Friday, December 31, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
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.
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
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
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.
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
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
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
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.
- 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.
“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.)
- 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
"... 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."
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
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 :)
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
“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.”
"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. "
"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.
"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.
How different our world would be if men and women really understood that!
Monday, November 1, 2010
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
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.
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
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.
Friday, October 15, 2010
- 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.
- Pay it forward to 5 other bloggers that you have newly discovered.
- Contact those blog owners and let them know they've been chosen.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
|"For This Child I Prayed" by Elspeth Young|
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”.
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?