Monday, February 4, 2013

A Blessing from My Daughter

Last week I was sick.

Throw-up, lay on the couch, moan, and hope my kids didn't destroy things too much sick.

At one point my little Rose really wanted me to read her a book, but I was so sick that the thought of sitting up made my head spin. She begged and begged, but I just wasn't up to it.

Yet, not to be discouraged, she said, "Mommy, I could give you a blessing and it would make you better."

Her comment made me pause and I thought she was just teasing. But one look at the sincere and faith-filled look on her faith melted my heart and I knew she was in earnest.

I told her I would love her to give me a blessing.

She gently crept up onto couch and put her little hands on my head, and in what was the most earnest and serious voice I have ever heard her use, she poured out her blessing.

"Jesus, I need you to come right now
Make my mommy better.
We need the Holy Ghost. 
And we will be healthy and strong.
This is the end." 

I have never heard a more sincere, simple prayer in my life. I wish I could have captured the urgency, faith, and love that filled her little voice. It was so sweet.

And you know... I felt a lot better afterwards.

When I sat up I told Rose to grab a book and I would read it to her she got the biggest smile on her face. She'd had faith that Jesus could make me better, and He really did. At least well enough that I could read her Fancy Nancy and Dr. Seuss, and then fall back asleep on the couch.

I think it was a profound spiritual moment for Rose, because several times in the days following she again offered me a blessing when she saw me sick...with an added assurance that she knew Jesus could make me better.

I have been thinking a lot about Rose's blessings the last few days. In the LDS church formal blessings on the sick are administered by men who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood and who seal the blessing by the power of that priesthood.  Yet, as I have talked about in my post, Women Giving Blessings in the Early Days of the LDS Church there is a difference between a priesthood blessing and the gift to heal.

The gift to heal is one that is given to all the followers of Christ, male and female. In D&C 84: 64-68 it says,
"Therefore, as I said unto my apostles I say unto you again, that every soul who beleiveth on your words, and is baptized by water for the remission of sins, shall receive the Holy Ghost. And these signs shall follow them that believe. In my name they shall do many wonderful works; In my name they shall cast out devils; In my name they shall heal the sick....
The gift to heal is also listed among the gifts of the spirit promised to the disciples of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12: 9 says,

"To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit"

Women in the early days of the LDS church often participated in healing as demonstrations of faith. Women most commonly administered by laying on of hands to their children but were sometimes called to administer to those outside of their families. Women who gave blessings never claimed priesthood authority, but always closed their blessings in the name of Jesus Christ.(If you would like to more about this please read this post.)

Rose's sweet blessing was a blessings of faith.

I realize that at some point I will need to have a conversation with Rose about the difference between the ways in which men and women administer, but I think for now that conversation can wait. At three-years-old I don't  want to squelch her fire of faith by giving her deeper doctrine than she can understand. I love it that right now she understands that through her faith she can work miracles, and that her faith in Christ is a power that she can use on behalf of others.

She is discovering how to access her spiritual gifts.

Rose's simple faith in Christ's power really made me reflect on an experience I had last year. Jon and I were on vacation with some friends and between the four of us we had seven kids under the age of six. One night as we all knelt together for family prayer, I offered the prayer. As I prayed I had the most unusual feeling come over me. I felt the distinct impression/prompting that I could  (and should) pronounce a promise and a blessing upon all those little children-- a promise that  none of those seven precious souls would be lost to the adversary's power.

The feeling was overwhelming and it scared me. I had never before pronounced a promise or a blessing upon anyone, and I wasn't sure if I was "allowed" to. So even though the prompting had come strongly, and the words to say had come in to my mind, I didn't say them. I was scared by the power that was being offered to me. Afterwards I was really sad. I felt like I had just missed an important spiritual opportunity, and I wished more than anything I had spoken those words. Later in the privacy of my room I said them, but I felt like the opportunity to speak them as a promise and a blessing had passed (though I still hope that the Lord will grant that blessing to those children despite my weakness).

That experience taught me that as a  disciple of Christ, who has made sacred covenants, I have access to spiritual power and gifts beyond myself. Through Christ I have the ability to work miracles, to heal, to cast out devils, to bless, and to prophesy. What I realized though was that I had some sort of  mental block to using that power. For too long in my life I had dwelt on what I could not do (administer priesthood ordinances) that I saw I hadn't taken the time to fully develop what I could do (perform miracles through faith). I had confused working miracles, healing, prophesying, and blessing as being synonymous with priesthood authority but they aren't.

They are gifts.

Gifts of faith, and they are available to all who follow Christ.

Even, three-year-old girls.

21 comments:

  1. heather, what a sweet post! i've been meaning to comment for a while, but it would be fun to try and get together before you move. life is a bit crazy right now i'm sure for you, but let's make it happen in the next few months!

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  2. This is just a gorgeously sweet anecdote. Rose must be so adorable, in person. :) Life through the eyes of a small child is so simple. I still don't buy the whole "women vicars" thing but maybe this puts a new spin on it. A little child shall lead... xx

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    1. I don't really buy into the ordaining women trend either. I don't think there is any scriptural basis for it, but I do think that women much more spiritual power than we realize. I think that sometimes we limit ourselves, perhaps subconsciously, when we really have such spiritual strength!

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  3. What a sweet story. Thank you, for sharing it with us and giving me a lot to think about ... again.

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  4. beautiful. yesterday, i was reading the scriptures associated with 'heal' and read several of the ones you mentioned her. thank you for your thoughts on healing and gifts. i still treasure my notes from your classes last summer.

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  5. This is beautiful Heather. I often find my little 3 year old boy trying to give his baby brother blessings (or me!) and have often wondered how I should react in those situations. I am so glad you shared this experience along with your insights into spiritual gifts - it has certainly given me lots to ponder on!

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  6. How lovely! Thanks so much for writing about this!

    My nearly-8yo daughter asked the other day if she would be able to pass the Sacrament when she was 12. She's the first of my girls to ask something like this (possibly because my oldest is a girl, then we have a boy, so this middle girl has a different dynamic for her examples), and was casting about in my brain for how to answer. I feel like I was blessed when I heard myself saying, "Actually, sweetheart, you pass the Sacrament now... we all do. The boys do the blessing, then they bring it to us, and then we all pass the Sacrament to one another, and share the responsibility to repent and renew our covenants together. You don't have to wait; you've been passing the Sacrament to me, and to those next to us, since you were little." She grinned, nodded, and went on about her day. I did, too, but that very lovely thought of cooperative sharing together has stuck with me for a few weeks now... I think it was a blessing *through* my girlie.

    I really love the clarification about gifts of the Spirit open to *all* disciples. Just lovely!!

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    1. What a fabulous response. Thank you for sharing.

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  7. This post could not have come at a better time! I was just reading this week 2 Ne 1, where Lehi is talking to Laman and Lemuel about how they were upset about Nephi's power over them. Verse 26&27 struck me. Lehi talks about the power Nephi had with which to command them, and at first I thought "Oh, the power of the priesthood. Got it." But at the end of verse 27, Lehi says "But behold, it was not he (Nephi), but the Spirit of the Lord which was in Him." I think we have a long way to go in understanding the difference between the power of the priesthood, which to me is God's power to administer the ordinances necessary for Eternal Life, and the Power of the Holy Ghost, to which ALL members have access. I can access the power to command my children, or anyone the Lord directs, just as Nephi did! I wrote in my notes "women cannot use lack of priesthood authority as an excuse not to act! We also have the Holy Ghost and should seek to do God's will and to be anxiously engaged in doing good through our own choice." :) Thanks again! I always love your insights! And what a sweet little Rose you have!

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  8. I've been lurking for awhile and enjoying your wonderful posts. Thank you for posting this one; it reminded me of a time when I was complaining to my father about girls not having the ability to give blessings. His response was that he felt that the sincere prayer of a worthy mother on behalf of her child was as, if not more, powerful than a priesthood blessing.

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  9. Wonderful insights and I agree that Rose doesn't need to understand all the intricacies. Her faith is powerful, let it continue to grow and welcome her blessings. :)

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  10. This was beautiful. Thank you.

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  11. My little daughter once gave me a blessing. I loved the experience and did not correct her as the whole experience was tender and sweet. She knows now through other discussions, age, and seeing her father that one must have the priesthood authority to do those things. So I never actively corrected her, or even thought about her not realizing she should be taught until this post. I forgot about her misconception and time corrected it. Perhaps the same will occur in your own home.
    On a side note, once in a situation I felt that my child needed a blessing. I was so willing to lay my hands on his body and proceed in faith. I started to say a prayer to ask for guidance and I had the strongest and clearest impression that my prayer as a mother was sufficient and therefore I just prayed with my whole soul and felt comforted. I am not saying that we don't need blessings-quite the opposite for me. But in that moment, when my husband was out of town and it was late in the night, my calling out for His power was sufficient to bring down his power, to heal and comfort. I am grateful for the fact that we have access to that, regardless of sex, because He loves us and we love (obey, follow, etc) him.

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  12. I love this! The faith of children is incredible. I often wish I had the same faith I did when I was a child- I just complicate things now. Also, if you are ever so inclined I would love for you to do a post going into a little more depth on the gift of healing and to be healed. I have studied it a few times but didnt really get anywhere.

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  13. What a sweet and powerful prayer, how could the Savior resist coming to your aid upon hearing that prayer? I teach in the junior primary and what I am learning and what I know for sure, is that children are serious about their faith and their testimony. One Sunday we had a little girl give the closing prayer, and you get used to leaning in to hear their soft little voices, but this little sister, folded her arms, and closed her eyes and spoke in a loud clear voice and prayed the most heartfelt and sensitive prayer I have not heard in a while, from anyone.
    Except ye come as a little child.....

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  14. Oh sweet Rose. I love this. Everything she said and you said is beautiful. I was reading about those spiritual gifts recently too. It made me happy thinking of myself healing others. I'm excited for that.

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  15. Thank you so much for this beautiful post Heather. Your daugther sounds like a little angel, and I was touched by her faith. Thank you again!

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  16. On Tuesday night, my 13-month-old daughter had an accident that nearly took her life (she stopped breathing and I am not sure if her heart remained beating the whole time or not...by the time I checked after performing 2 rounds of compressions/breaths, it was beating, but it took a few more breaths to get her to start breathing again, and she continued to need my assistance with that until she was on oxygen in the ambulance). I knew it would be several hours before she would be able to receive a blessing, as she was being transported from ambulance to helicopter to hospital an hour and a half from our home, but I remembered all of your posts on administering by faith and not the priesthood. I was all she had, so I put my hands on her and prayed by faith and as her mother that her life would be spared and she would be healed. I spoke of how precious she was to us and begged our Father to allow her to stay because of how much we need her. I don't know if it was entirely appropriate for me to do so, but in the moment it made sense to me. The priesthood blessing she was finally able to receive about 6.5 hours after the incident was very encouraging, and though there have been ups and downs and setbacks on some organs to counter miraculous healing on other organs, at this time the doctors are confident that she will fully recover in time.

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    1. Wow, what a beautiful experience. I am so glad you shared it. I think that you did exactly what was right. The Lord NEVER ignores the prayers of a mother. Your faith has more power than you realize. I hope your daughter does well and wish her a speedy recovery!

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