Waiting for the ram in the thicket

Girl-on-Bench

Like most fiancées, I was pretty certain that our marriage would be everything that I wanted it to be. I knew we would have hard times and I knew that we would have disagreements, but I also had been promised that any two righteous people could make a good marriage happen. I knew we were both good people–anxious to accomplish the Lord’s will for us–and so, we could definitely make it work. The fact that my then-fiancé had disclosed that he was gay (at the time, he used the phrase “same-sex attracted”) just seemed a small hurdle, one that the Lord would surely help us to overcome. In fact, my very own stake president–who was aware of my husband’s attractions and sexual orientation–promised us that the Lord would not only help us, He would use us to do incredible things if only we stayed true to our faith. Bright-eyed and full of faith, we moved forward with our marriage plans and prepared to give everything to the Lord. We were full of promise that we would certainly have a wonderful marriage as nothing could shake our faith.

Until it could…

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Emergency Substitute YW or Sunday School Lesson

5597146442_193cc9af0a_zI teach a combined class of Laurels and Miamaids. A couple of months ago, as I was planning a lesson, I kept getting emails saying that my lesson time would be cut short. They had song practice for a special musical number. And the girls needed to be taken out one by one to work on a going-away gift for one of the leaders. My usual 30 minutes was down to 15- and even those would be interrupted. I needed a quick lesson that was “on topic” but that the girls would like. This was my solution.

The week before, I had asked the girls what they wanted a lesson on. It was the month about the Restoration, so I suggested the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith. They told me they just wanted food. Noted.

With only 15 minutes of intermittent lesson, I decided to go the easy route. I’d bring food. But it would also be loosely based on the Book of Mormon. I mean really loosely. So loose that you might not even need to mention the Book of Mormon at all.

I wrote a list of scriptures (from the Book of Mormon!) on the board. They were these:

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Visiting Teaching June 2015: Divine Attributes of Jesus Christ: Virtue

As soon as I saw the word “virtue”—I rolled my eyes. Thankfully, this isn’t about the idea of virtue as a sexual commodity. It is about the virtuous aspects and acts of Christ as a servant, healer and friend to us all. So whilst I normally like the General Authority quotes included, I did not find them as inspirational in this month’s message. But I did find inspiration in the From The Scriptures section which was fully focused on Christ and a woman with faith:

 

From the Scriptures

Today, virtuous women, full of faith, reach out to the Savior. In Luke 8 thetouchwe read of a woman who had an issue of blood for 12 years that could not be healed. She sought healing when she “came behind [Christ], and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood [stopped]. … And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.” This virtuous faithful woman fell down before Him, declaring “unto him before all the people” that “she had touched him” and “was healed immediately. And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole”

 

Through His virtue, Christ can heal, enable, strengthen, comfort, and cheer when we choose with courage and faith to reach out to Him.

 

 

Now, to be honest, in the past, when I have read this, a part of me felt like the woman somewhat robbed Christ of virtue—she touched His robe without permission (Luke 8:44).  But I thought about this some more—Christ did not become less because He shared His virtue—nor was He accusing her because she had touched Him. In thinking of this, and in consideration of Christ’s infinite love, I think He turned to share her joy in the miracle; not because He ever intended to accuse her. He turned to share in her joy of being healed- and don’t we all feel that way when we help someone feel well, whether it be trough prayer, a listening ear or chicken soup?

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Changing my mind

brainI have a new job. Same company, but a new boss and new responsibilities. Intellectually, I am pleased. The new position is challenging, needed and supported. Every detail has lined up perfectly, and yet two months in, I am feeling a little lost. I am overly sensitive and questioning everything. I am tired. Cranky. Slow. Moaning at work/life balance and then when home, staring out the window instead of quilting, reading or riding my bike.

What is wrong with me? I have been asking this question over and over. Snap out of it! This is a great opportunity! Go for a walk and get it together! After moping around for weeks, I finally have a diagnosis. The job will be fine. The problem is me. My world is moving fast and my emotions are a tangle of neurons cowering in my primitive brain, scanning nervously for sabor tooth tigers. I am having a textbook change response.   

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Guest Post: An essay about a short film called Women of Faith

Guest post by Amber Richardson.

Amber is a freshly turned a quarter of a century-ite and she is deeply invested in her relationship with the arts, womanhood, truth, and God. She also has an affinity for The Little Mermaid, salt and vinegar potato chips, and daydreaming.

The film goes with this post– please click on it to view!

Anna and I like to think of ourselves as a William Wilberforce and William Pitt kind of duo. Or maybe a better comparison would be an Eliza R. Snow and Zina D. H. Young pairing. Two awesome Mormon ladies with a cause! A cause of righteousness. Maybe we shouldn’t admit this online. It’s kind of girlish. Kind of tween-ly of us. Like those Wicked fan girls who separate themselves into Elphaba and Glinda identity camps. Anna’s boyfriend Paul jokingly refers to our never-ending chatter about Mormon women’s history as ‘girl talk.’ But really. Eliza and Zina were so awesome. The head and the heart of the Relief Society.

I’m never quite sure which one of us is which. It seems to fluctuate.

Regardless, we share a common purpose. We believe in the power of Stillwomen, particularly Mormon women. We believe that a truly self-seeing Mormon woman can change the world. We believe that many of our Mormon sisters (ourselves included) are not as self-seeing (read: to self-see is to recognize that you are powerful and divine) as they could be. This means that we believelike Gandhithat we have to be the change we are seeking in the world. And therefore, we believe in letting our light shine. And it feels a bit trite to admit this to you, the reader. But it’s true anyways.

And most of all, we believe in being disciples of Christ. Disciples first, feminists second.

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I Could Keep My Eyes Closed Forever…

Guest Post by Quimby. Quimby’s previous posts are here, herehere and here.

The day I heard ISIS had claimed Palmyra, I pulled out a dusty Q2album and turned the pages until I found the pictures I was looking for. I ran my finger over them, wanting to feel the smooth ancient columns, taste the air, hear the music. A few days later I read the news –

 

Four-hundred dead in Palmyra, their mutilated bodies lining the dusty roads, their blood staining the sand red.

 

I found I could not breathe.

 

Four-hundred dead in Palmyra. In the scheme of such things, it is nothing – a trifling amount. Pol Pot killed nearly 2 million in Cambodia. Hitler had his 12 million in the Holocaust. Mao killed almost 80 million in China. Four-hundred dead in Palmyra. It hardly warrants a mention.

 

But once I walked those dusty roads. Once I touched those ancient columns. Once I danced in that amphitheatre.

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Guest Post: Redeeming My Soul, Part III

sabraby Sabra

The day I learned of the president’s decision to release me, I was volunteered to participate in a missionary panel for a youth conference. The idea of sharing intimate details of my overall disheartening experiences in front of a group of strangers and fellow Billings missionaries both terrified and irked me. However when asked to share “how I knew the call was right,” I had an answer that was true as well as acceptable to the group waiting anxiously for an answer I didn’t even know I had. I said, “I still don’t know, but I believe its right because sometimes when I’m walking with a companion, talking to people on the street, eating a horrific dinner including spoiled food and embarrassingly personal questions — I feel right, like I’m in the right place at the right time, doing and saying the right things. It’s not often that I get to feel that way.” A short time later I was told that the president was in the building and wanted to meet with me. After hearing this message and waiting for what felt like eternities I came face to face with him for one of the last times as he instructed me to open our talk with a prayer and then told me he had bought me a plane ticket home and I was leaving in one day.

Then, something that I had never expected but prayed fervently for almost every day after he called to threaten my old companion and I: he admitted that he was wrong about me.

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