Friday, March 29, 2013

Five Things for Friday, 54th Edition


-1-

My little Rose is developing quite the attitude. She has always been an opinionated little girl, but lately she has become a sassy pants. She doesn't talk back but she has developed a signature scowl (which if you have seen it you know what I am talking about) and is VERY vocal about everything. For example, while I was sitting here typing she came up to me and said, "Heather (she always calls me by my first name) you have to do ---- right now, this very second. You have to, I'll count to three." Followed by this look.

Rose in mid-scowl
The problem is that I think I know where she gets her opinionated, bossy attitude and it is making me feel a bit repentant. Though, truth be told, it is probably a lot cuter in a three-year-old than a twenty-eight-year old!

My father-in-law took this picture of my niece, Asher and Rose several months ago getting ready to go on a picnic. It is funny in and of itself, but it is even funnier when you know Rose's personality. Notice the folded arms and bowed head... it just compliments the frowny face backpack :)



 -2-

As I just mentioned Rose always calls me by my first name instead of "mom".  I have tried really hard to correct her, but she always seems to default to calling me "Heather."  Asher went through a similar phase but it only lasted a few weeks, but Rose is going on a year + of it! I have gotten used to it and hardly notice it any more, but it always makes strangers smile and comment. She did have a few months where she took to calling me "mother", which I loved, but then slipped back into calling me "Heather". Maybe she will outgrow it as she gets older, but I have sort of reconciled myself to the fact that we might just have the type of relationship where she calls me "Heather" instead of "Mom". Which, I guess is okay with me.

-3-


Thank you to everyone who came to my Women in the Scriptures lecture last night.  It was really a wonderful evening and I so enjoyed getting to know many of you better. I loved hearing Diana Webb speak and it was fun to be  surrounded by women in the scripture nerds. I look forward to meeting those of you who are going to The Gift of Giving Life party tonight!

-4-

Poor Abe has been so sick this week. I think it has just been a cold but it has been compounded by the fact that he is getting two of his back molars at the same time. The kid has been miserable, which means that life has been a bit more miserable for me too. The silver lining has been that the ONLY time my kids are snuggly is when they are sick. It has been really sweet to have my normally busy boy want to do nothing more than snuggle on my lap all day. I am enjoying it while I can get it. But I do hope he gets better soon!


The first indication that he wasn't feeling well came when I left him on my bed to go change over the laundry and found he fell asleep, mid-dismount. It looks like he had been about to slide off the bed but changed his mind and fell asleep instead. He slept like that for a few hours!



-5-

I have so many thoughts rolling around in my head about the same-sex marriage debate going on right now. Unfortunately, the post that I have written about it is on my desktop computer which is now packed away and on its way to Iowa.

My post is inside there somewhere.
 Once we get all unpacked in a few weeks I will post it.

In the meantime I want to share snippets from two article by Valerie Hudson about same-sex marriage that have impressed me the most.

"The Men Have Muffed It: How Men's Misunderstanding of the Telos of Marriage Imperils Its Future," by Valerie Hudson, April 2009

"An eminent Ivy League scholar who is an eloquent orator in the anti-same-sex marriage movement was invited to address the student body of BYU several months ago.  Since the students were already sympathetic to the speaker’s argument, the applause was frequent and sincere.  After the address, students queued up to ask questions.  Only one was female, and her question was last.

She asked the great scholar why women should support traditional marriage when its history has been the oppression, in general, of women.  The scholar explained, and I paraphrase here, “Marriage is better than the alternatives for women,” and proceeded to launch into a description of the degraded situation of women in pagan societies.  The speaker, in essence, was telling her that marriage was the least of the evils from which women could choose.

Dejection clearly written all over her face, the student withdrew so that the speaker could go to lunch.  She had every reason to feel dejected over this wholly inadequate response.  Men’s overwhelming dominance in the anti-same-sex marriage movement, coupled with their misunderstanding of the telos of marriage, is dooming that movement to ignoble and inevitable defeat.  If American society loses the ideal of heterosexual marriage, it will be in large part because many American men never understood what it was really for. Read the Rest


“'Some Things That Should Not Have Been Forgotten Were Lost': The Pro-Feminist, Pro-Democracy, Pro-Peace Case for State Privileging of Companionate Heterosexual Monogamous Marriage”
V.H. Cassler
SquareTwo, Vol. 2 No. 1 (Spring 2009) 

"We pause here to make a bold claim: those who base their defense of heterosexual marriage on the basis of its easier and more natural procreative potential are off the mark. As we have seen, evolutionary marriage can result in very high levels of fertility—and very low levels of peace, freedom, and gender equality. No, a true understanding of marriage leads us to the recognition that marriage is, in the first place, about human peace: peace incarnate between the two halves of humanity, male and female. This is the peace that has the power to unravel our human evolutionary legacy of malignant patriarchy. That ease of procreation attends this sacrament of human peace is a just and natural consequence—but it is a consequence, and not the telos of this sacrament.

Because of the sacrament of human peace, the man and the woman are now free, and turn their attention to a common project of freedom—generation. But this common project of the sexes is best seen as the natural outgrowth of the sacrament of human peace, not the other way around. For when procreation is seen as the primary purpose of marriage, there is no way to distinguish between the procreation occurring in evolutionary legacy marriage, on the one hand, and procreation in companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage. Indeed, since we would expect the fertility rate in evolutionary legacy marriage to be higher than that of companionate heterosexual marriage (since the woman has little or no control over her body in evolutionary legacy marriage), seeing procreation as the primary purpose of marriage may lead us to the egregious conclusion that evolutionary legacy marriage is just as good, and perhaps even better, than all other arrangements. But, as we have seen, it is vital to make that distinction between procreation in evolutionary legacy marriage and procreation in companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage—should we fail, we invite the peril of malignant patriarchy to overtake society once more. 

When children are born within companionate heterosexual monogamous marriages, as they will be, they have a special heritage. The children born of this sacrament of human peace have an immense advantage that children born of evolutionary marriage or gender apart-ness do not share. These children of the sacrament know human peace intimately, and know how it is to be created. It is they who can show the way for those who were not born with such a great advantage. It is these children who will grow up to be the bulwark of peace, democracy, freedom, and gender equality in society—and the good state has a vested interest in privileging their conception. The good state simultaneously has a vested interest in discouraging any other form of conception. However, the state also has a vested interest in having children well-cared for, rather than abused or neglected, and if children are not brought forth within companionate heterosexual monogramous marriages, then they should be placed in circumstances where they will be not abused and will be well-cared for..." Read the rest.

The truth is that the "marriage question" is at the heart of our civilization and what we decide to embrace-- individuality and collectively-- will determine if our society survives and thrives or if is dooming itself to self destruction. At the heart this debate is not about "equality" but about the purpose of life, the relationships between men and women, and our attitude towards the continuation of life. It is really the crux of why we are here on the earth.... Oh, I have so much to say and not enough time to write it. 

But stay tuned, it will come. 

Have a wonderful Easter Weekend! 

If you want to link to your own "Five Things for Friday" post you can use the tool below to add your link. 1) Please link to the URL of your blog post and not your main blog and 2) Please include a link back here.




Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Covenant Motherhood {Book Review}

Several weeks ago Stephanie Dibb Sorenson, who blogs at Diapers and Divinity, asked me if I would be interested in reading and reviewing her new book, "Covenant Motherhood." I knew that she had been working on it for awhile and was excited to see the final product.


 The premise of her book is that motherhood, in all its many facets,  is symbolic of Jesus Christ. Mother's through the work they do-- creating, teaching, succoring, providing, cleaning, defending, loving, forgiving, and saving-- are mirrors of the Savior and His mission on the earth.

One of her last paragraphs in the books reads:
" Motherhood is a monumental investment, and sometimes our offerings don't make sense in the moment. When Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden and began their mortal life as parents, they made sacrifices and offering to the Lord. They did so to be obedient, but they didn't really understand why. The angel taught Adam that these things were "a similitude of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth." So it is with motherhood. Much of what we do as mothers is an offering to our families and to our Heavenly Father because, like Adam and Eve, we love them and want to be obedient. Repeated offerings require sacrifice-- big and small, some daily, some deep. All of these offerings are symbols of our Savior and are meant to point us to Him." pg. 96

I really enjoyed reading all of Stephanie's insights into how motherhood parallels the Saviors ministry and His atonement. I think that her book would be a big eye opener for mothers who are struggling to find purpose behind what they are doing. I think that many of us got into the mothering job because we want to be obedient to the instructions the Lord had given us, but like Adam, may not really understand the full magnitude of what we are engaged in. I know that reading this book has helped me be approach several aspects of my mothering-- especially my housework and chores-- with more spiritual eyes... which is good because I need all the help I can get on that front!

Overall I really liked to whole book but I think my favorite chapter was the first one, "Jesus Christ Creates".  When I read this paragraph I got really excited because it  put something into words that I hadn't been able to articulate:

" I had always thought that the concept of creation in womanhood was intrinsically tied to a uterus and reproduction and all the other wonders of baby-making. And it is, but that is not the only way in which we are creators. During a general Relief Society broadcast in 2008 President Dieter F. Uchtdorf taught that creation "is your opportunity in this life and your destiny in the life to come." I began to realize that motherhood-- all of of motherhood, not just the childbirth part-- is simply creation in slow motion. We are literally shaping  souls like a potter shapes clay, building children  and instilling in them all the knowledge, skills, testimony, and power they will need to make successful  choices."  (pg. 8)
I thought that was such a beautiful thought and wish that more women understood this; that creation is part of what it means to be a woman. Our Heavenly Mother is a creator, in the grandest sense of the word, and what we do as women here on the earth mirrors her eternal nature. Like Stephanie said, it is more than childbearing, it is creating and shaping souls. The most beautiful thing is that you don't have to have children of your own to be a creator. Each and every woman is a MOTHER-- a CREATOR-- it is part of her divine nature.

I also loved what Stephanie said in her chapter "Jesus Christ Loves and Sacrifices" because I could SO relate to her: 

" I used to dream really big. My notebooks were more about traveling the globe and getting degrees and teaching and making a difference. I'm happy to report that over time the Lord has blessed me with chances to do many of those things, but not one of them matters as much to me as the people He gave me. God and my little family have turned me into a better me than the me I had imagined. And when all is said and done, if I were to find out that I wasn't allowed to keep most of the things that are important to me, my husband and my children are the things I would hold onto the tightest. The things I never knew I wanted are my greatest treasures". (pg. 57)

Amen to that. 

Covenant Motherhood is now for sale, just in time for Mother's Day. You can buy it online and in LDS Bookstores!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Three Chances to See Me before I Move!

One of the hardest parts about moving to Iowa in a couple of weeks is that I will be leaving Utah without meeting so many of my blog friends here.

So, I am happy to say that there will be THREE opportunities in the next two weeks to meet me before I move. I would love it if you could come to at least one of them!

Chance #1

Women in the Scriptures Lecture by Diana Webb

Thursday, March 28th @ 7 PM

 1630 Siesta Drive, Sandy, Utah


I am really excited to be hosting a first ever Women in the Scriptures lecture featuring Diana Webb, author of "Forgotten Women of God". Diana is one of my very favorite women in the scriptures scholars (you can read my interview with her here) and I know that I am super excited to hear her speak! Her topic will be "Rebekah and other Lionesses at the Gate." I have read parts of her manuscript ( still in progress) by the same title and it is wonderful. This should be a great night.

There will be refreshments provided and lots of time to mingle, chat, and meet other women in the scriptures readers. If you are planning on attending please join the Facebook Event so I can get an idea of how many are coming and keep you up to date if anything changes.

Feel free to bring friends and spouses! Nursing babies are welcome.

Also, there is extra parking across the street. 

Chance #2 

Gift of Giving Life Party

Friday, March 29th @ 7PM 

Arrivals Birth Center  
(1190 E 5425 S Suite 330, Ogden, UT) 

Lani (one of my co-authors) just started doing these parities in Arizona and they have been amazing. Robyn and I are so excited to host the first one in Utah!


We will have a drawing for a free copy of our book, The Gift of Giving Life, and will have some copies of the book available for purchase at a discount. You may also get to meet some of the women whose stories are included in the book.

Please do (at least) one of the following to make this party a beautiful experience for all of us...

Prepare to share a short story about a time when you saw the hand of God or had a spiritual experience as you prepared for pregnancy, got pregnant, survived pregnancy, experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth, gave birth, recovered from birth, struggled to breastfeed, or decided to have another baby, etc.

Select a favorite short excerpt from The Gift of Giving Life that has had a positive impact on you to share at the party. (You do not have to have read the book to come.)

Interview your mother/grandmother/aunt/sister/friend about her birth experiences and share something uplifting you learned.

Pray for an open heart as you enjoy hearing others share their stories.

Please RSVP by joining our Facebook Event page


 Please do bring your pregnant friends! Breastfeeding babies are welcome!

P.S. If you'd like to bring munchies, that would be super. Just message us. :-)


Chance #3 


Ladies Night Book Signings at Deseret Book
Saturday, April 6th from 6:00- 8:00 PM 



Fort Union Deseret Book Store 

( 1110 E Fort Union Blvd, Midvale, UT)




I will be signing copies of my book "The Gift of Giving Life" during Ladies Night (during the Priesthood Session of General Conference)! If you have never been to Ladies Night before it is a lot of fun. There are lots of treats and giveaways and everything is on sale. I would love to meet some of you there. Bring your books and I will sign them, or come and buy a copy. It might be one of the last times to get a signed copy from me!

Also, if you live in Idaho Robyn will be signing books at the Ammon, Idaho Deseret Book store during Ladies Night. If you live in California Sheridan will be at the Orange County Deseret Book store during Ladies Night. So go get your book signed! 

Hope to see you at one-- or ALL-- of those three events!

Unless of course you live in Iowa, then hopefully we will meet in a few months:) 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Identity Crisis

I have been having a blogging identity crisis lately.

Someone asked me awhile ago where my blog fit into the blogosphere? Are you a mommy blog? A religious blog? A lifestyle blog? A feminist blog? A craft blog? A cooking blog? A family blog? A platform blog?   

I didn't really know what to say. I realized that I don't really fit anywhere.

Which makes me weird.

Usually, I am okay with weird.

But lately I have been having what Jon calls my "fat arm" syndrome.

I usually feel really good about my body but I have a bad habit of comparing the size of my arms to other women's. For days afterwards I pinch and prod my arms hoping they will some how change shape. They never do, but still I worry about them.

Dumb, yes.

It is just one of those ridiculous games that girls make up to make themselves miserable.

Blogging is a crazy thing because it is SO easy to compare yourself to others. It is all too easy to get caught up in things that are not real. Here is what my blogging "fat arm" crisis sounds like recently:  

"Oh, she is so much more popular than me. What am I doing wrong?"

"Why does she have 100,000 of followers, she isn't even nice!" 

"Oh, her blog design is cuter? Maybe I need a makeover."

" Her pictures are better than mine. My life looks normal and doesn't have a foggy glow around it."

"She's doing what!? Why wasn't I invited?"

"If I only had as much time to work on my blog as she does, then I'd be better."

 "Her life looks much more exciting than mine, why do I feel like I am falling apart?"

"She is doing all the important things, nothing I do matters to anyone. 

Aggg....

You get the picture.

I have had days the last few months where I wished I was someone else and that this blog was something different than what it is.

I want to be a beautiful mommy blog, whose life is so beautiful professional photographers beg to follow them around.

I want to be a witty and funny blog and make people laugh.

I want to be crafty and be able to come up with ideas people will pin 1,000 times.

I want to write things that will change the world.

I want to be her.

I want, I want, I want... 

But then I remember why I am writing this blog.

 It isn't for me.

 It isn't really about me.

 It is about doing what the Lord asked me to do and pointing people towards Him. It is about reminding women that God loves them and that the answers they seek for are there.

And the truth is that my type of blog probably won't attract the attention of the world, or make me a nice salary, but it is who I  am and what the Lord wants me to be doing.

I just need to stop comparing myself to others.

Ugg. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What Charity Feels Like

"Charity" by William Adolphe Bouguereau, 1878

In college I worked on a volunteer Rape Crisis Response team.

For three years I took turns carrying a pager for 48 hours each month, responding to dozens of summons from the hospital and the police office to help women who had just reported a rape.

I stayed with women as they went through the physical exams to "prove" they had been raped, I held their hands as they talked to the police, I fed them, I listened, I gave them new clothes and underwear out of my backpack when the police had to keep theirs as evidence, and-- while they rarely cried-- I waited with them as their hearts broke.

It was a hard job, and to this day I am not quite sure what possessed me to sign up or to keep at it for three years.

In fact, I dreaded every time I had to carry the pager.  I lived in constant fear that it would go off and I would have to drop what I was doing and go. It wasn't that I didn't feel that what I was doing wasn't important, it was just that it was a pretty thankless job. Most of the women I helped were too much in survival mode to thank me for my help (and I would never have expected them too), most of the doctor and nurses were too busy to pay me much attention, the police officers usually saw me as a nuisance, and except for the occasional friend or sister who acknowledged my presence rarely did anyone appreciate what I was doing. Still, I knew that being there made a difference and so I kept showing up, but it was hard.

I remember one time in particular, Jon and I were newly married and our friends were visiting from out of town on a Sunday afternoon. I had just made dinner and we were just about to sit down to eat when the pager went off. I called into the office and learned that there was an 18-year-old girl at the hospital who needed my help.

More than anything in the world I did not want to go. I didn't want to leave my friends and my fresh baked dinner. I knew what awaited me, 8 + hours in the hospital filled with a lot of sadness and heartache, and I just plain didn't want to go. I seriously considered not showing up. I reasoned that the girl didn't even know that I was suppose to come and she would be okay without me anyway.

In the end my conscience won out and I went... but I wasn't happy about it. 

I grumbled all the way to the hospital, I grumbled all the way across the parking garage, I grumbled all the way up the stairs and into the emergency room. Yet as soon as I saw the girl who needed my help I forgot all about my friends and dinner and poured my heart into helping her.

Ten hours later, I drove home just as the sun was coming above the mountains.

As I parked my car in the drive way of our little house I made myself take a moment and remember what I felt like. Even though it had been a sad night, I felt deep joy. I knew that I had just been an administering angel to that girl in her time of need. I knew the Lord had blessed me to say and do things that would help her.  I felt sad remembering  how much I had not wanted to respond to the call, and how I almost hadn't gone.

This, I told myself,  is what charity feels like.

Charity is giving service even when you really don't want to. Charity is giving service even when it goes completely unrecognized. Charity is giving service when it is the hardest thing you have ever had to do. Charity is giving when you have nothing. Charity is completely loosing yourself on behalf of someone else.
" ... Charity... suffereth long... vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up... seeketh not her own... Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth." (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)
 In those moments in my car I realized that charity is the type of service that makes us freeze in our tracks and yell, "That is asking too much!"

It is putting your dreams on hold to be there for a siblings who needs you, it is carrying a baby when your body aches in pain, it is caring for your elderly parents in your home when it would be easier to pay someone else to do it, it is getting up in the middle of the night with a sick child, it is answering a friend's phone call when you know she is going to need to talk for hours, it is waiting all night with a girl who has just been raped...  it is, literally, giving of yourself.

Just like the Savior did.

Real charity is never easy to give, which is in exactly  how you know you are giving it.

What times in your life have you given, or received, true charity? 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Five Things for Friday, Baby News Edition

-1-

So,  I have a good excuse why this blog has been sort of quiet lately.

Baby #4 is on his/her way in September!

Is this anyone else's favorite Pixar short?

We are all really excited, especially Rose because this baby is due around her birthday. She keeps telling me that she is getting a baby sister for her birthday... and really what could be better than that?

Some days I feel really overwhelmed at the idea of having another baby and can't help but wonder, "What in the world was I thinking!"


Definitely had my moments of feeling like this.
But overall I feel such peace about this pregnancy. I can feel the gratitude that this little spirit has for what I am doing, and that makes everything so much easier to handle... even the morning (and night) sickness.

Which, hasn't been too bad this time around. I haven't been as sick as I was with Abe, which is nice, but I have still spent my fair share of time "calling Ralph on the big white telephone" as my Dad would so tactfully say it. Bowls of Rice Crispies and wet rags with peppermint oil on them have become my best friends. I am about 13 weeks along now though, so hopefully the nausea will start to ease up soon.

Other than that I have just been really tried. Which is why blog has been suffering. My choices in the evening have been #1) to blog or #2) to take a hot bath and go to bed at 9:00 PM.

Needless to say #2 has won out most nights.

-2-

I found out I was pregnant on a Sunday morning and the moment I saw the positive test I felt a wave of the spirit telling me that a little girl was coming to me. Then later that day at Stake Conference (a regional church meeting) I was walking with Abe in the hall when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a little girl in white dress come charging towards me. I jumped out of the way because the little girl was coming at me fast and I was sure she was going to run right into me. I was surprised when no little girl went flying past me and even more surprised when I looked behind me and saw that there was no one there. There hadn't been a little girl in a white dress at all. Which was strange because I had felt that there was one, so much that I had literally jumped out of the way. I realized that what I had felt was the spirit of my little girl and it filled me with such joy. After that experience I  know there is a little girl coming to me, if not this pregnancy than in another one, who is going to knock me off of my feet!


-3-

Even though I really feel like this baby is a little girl I think we are going to wait to find out the gender until the birth. With Asher and Rose we found out at 20 weeks but with Abe we didn't. I will admit that not knowing the gender with Abe really drove me crazy but it also taught me some beautiful spiritual lessons. This time around though, knowing or not knowing the gender of the baby doesn't seem to matter to me at all. It would make absolutely NO difference to me if this spirit was a boy or a girl, which I couldn't have said with my other children. I feel like this time I am ready to receive anyone the Lord wants to send to me and so knowing the gender doesn't seem important this time. But who knows, that could change in a few months!

-4-

I have been working on packing up our house and as I was loading books into their boxes I realized that this is the fourth time this year that Jon and I have moved our stuff. We loaded it all up into the moving van when we sold our house, then moved out of the moving van and into a storage unit for a month, then moved it all back into the moving van and unloaded it at our rental house. Now, 10 months later, I am packing it all back up and moving it back onto a moving van.

Good thing I enjoy packing, huh?

No, really I do. There is something really satisfying to me about emptying a house of everything and making it look empty again. It is really enjoyable to me.

It has also been really nice to have an opportunity to purge out alot of the junk Jon and I have accumulated over the years. This time around I have decided that if don't LOVE something than I am not taking it with me, which means I have gotten rid of a lot of stuff. Perhaps I will regret it later but it sure feels really nice to be moving to Iowa with a much lighter load.

-5-

A few days ago I bought a stale loaf of french bread at the grocery store for 50 cents. For some reason buying stale bread seemed like a good deal at the time, but when I got home I found myself wondering what to do with two feet of hard bread. After giving it some good hard thinking I finally decided to try to make a breakfast casserole. I found this recipe online and it turned out yummy. I didn't have any potatoes so I left them out, added green chilies instead of the hot sauce, and omitted the dry mustard and the mushrooms. Then we ate it on warm corn tortillas.  It was so good, definitely a keeper. I also tried this French Toast casserole and really liked it too. So now we have two new breakfast menu options, which is good because I was starting to get really bored with breakfast again!

I think I might be hooked on breakfast casseroles now. Do any of you have any other good breakfast casserole recipes I could try? 

- 6- 

Bonus, you get one more this week!

I will be signing books tonight at an Empowering Fearless Birth event in Lindon, Utah. This sounds like an incredible event and I would love to see you there. Here are the details:

Come view two brand new birth films, mingle with the best of the best in the birth and women’s services industry, AND enjoy a gourmet dessert buffet!


When:
Friday, Mar. 8, 2013
Where:
Cost:
$5/person if purchased by March 5th
$8 at the door (cash only, space is limited)


HERE'S WHY YOU WANT TO COME!
-Support and learn about EMPOWERED and FEARLESS birth!
-Meet some of the best birth service providers and products in the valley. Only the best!
-Amazing dessert bar! Seriously epic!
-Celebrate the births of Asher and Sparrow!
-Guaranteed delightful conversation!
-Awesome odds of winning a door prize! 

Great date-night activity! Husbands, Dads, Mothers, Friends, Sisters, etc are invited! Bring your family and friends! Please leave children home. Non-walking babies are OK.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

If you want to link to your own "Five Things for Friday" post you can use the tool below to add your link. 1) Please link to the URL of your blog post and not your main blog and 2) Please include a link back here.




Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Drusilla


Acts 24: 24

Background: 

After returning to Jerusalem after years of missionary travel Paul was persecuted by  Jewish leaders and accused of sedition (Acts 21- 23). He was taken into custody and taken to the Caesarea to be brought before Felix, the Roman Governor. Felix agreed to listen to Paul and listened as he defended himself against the Jewish accusations (Acts 24: 1-20).  After hearing Paul Felix was interested in him and kept him under his protection for several more days. Then... "After certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ." (Acts 24:24)

Facts About Her:

Usually I only post facts that can be found in the scriptures, but Drusilla is a well documented historical figure and so I am including those in the facts even though they are not stated in the scripture. 
  • She was the wife of Felix, the Roman governor of Judea (Acts 24:24); 
  • She was a Jewess (Acts 24:24); 
  • She was with Felix when he sent for Paul and  "heard him concerning the faith in Christ" but (Acts 24:24); 
  • She was the youngest daughter of Herod Agrippa and the granddaughter of Herod the Great;
  • She had two older sisters, Mariamne and Bernice. Bernice also listened to Paul and rejected his teachings (Acts 25: 13-14, 23). 

Speculations About Her: 
  • She was only 6-years-old when her father, Herod Agrippa died. Before he died he betrothed her to to Gaius  Epiphanes, heir of Commagene, on the condition that he embrace the Jewish faith and be circumcised. This marriage did not take place because the groom wouldn't consent to circumcision and so when she was about 14 or 15 Drusilla was married Gaius Aziz, the king of Emessa.  Who, in order to obtain her hand, was circumcised. (Source
  • According to the Jewish historian Josephus not long after her marriage  Felix, the Roman governor of Judea, saw Druislla and, being attracted by her famed beauty, convinced her to leave her husband for him. Josephus wrote: 
"While Felix was procurator of Judea, he saw this Drusilla, and fell in love with her; for she did indeed exceed all other women in beauty; and he sent to her a person whose name was Simon, a Jewish friend of his, by birth a Cypriot, who pretended to be a magician. Simon endeavored to persuade her to forsake her present husband, and marry Felix; and promised, that if she would not refuse Felix, he would make her a happy woman. Accordingly she acted unwisely and, because she longed to avoid her sister Berenice's envy (for Drusilla was very ill-treated by Berenice because of Drusilla's beauty) was prevailed upon to transgress the laws of her forefathers, and to marry Felix."  (Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, xx.7.2) 
  • Drusilla left her first husband, to whom she was never legally divorced from, and went to live as Felix's wife. 
  • She was probably around 20 years of age when she accompanied Felix to listen to Paul's testimony. 
  • She and Felix had a son named Marcus Antonius Agrippa and a daughter Antonia Clementiana.
  • Drusilla and her son Agrippa are several of the few historical figures documented as perishing in Pompeii during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. ( Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, xx.7.2) 

My Thoughts: 

It appears that Felix and Drusilla called Paul into them because they were intrigued by his story. They had heard of Jesus and were curious to know more about his followers and their beliefs. Mostly likely they viewed Paul as an interesting character and were prepared to be educated and even entertained by his message. What they weren't prepared for though was the way in which Paul's testimony would shake them because as Acts 24:25 says, " ... as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgement to come, Felix trembled..."

It appears that Paul's message struck a chord within Felix's heart (and perhaps Drusilla's as well) that made him fear and tremble. It was a well known fact that Felix had seduced Drusilla and that she had left her first husband (to whom she was still legally married) in order to marry Felix. It is likely that as Paul spoke to them the weight of their sins fell upon them and they trembled to think of the consequences that would befall them if what Paul was saying was true.

Yet despite the  that came over Felix it was not enough to induce him to change. He told Paul, "Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season I will call for thee." Basically, "Wow, what you are saying hits home for me, but I am not ready or willing to change. Maybe later when it is more convenient."

It is sad for me to think about Felix and Drusilla going on with their lives, having heard the truth and feeling of its power, but being too proud (or lazy) to make the changes needed to receive the blessings Christ had to offer. They exchanged worldly pleasures and physical gratifications for eternal glory and joy... and that is sad.

But how many of us are doing exactly the same thing?

A while ago my friend and I had a conversation about the book "The Peacegiver" by James L. Ferrell. My friend had recently read it for a book club she was a part of and the book had touched her powerfully. In the book the author explains how the Savior can heal any hurt, disappointment or mistreatment in this life, but that it requires that we stop focusing on others sins and focus on our own; learning to perfect our hearts and let Christ's love fill us.  In the book Ferrell writes:

"The predicament of sin... is much bigger than the fact that we commit sinful acts. It is that by doing, we corrupt our hearts and become sinful ourselves-- hard-hearted, stiff-necked, dark. We no longer see clearly but, as Paul warned 'through a glass, darkly,' which is according to Satan's plan to 'blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men.'... Once sinful in our hearts, acts and thoughts that were formerly reprehsnible to us become desirable. We come to desire to do what we shouldn't and lose our desire to do what we should...Precisely  when we are most sinful and therefore most in need of repentance we least feel the desire or need to repent. This is the predicament of sin. And this is why the Lord himself declared, ' I require the hearts of the children of men,' and why the prophets have uniformly declare that what is required is not just a cessation of sinful acts, but a mighty change in our hearts... Unfortunately, knowledge for the mind is never enough to break from the chains of sin." (pgs. 162-163)

The message is simple, but powerful. Yet my friend was frustrated that the general consensus at her book club meeting had been that even though they believed what they had read, actually implementing it in their own lives-- repenting and forgiving-- was too hard.

"How could they have the beautiful message of Christ's healing power laid out right in front of them, and reject it?," my friend asked me, "Why would they hold on to their sins when they could let them go and be free?" 

Just like Felix and Drusilla, too often many of us hear the message of the gospel-- we may even go to church every week, read our scriptures, and listen to the prophets-- but we don't allow the message to get past our minds and into our hearts.  The gospel of Jesus Christ requires that we forsake all our sins, large and small, to know Him. It requires that we change and become different than we were before. Such changes are never easy and they are never convient, but they are really what matters most in this life.

It is also interesting to think that one of the reasons the Drusilla and her son (and most of the inhabitants of Pompeii) perished in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius was because they were not aware of the warning signs. Historical and geological evidence shows that leading up to the eruption there were signs of an impending eruption (earthquakes, plumes of gas and smokes, etc..) but that the people of the day did not recognize them for what they really were. As a result the vast majority of the population was taken by surprise and perished in the eruption.

In a similar way Drusilla also failed to act upon the warning signs given to her by Paul. She heard his message of repentance and forgiveness but she failed to understand it for what it was and make the changes needed in her life. As a result her soul underwent its own "Mount Vesuvius" and instead of allowing Christ to free her from the burden of the sins she had committed, she was buried by them.

Drusilla and Felix heard, but they didn't let Christ message go any further than their ears, and in the end they passed up what truly matters.



Questions to Think About: 
  • What is it in your life that is keeping you from coming closer to Christ? Are you allowing the message of the gospel to change your very nature, or is it merely stuck in your head?
  • In what ways was Drusilla's beauty a curse rather than a blessing?
  • How would history be different if Felix and Drusilla had accepted Paul's message and repented? 
  • Is there anyone in your life who has heard the truth and felt the power of its message and still rejected it? What can you do to help them make the changes they need to make in their lives?