdom in me in a time to come."  So obviously Emma  did struggle somewhat with not being able to see or understand everything her husband did. 
  
Emma's integrity really impresses me and I marvel that despite her doubts and her struggles she still went forth with faith in things she had not seen. As I've thought about Emma dusting around the gold plates I can't help but imagine myself in the same situation. "Would I have peeked at the plates?” I’d like to think I wouldn’t have, but I don’t know if I could say I wouldn’t have. I have a hard time leaving the "hidden" bag of chocolate in my dresser alone. I don't know how I would have faired with a set of gold plates.  

The more I learn about Emma the more my heart is filled with love and admiration for her. Her life was truly a series of enigmas but really, given all she went through in her life, what an amazing woman!

I'm curious. Do you think you would have peeked at the God plates if you'd been Emma?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Recommended Reading

I've had a few people ask me for good book recommendations lately and so I've put a widget on the sidebar of my blog that has some of my favorite books on women in the scriptures and LDS church history. I will keep adding to it from time to time and if I ever mention a book on my blog I'll add it to the widget so that you'll be able to find it easily. I'll try to do some book reviews soon.

Also, Jocelyn at We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ nominated me for the "Lovely Blog Award." I'm honored! 
 

As part of the award I am suppose to:
  1. Accept the award. Post in on your blog with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.
  2. Pay it forward to 5 other bloggers that you have newly discovered.
  3. Contact those blog owners and let them know they've been chosen.
Here are the five blogs I am passing the award on to. These are some of my favorite blogs and these women have inspired me so much. They are definitely on my recommended reading list. 

1. Apple Cider Mill-- a Catholic mother who is truly an inspiration. Here series on "Openness to Life" has change my whole view on motherhood and eternity. If I didn't have such a testimony of Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the restoration  I'd seriously think about becoming a Catholic thanks to her. 

2. Misfit Cygnet-- don't read her blog if you are faint at heart she will make you re-evaluate your life in hard ways. I don't always agree with her, but she makes me think about hard things and I appreciate that. My little sister just lent me her copy of "The Hunger Games" and I was actually going to start it tonight but after reading her post about them  I think I'll skip this series. 

3. In the Doghouse Now-- if you want great spiritual insights this is your woman.  I love her post on the three veils of water.

4.  Conversion Diary-- another Catholic mother who has really influenced me. She used to be atheist and now is a faithful Catholic. I shared this article she wrote on my facebook page but it really impacted me so I'll share it again here-- the Catholic perspective on openness to life really resonates with my soul.

5. Asking Jane--  Jane is an LDS mother of 11 kids and has the absolutely most amazing outlook on life. She constantly reminds me that motherhood is a spiritual calling and that I should rely more on God, the scriptures, and personal revelation for parenting advice than on books or next door neighbors.

These are great reads, I promise.  Also I am ALWAYS looking for good books or books to read so if you have any good recommendations I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hannah’s Birth Story: “My Horn is Exalted in the Lord”

"For This Child I Prayed" by Elspeth Young
Most of us are familiar with Hannah’s story in 1 Samuel 1-2, Hannah is barren, she goes to the tabernacle and prays earnestly for a child, she promises the Lord that if He will bless her with a child she will consecrate him to the Lord, she is praying so passionately that Eli the priest thinks she is drunk, she explains herself to him, Eli blesses her, she later conceives Samuel, and after weaning him she presents him to the Lord and Samuel is raised in the temple and becomes a great prophet. Hannah’s story is so rich and while there so many different aspects her story to talk about the thing that impresses me most about her story is her desire and willingness to conceive, bear, and love a child she knew she wasn’t going to get to keep.

In Hannah’s day women who were unable to bear children occupied a lower social status that women who had children and were viewed to be “cursed” or “afflicted”. They were also a woman’s “social security” in her old age. In view of these things one can imagine that Hannah may have wanted a child in order to gain more social status in her house hold, to secure her own comfort in the future, or she may have wanted to “show up” her husband’s other wife, Peninnah (who had children) and who often “…provoked her [Hannah] sore, for to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb.”

Yet it is interesting to me that in her prayer to the Lord Hannah didn’t mention any of those motives as her reason for wanting a child. In 1 Samuel 1:11 we read about how Hannah, “in bitterness of soul” went to the tabernacle in Shiloh and “vowed a vow” to the Lord that “… if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life…” Hannah had gotten to a point in her life where she was ready and willing to surrender her will completely to the Lord. She doesn’t ask for a child for selfish reasons, all she asks for is the blessing of being a vessel to bring a child to earth. She knew from the very start that she wasn’t going to get to raise Samuel, she knew that he wouldn’t be there to take care of her in her old age, she knew that she wouldn’t get to dress him up and parade him in front of Peninnah or the other women. In fact, she knew she would have to face one of the hardest tasks any woman could face-- turning her child completely over to the Lord. She knew all this before she even conceived Samuel and yet she still wanted him.

In vs. 24 of 1 Samuel 1 we read more about her sacrifice and the condition of her heart, “And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the Lord in Shiloh: and the child was young. And she said… I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshiped the Lord there. ”

We don’t know for sure how old Samuel was but women in Hannah’s culture often breastfed their children into their toddler hood and didn’t wean them until they were around 3 or 4 years old. My little son is turning three soon and as I think about Hannah and her little Samuel my heart aches for what she must have felt during those years she nursed him. I wonder if she had a constant battle going on in her head and heart about whether or not to honor her vow to the Lord. She easily could she could have kept Samuel and no one, except the Lord, would ever have known. It is such an example to me of her faith and integrity that Hannah honored her vow to the Lord and gave her little son to the Lord like she had promised. I can only imagine her pain as she walked away from the tabernacle leaving behind her little son, knowing that from that point on that she would only see him once a year when her family would bring their offering to the tabernacle. Did Samuel cry for her as she left? My heart aches as I imagine her weeping that night as she rode back to her tent, still filled with Peninnah’s passel of children, empty handed.

Yet despite the sorrow she must have felt she still found voice to praise God. In chapter 2 of 1 Samuel is Hannah’s psalm in which she sings “ My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord… There is none holy as the Lord; for there is none beside thee… for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed… The Lord killeth, and makest alive; he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up… the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s and he hath set the world upon them.” (vs. 1,2,6,8).

I love the phrase she uses “mine horn is exalted in the Lord”. ‘Horn” in Hebrew is a figurative way of saying “power” or “capacity” and exalted can mean either “elevated” or “ joyful”. So another way to interpret what Hannah is saying in her psalm is that her “power, or capacity” has been “elevated” by the Lord. I don’t believe Hannah is talking about worldly power but rather rejoicing in God’s power and in the great miracle that he had allowed her to participate in. God had given her power to create and she recognized that it was not her own power, but that she had been a vessel through which the power of God had flown.

Hannah’s story has meant a lot to me in my life because at the beginning of my marriage I had some health problems and at one point was faced with the possibility that I might not be able to have children. Up until that point in my life I’d never really wanted to become a mother. My life plans included a Ph.D., traveling, and doing important things- which in my mind meant working for the UN fighting AIDS and world hunger. Children were not a priority in my life and I figured they would come someday when I had started all the "important" things I wanted to do with my life. Then, when I was faced with the fact that I might never be able to have children and suddenly ALL I wanted in the whole world was to be a mother-- desperately. I spent hours on my knees pleading with God, telling him that my heart had changed and begged Him, like Hannah, to “not forget thine handmaid”.

The year I struggled with infertility (I know that sounds pathetic compared to what some women experience) completely changed the direction of my life. I came to understand the hunger and desperation that Hannah must have felt when she went up to the house of the Lord and “was in the bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore.” I felt like that trial had awakened a part of my soul that I had tried to silence for most of my life. I felt my “mother heart” awaken; it was powerful, overwhelming, and completely soul changing. I still don’t know why I had that short, yet hard, trial of infertility. What I do know is that during that year I discovered the seeds of creation within my soul; I watered them with my tears, fed them with the insatiable hunger of my soul and I felt them grow and expand. I knew, as surely as I could know anything, that those seed would one day sprout—in this life or the next.

I know there are people who will disagree with me but I feel that within every woman is a mothering heart—the divine seeds of love that yearn for continuing life. I realize that there are women who say they aren’t “natural” mothers, they don’t like children, or they have never had those sort of desires. I understand that, completely, because for a long time that was what I said about myself. Yet I firmly believe that we have been created in the image of God, male and female, and that like him we find out greatest joy in creation. When we participate in any sort of creation -- whether it be creating a new life, a piece of art, music, writing, the construction of a building, or the nurturing of a garden-- we get to be an instrument in God’s hand and vessels for his power. They are the times we see, like Hannah did, that we are nothing without Him and they cause us to exclaim, “My horn is exalted in the Lord.” They are the experiences our souls hunger for.


Questions to Think About:

  • I realize that not all men and women have the opportunity to use their procreative powers on this earth. What ways do you exercise your creative power?
  • Do you think that there is something within men and women’s eternal soul that desires children? Why or why not?
  • Why are women willing to make such sacrifices, including risking their lives, to bring children into the world?
  • Could you dedicate your child to the Lord like Hannah did?
  • What other women in the scriptures does Hannah’s story remind you of?
  • Why are women so quick to judge each other unkindly and “provoke each other sore”, especially in relation to the experiences of child bearing, pregnancy, labor and mothering?