Poll: Blessings

Not long ago, while on a trip with my oldest daughter and infant son, I had an experience that I haven’t told anyone about yet, but which I feel the need to share. I hope it will open up the dialogue about something beautiful that we as women are missing needlessly in the practice of our lives.

One night of this trip found me at my sister’s house with a baby that was not well. I’m pretty sure he had an ear infection from a cold virus and a very raw throat from breathing through his mouth. His lips were cracked and he was spitting up a lot from the mucus that was draining down to his stomach. At three in the morning, he woke up screaming and was completely inconsolable. So here I was, virtually alone and at a loss for what to do. I didn’t realize how much I relied on my husband for emotional support and a clear head during times like these, and I found myself feeling very suffocated and panicked. I gave my son some tylenol but he was still screaming and wouldn’t let me comfort him.

It was then, as I sat with him, on the verge of tears myself, that I prayed in a way I have not prayed before. I felt very strongly that I wanted my mother to be there to help me in my time of stress. But at first I interpreted this as wanting my earthly mother, as she is always very calm and collected with sick children. But then I realized that it was my heavenly mother whose presence I craved. I wanted to tap into that source of comfort and strength that she embodies in my mind, and in a moment of pure revelation, I knew of no other way to do so than to offer a blessing to my sick baby.

So with a confidence that I rarely feel, I looked at my hands and remembered a premonition that I had felt in a yoga session during a particular mudra. I had known that my hands held power. Real energy and power with which to bless the lives of others. And as I recalled this memory, I placed my hands on my son and blessed him to be well enough to sleep through the night. And it was then that I knew. I knew that this was something that I am meant to do. Yes, my son calmed down and was able to go back to sleep. Yes, that could have been a coincidence. But what I cannot deny, was the way that this simple act of faith in myself affected me. Even more than the outcome I desired for my child, I had received a sort of answer and acknowledgement of something even more important. I connected the divine spark within myself with a higher source. I felt it. I knew it was right and good. And I was comforted and able to do what I needed to do.

I have hesitated to share this experience. Perhaps because it was and is sacred to me. But I also have noticed that I am afraid of being chastised or told that I was wrong to do this. I’ve been afraid of not being received well or having someone not understand. But I don’t think we should subdue these experiences or suppress these calls when they rise up within us. And I hope that by sharing, we will each become more comfortable with our own spiritual power.

Please feel free to share any similar experiences you have had after voting in the poll.

Corktree

Corktree is exploring life and spirituality in new ways and new environments while studying midwifery, reiki, yoga, homeopathy, herbology and evolutionary nutrition. She has 3 daughters and one son, which add up to what now feels like an enormous family of 6.

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26 Responses

  1. Kim B. says:

    I am a big believer of healing by the laying on of hands. My husband gets his work in around our house, but I have wondered where the woman fits in, especially after reading about the early church history.

    Years ago I had a similar experience with my child who was sick. My husband was at work 35 minutes away and my oldest son was in a lot of pain. Overwhelmed with watching him struggle, I went to him and offered a prayer commanding the sickness to leave his body. A few minutes later he vomited and then felt much better.

    I have always felt a little uncomfortable talking about it, but there was no doubt in my mind that I was completely guided in my actions.

    Most interesting was my son’s reaction. I remember him looking up at me and saying, “I will *never* forget that prayer.”

  2. Caroline says:

    What a powerful and beautiful experience, Corktree. Thank you for sharing. And you, too, Kim B. I love hearing about moments like these.

    I checked the box that said I would not hesitate to give a blessing to anyone in need, though that’s more of an intellectual position than anything else. I think women can and should feel the freedom to bless – after all, healing is a gift of the spirit, and we have plenty of evidence from Mormon church history that women were annointing and blessing all over the place. However, I’m just not a public prayer/blesser type of person — I feel very self-conscious about it. This is one area that I think I really need to develop.

    • Corktree says:

      I do think it is something that we can seek out in some way and become more comfortable with if we want to. And I don’t know how I feel about doing something like this is public either – it wouldn’t feel as right I think.

  3. Melody says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience. Prayer coupled with laying on of hands/physical contact is indeed powerful. Faith is a beautiful thing and I believe the savior made it clear over and over again that one’s faith in him can work miracles.

  4. IdahoG-ma says:

    Thank you, Corktree, for having the courage to share this, and the courage to follow the spirit in the first place. I must say that I believe, absolutely, that this was the real deal. I think you are a healer. I feel that the spirit was telling you this, and prompting you to use the power that was available to you through your faith in the divine and your love for you son. I had an experience once when my daughter was very ill and very young, maybe two years old. She had been vomiting and nauseous all day, and clinging to me and crying trying to find comfort and relief. She got off my lap and lay down on the floor. I was overcome with wanting to relieve her suffering and was impressed to lie by her and encircle her with my body. Suddenly, I felt sick to my stomach and exhausted. I believed I was feeling her distress. I prayed that she would feel better. Suddenly, the nauseous feeling left and I felt peace. I looked down at her and she was asleep. When she woke a few hours latter she was well. To be honest, the experience scared me a little and I always wondered if I overstepped my bounds, but that was many decades ago and I am less of a stickler for convention these days and can look back and believe that their was something there. It never even occurred to me to wonder if the divine I felt that day was feminine or not, but I was in no frame of mind to recognize it if it was. We have to at least know to wonder or ask if we want to have the answers or recognize them if they come.

    • Corktree says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful experience too, Gma. It was interesting to me that I connected this to the feminine divine as well – it definitely has me asking some other questions.

  5. Aimee says:

    I was raised on the stories of my matriarchal Mormon pioneer ancestors. They were often stoic, severe, and obedient women who didn’t flinch at doing hard things if they felt it was what God required. They lived lives of non-stop hardship and upheaval because they were relentless in trying to be obedient to God, to follow the Saints, to build the Kingdom of God on earth.

    I share this because they were also unabashed in their willingness to lay hands on their children and each other to offer blessings of healing and health. Their journals (written explicitly to their posterity) are filled with stories of healing and moments when they felt confirmation that they had the gift to heal. It was not a feminist statement, it was not said to disturb the status quo. The life they lived, the faith they followed, had given them tools and power they could not deny and they used them freely and openly. How I wish it could be the same for us now!

    I don’t understand why the Church stopped emphasizing that these spiritual gifts are accessible to women as well as men, but I am grateful when women share their personal stories of times their connection to the spirit could not be restrained. Such generosity has enriched and blessed my life, just as the stories here have done today. Thank you.

    • Corktree says:

      I just love some of the stories and journal entries I have read of the pioneers experiences with blessings and healings. They had a type of faith and fortitude that I think we frequently lack an element of in the modern Church and which I, like you, miss. Something about the way that they expressed their experiences is so fascinating to me.

    • Hydrangea says:

      Thanks Corktree.
      I too love the stories of robust matriarchal Mormon pioneer ancestors giving blessings to other women and their children. It makes perfect sense to me. How that really plays out with authority these days, I’m not sure. It’s sad the church “phased out” that privilege.
      I’ve never thought of what role Heavenly Mother has in granting blessings. I’ll admit, I have a few times asked God if I could pray to her. Couldn’t hurt to ask, right?

  6. CatherineWO says:

    Thank you for these beautiful, and very personal, stories. I just tried to write a description of a similar experience I had a few years ago, but couldn’t find a way to tell the story without betraying the confidence of the other person involved. So I will just say that I am a strong believer in the ability of women to call upon divine power to physically bless others. My own experience caused me to have a paradigm shift of mammoth proportions. I now believe that divine power encompasses both the masculine and the feminine. It is available to all equally.

    • Corktree says:

      I understand the hesitation. If it had been anyone other than me and my child, I would be much more reserved about it. And yes, I think acknowledging this power within ourselves is a key to opening up our understanding and shifting our perceptions.

  7. That’s a beautiful experience. I really hope I get that confirmation someday. But I’m still uncomfortable with the idea of blessing my husband even though I want to so much. I feel like maybe it’s a combination of years of being told I couldn’t/shouldn’t lay on hands, and not being spiritually ready myself. But in my heart I believe this is a power women should have access to and use for the benefit of others. I’m, just not ready yet.

    • Corktree says:

      I felt that way at one point as well – and I do think it is something that happens organically, not necessarily because we just decide to do it. But faith in the ability is an important part of the process I think.

  8. spunky says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Corktree! I chose the option that I would not hesitate to offer a blessing to anyone in need. I have had some personal experiences in regard to this, but am not comfortable to share them because they are personal and sacred. In the Sheri Dew adio CD set, Wendy Nelson gives a talk wherein she describes a prayer that Sheri offered on her behalf- she said that it was as though Sheri “prayed with power”. I believe in this power of personal prayer, have used it, and do not feel it is necessary to have the laying on of hands (I was taught in a class once that consecrated oil is the symbol of the Holy Ghost, so if we are guided by the spirit, it is not absolutely necessary.) That being said, one time, a VT companion and I were visiting an elderly sister with dementia. It was evident that the end was near for her, and we put our arms around her and prayed together (the comp and I- the sister was incoherant)- it was one of the most powerful, beautiful, unifying, spiritual experiences I can recall.

    • Corktree says:

      That’s very interested about the oil and the Holy Ghost. I hadn’t even considered that element, but I do think it is more for the faith of the person performing the blessing than anything that is absolutely necessary. Thanks for sharing your experiences as well.

  9. Moriah Jovan says:

    I don’t have this spiritual gift (as evidenced by the fact that it never once occurred to me to do so). It also may be that I’m just arrogant enough to think I can deal with X without divine intervention.

    So, Corktree, thank you for sharing. I love stories of spiritual gifts because I do have one that I don’t share, and it’s heartening when someone else has the courage to do so.

    • Corktree says:

      Thank you Moriah. And thank you for mentioning it in terms of a spiritual gift. I hadn’t been thinking of it that way, but I think it is helpful for us as women to put it in terms that we may consider more accessible if we are to expand our experience with them.

  10. Bethany says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. As I was reading your experience I had the most overwhelming feeling that this is something I will remember and have an opportunity to experience later in life. The feeling brought tears to my eyes.

  11. CarefulHealer says:

    Spiritual gifts as described in D&C 46 do not require holding the priesthood. The gift to heal and the gift to work miracles are included in the listing of spiritual gifts in that section. My first experience with healing someone occurred several years ago, but I am still reluctant to share this gift openly with others. I liked the comment above regarding Christ’s teachings about faith and how we have the power within to be healed through our faith. Remember the woman with the issue of blood? Christ sensed “virtue” had gone out of him when she touched the hem of his garment. He told her, “Thy faith hath made thee whole.” Faith, the power of the Holy Ghost, the divine spark of energy that enlivens every living thing, the power of the Word (Christ), I believe are all tied together in the connection all living beings have with each other. When we humbly tap into that connection with pure intent to comfort, to heal and to glorify God and our Savior, we can be in an instrument in healing whether we are male or female or hold the priesthood or not. I include people of other faiths in that category.

    I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to see this discussed in this forum. I have felt isolated sometimes about this, with the exception of the great acceptance of my family and close friends regarding this spiritual gift. I’m beginning to realize more and more that it is a gift I will lose if I do not share it more openly. Thank you for sharing your experience and for the comments above. I hope we’ll hear more about this in the future.

    • Corktree says:

      Thank you for expanding on spiritual gifts. And I’m really glad that this sharing has been received so well and helped others. That was my hope, but I was very nervous to share what was a very special experience for me, and I even wondered if I was not giving it my full appreciation by sharing it so publicly, even though I felt strongly that it was important to talk about from a personal perspective. So I really appreciate the positive feedback.

  12. Deborah says:

    Corktree: Sorry I’m so late to the party in responding. What a beautiful story and beautiful post. I am a big believer in hands-on healing, that touch has healing power, and that touch coupled with calling upon the powers of heaven can invoke remarkable blessings. I think many more Mormon women “bless” their children/loved ones (quite literally) that we realize, because I think it is a natural extension of what it means to love another. Jesus practiced hands on healing and women washed his feet/anointed him likewise. To not reach out in this manner, to touch-pray-bless, seems to me a suppression of our spirituality.

    • Corktree says:

      Thank you for the supportive comment Deborah. I love what you say about Jesus using his hands. Positive touch is so paramount to our experience and vital to our well being.

  13. Mike H. says:

    Spiritual gifts as described in D&C 46 do not require holding the priesthood.

    I have wondered *how* women could use the gift of healing if they were not Priesthood holders. Food for thought. Pregnant Sisters used to go to the Temple for Blessings for their Pregnancy under the hand of other Sisters around 1900.

    While a Sister can’t invoke the Authority of the Priesthood IMHO, and I hesitate about their using consecrated oil, I feel otherwise they should be open to the Spirit on what to do in such emergencies.

  14. Katrina says:

    Thank you for sharing such a personal experience, Corktree. I’ve been fascinated by this topic every since reading Carol Lynn Pearson’s Daughters of Light. I wish that women giving blessings was encouraged like it used to be. It is such a beautiful gift. Not to mention empowering and useful.

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