The main story in this lesson is of Christ raising Lazarus from the dead, which admittedly, is some pretty awesome power. However, as I tried to make a list things Christ did with or through power, I noticed they were quite varied. He had physical power over the elements: calming the waves, turning water to wine, feeding the 5000. He had power to heal the blind and sick. He also spoke calmly and powerfully when scriptural and traditional religious arguments were brought to him. He used his power to push cultural norms and customs when it came to talking with and eating with people of varying social levels. His power included showing emotion, being honest about fears and facing them, and forgiveness.Read More
“Women bring with them into the world a certain virtue, a divine gift that makes them adept at instilling such qualities as faith, courage, empathy, and refinement in relationships and in cultures.”
–D. Todd Christopherson, October 2013 general conference, “The Moral Force of Women”
When I heard this quote in conference, it just confirmed to me what I already knew. I was better. I was better than my brothers, I was better than my father, I was better than half the world’s population. I was even better than myself.
I know that the Mormon tendency to put women on a pedestal can be empowering to some, but to me it has been imprisoning. At one point in my life I became nearly paralyzed with the pressure to be the perfect Daughter of God: virtuous, attractive (but not too attractive), industrious, crafty, soft spoken (but influential), a leader (but not too assertive), feminine, smart (but not too ambitious), nurturing, kind, patient…the list of attributes went on and on. Some of them were me, and some were not. But it didn’t matter; I had to be it all. And in the end, because I was trying to be everything, I ended up being nothing.Read More
In all stages of our lifes there are joys and difficulties – and the older years are no different.
I’ve listed some of the joys here for class discussion. Some are in the lesson manual and some are my own.
- Continued association with a spouse or other close family member.
- Children: great nieces and nephews, grandchildren, friends and ward members.
- Peace: there can be times of rest and peace in later years. A great blessing.
- Time: often there is more time in later years – to be used for interesting travel, new hobbies, renewed friendships, etc.
Here I’ve listed difficulties in the same way.
- Unresolved past problems: relational, spiritual, or temporal – these problems can weigh on the mind and heart.
- Financial difficulties. Financial problems can come in many forms and are not always the result of poor planning. These can be difficult to resolve in later years.
- Health Concerns – Illness and Pain. As we age, our bodies break down and the elderly can be plagued with many illnesses and also chronic pain. Poor vision and hearing loss can also create frustration.
- Losing loved ones – including spouses. Many close friends and family members pass away as we age. This can be emotionally painful and lonely.
Like our poet-prophetess of old, I too seek the “mutual approbation” that comes from our Heavenly Parents to let me know that I’m not alone or without their guiding influence, love, and care.
I have felt the love of God in very strong ways throughout my life, but not always on a regular basis. I look and pray for the chance to feel God’s love every day by trying to put myself in situations where I believe they can reach me. There are many instances of their mercy and kindness scattered throughout every day life which I do not always recognize, but I wish the moments of witness came with more power and more often.
The desire to feel a more fervent love from God occupied my mind one evening on the way to weekly yoga practice. The instructor focused the class on setting an intention and visualizing that intention coming to fruition. Throughout the class, her narrative included letting worrisome thoughts leave, focusing inward, and imagining our blessings flowing unrestrained into our lives.Read More
CW: Suicidal thoughts
I moved to Oakland five years ago. One of my first outings in the Bay Area was a gathering at Carol Lynn Pearson’s house where she gave each of us copies of her play, Mother Wove the Morning. It sat on my shelf for months because I didn’t want to open up Heavenly Mother-less wound I had.
When I finally read it, half a year later, I discovered that I was right in that it was an intense experience. I loved reading it and yet I ached. I wanted a relationship with Heavenly Mother, but I didn’t know how. Unfortunately the bigger question for me was “why.” Why should I have a relationship with Her?Read More
That’s what the older gentleman called out to me as I was buying lunch at the beach. I had on a tank top and a maxi skirt. That’s all it took to warrant him shouting out to me in public, “You got a nice shape, baby!” For the first few seconds after, I felt so uncomfortable. It was one thing for a close friend or family member to say that I look good; it’s another to hear it from a random stranger in a loud populated area, for all to hear. Deciding to not let him get away with such callous behavior, I confidently shouted back at him, “Go away!”Read More