Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Women and the Priesthood

As mentioned previously, I am not compatible with contention.  I am a mess when I attempt to deal with conflict or disagreement.  With that in mind, please know this subject is very difficult for me to write about.  The back skin of my neck is literally burning as I type this knowing I was not built for debating or arguing and am very sensitive about posting this at all.  My goal is not to offend anyone who disagrees or spark any heated discussions.  This is for me.  I need to pour out my heart and walk away knowing I had the courage to stand up for something important to me.

I have felt inundated with recent Mormon blog posts and articles with a patterned theme addressing the roles of men and women in the priesthood.  As I'm sure most are aware, there are plans of protesting outside of the priesthood session of General Conference requesting priesthood ordination for women.

Any questions regarding what the priesthood is can be studied on the lds.org website here.

I feel like everyone who believes in the gospel needs to have a moment of weakness, a subject or area that is challenging to grasp, to give each of us the opportunity to completely rely on our faith.  If gaining a testimony of the gospel was always as simple as two plus two equaling four, where is the opportunity to exercise our agency?  Why wouldn't our Heavenly Father leave a variable out of the equation and give us the chance to solve the algebra ourselves so we can grow?

Whether it's understanding why women in the church don't hold the priesthood or any other question that may feel unsettling in your heart, we can all follow the prophet, Joseph Smith's, example.

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."
-James 1:5

Any restless question we have can be answered through personal revelation.  Whenever I prayerfully study with an open heart of faith to find an answer, it is amazing the amount of peace and understanding that accompanies the information I later receive.

So here it is... My conclusions and personal beliefs after personal study to come to a better understanding about why women do not hold the priesthood in the church:

"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife and they shall be one flesh."
-Genesis 2:24

I think about my marriage with Mitchell.  We are very, very different.  
I'm a worry wart, Mitch is a dare devil.  
I can clutter the house, Mitch has O.C.D.  
I can sit and focus on one thing for a long period of time, Mitch is a squirrel.
(Like when we sit in a Disney illustration class and Mitch gives up almost immediately and turns his paper over so he can draw a horse instead)

It's hilarious, but it is also extremely beautiful how we balance each other out.  There is a feeling of "wholeness" how we are able to take the good in each other and mold together into a grander creation.

I think of it like a chemical reaction when we each bring our unique qualities to the table.  Like a beautiful sparkling firework!  The combination of chemicals and metals create the magic of the loud bangs, colors, and twinkles that trickle down out of the sky (and yes, I did learn that from Bill Nye the Science Guy).

There is balance involved in Mitchell being the priesthood holder in our family.  I come to him often asking for priesthood blessings of comfort and I believe my reliance on him being worthy to hold the priesthood strengthens and motivates him.  The priesthood allows us to work together to lift up one another.

"Nevertheless, neither is the man without the woman, neither is the woman without the man, in the Lord."
-1st Corinthians 11:11

I fear too often today women have the desire to be everything!  The full-time mom and the successful business woman.  The divine motherhood nurturer and the presiding priesthood holder?  We weren't meant to do everything.  The Lord WANTS us to have to rely on each other.

I'd like to share one more scripture.  And I may be interpreting it wrong.  I'm not the smartest...

"For I have conferred upon you the keys and power of the priesthood, wherein I restore all things, and make known unto you all things in due time."
D&C 132:45

That last phrase really stood out to me.  It's an answer I have received many times before in my own personal questions I've wrestled with the Lord.  I interpreted this as, "Someday this will make sense to you, but not yet."  I know from my personal experiences better than to question God's timing or to trust what I know over the Lord's flawless understanding.

I have been educated countless times where I have lacked faith or patience and have later had to humbly accept His big, fat "I-told-you-so" now obvious reasons why He was right all along.  Never again.  The Lord has his motives and that's good enough for me.

I understand that everyone is different and needs to discover these intimate reflections on religious matters on their own.  But here was my journey and if it in anyway is able to help inspire others to discover for themselves, then I guess it's okay that I chose to post this.

Oh, I'm so grateful for everything in my life.  For every experience and every spiritual opportunity I'm given to attempt to grow closer to the Savior.

"Sisters, I testify that when you stand in front of your heavenly parents in those royal courts on high and look into Her eyes and behold Her countenance, any question you ever had about the role of women in the kingdom will evaporate into the rich celestial air, because at that moment you will see standing directly in front of you, your divine nature and destiny"

Sunday, March 23, 2014

My Sunday Thought

      I know how easy it can be to get lost in the thick forest of doubt.  This world that we live in is glazed in a milky fog clouding us from the truth.  We all must experience trials of worry, of wonder, and questioning what we know to be true.  As we gravitate towards the loving arms of our Heavenly Father, Satan must attack with his arrows and slings, his armies and navies, and his very own talons will stretch out reaching with every ounce of effort to knock us out of orbit and cast us away, lost in the dark waves of the drowning sea. 

      As we struggle for our last dying breath before allowing the water to wrap us in her heavy blanket of despair, we must look to the light.  Look into those mesmerizing eyes of God and remember by His hands the seas were created. 

      Feel the oxygen slide smoothly into your chest as you breathe in.  Listen to the constant rhythm of your steady heartbeat.  Trace the watermarks of the glowing sunset with your fingertips and let go of uncertainty.  Allow your feet to tiptoe across the pure white rolling clouds and fly with faith, knowing He is there and waiting for your celebrated arrival.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Why Do I Need To Forgive Others?

Get this week's lesson here.

I have an extreme "conflict avoidance" personality.  It's a little bit ridiculous and a lot a bit annoying to my husband and other people.  My go-to response for just about every situation is always the same, "Oh, I'm fine doing whatever makes everyone else happy."  I hate-hate-HATE conflict.  If I am in the same room as two people who are arguing I go into panic mode.  My palms start sweating, my heart starts racing and I must find a way out of that room IMMEDIATELY.


Because of this trait growing up I avoided drama and didn't get into many fights with my friends or peers.  Which is a good thing... Except when I grew up and had to face confrontation with other adults I didn't know how to handle it.  And I realized I had a very hard time forgiving others because I never had to deal with it when I was younger.
One situation especially sticks out in my mind where a person truly hurt me.  It was one of my most difficult trials trying to learn to love and forgive this individual, but I now am so grateful for that experience.  I know that person came into my life to help teach me how to forgive.
Looking back, I came up with a list of things that helped me learn how to forgive.

1. Read the scriptures and General Conference talks
2. Ask for advice from strong people you look up to
3. Serve those you struggle to forgive
4. Pray for those you struggle to forgive
5. Pray for help to love specific individuals
6. Look at the situation from Heavenly Father's perspective.

The last step REALLY helped me.  While I was on my knees in prayer asking for strength to forgive this individual a memory flashed through my mind.  My little brother and I were fighting over something childish.  I remember my mom telling us, "Kids, please stop fighting.  It makes me sad when you don't get along."  I could picture the genuine unhappiness in my mother's eyes and felt guilty knowing I was causing her sadness.  My perception shifted from my childhood to my current situation.  I loved my Heavenly Father so much and it killed me inside thinking I was disappointing Him.  Whatever negative feelings I felt towards this person immediately dissolved within me.  The only thing that mattered anymore was making my Heavenly Father proud and happy.  I knew He loved me and He loved this other individual equally.  If I could dropped this grudge I felt, it was one less worry for my Father in Heaven.  I felt so great afterwards!

To start this lesson, I think the girls should think about or write down on a small piece of paper the name of someone they have a hard time getting along with.  It's not to share with anyone around them, just for each girl personally.  At the end of the lesson, a great challenge could be for the girls to forgive that specific person they wrote down on their paper.

Hand the girls the following questions and discuss the answers while reading 

I know I've already shared this story in my Repentance lesson, but I have to share it again.  It's a wonderful way to look at why we must also forgive OURSELVES after we have sinned and experience the repentance process 

There was a little boy visiting his grandparents on their farm.  He was given a slingshot to play with out in the woods.  He practiced in the woods, but he could never hit the target.  Getting a little discouraged, he headed back for dinner.  As he was walking back he saw Grandma's pet duck.

Just out of impulse, he let the slingshot fly, hit the duck square in the head, and killed it.  He was shocked and grieved.

In a panic, he hid the dead duck in the wood pile, only to see his sister watching!  Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing.

After lunch the next day Grandma said, "Sally, let's wash the dishes."  But Sally said, "Grandma, Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen."  Then she whispered to him, "Remember the duck?"  So Johnny did the dishes.

Later that day, Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing and Grandma said, "I'm sorry but I need Sally to help make supper."  Sally just smiled and said," Well that's all right because Johnny told me he wanted to help."  She whispered again, "Remember the duck?"  So Sally went fishing and Johnny stayed to help.

After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally's... he finally couldn't stand it any longer.

He came to Grandma and confessed that he had killed the duck.  Grandma knelt down, gave him a hug, and said, "Sweetheart, I know. You see, I was standing at the window and I saw the whole thing, but because I love you, I forgave you.  I was just wondering how long you would let Sally make a slave of you."

Thought for the day and every day thereafter?

Whatever is in your past, whatever you have done... and the devil keeps throwing it up in your face (lying, cheating, debt, fear, bad habits, hatred, anger, bitterness, etc.)  ..whatever it is....You need to know that God was standing at the window and He saw the whole thing.....  He has  seen your whole life. He wants you to know that He loves you and that you are forgiven.

He's just wondering how long you will let the devil make a slave of you.  The great thing about God is that when you ask for forgiveness, He not only forgives you, but He forgets.....  It is by God's grace and mercy that we are saved.   God is at the window.

For the MATHERS*:
The parable refers to “ten thousand talents” (verse 24) and “an hundred pence” (verse 28). “During the first century A.D., it is estimated that 10,000 talents equaled 100,000,000 denarii. One denarius was a typical day’s wage for a common laborer. If that laborer worked three hundred days a year, it would take about 33 years for him to be able to purchaseone talent. And it would take over 300,000 years to earn 10,000 talents, the sum of the servant’s debt” (Jay A. Parry and Donald W. Parry,Understanding the Parables of Jesus Christ [2006], 95). By comparison, the 100 pence owed by the fellow servant is about one million times less than the debt owed by the first servant.

*My dad told me in 1st grade I had to write a paper about the things I was good at.  In it I mentioned being a good reader, writer, and "MATHER".  So... It's a real word, folks.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

St. Patrick's Day

Have I mentioned yet how much I love holiday decorations?  In most cases, decorating the apartment is probably more fun for me than the actual holiday itself.  As we dusted off the storage boxes in the back of our deep, dark, cave closet of MORIA, I was disappointed to find very few St. Patrick's Day items.  

I decided I wanted to hang some sort of banner in the living room for an extra splash of green and couldn't find anything on Pinterest that popped out at me.  

It's far from fancy-pantsy... In fact, it's held together with yarn and scotch tape because I'm legit like that, but it get's the job done.

So, for anyone that needs a little extra GREEN to liven up their St. Patty's festivities, please feel free to download.

P.S. I think the other reason I'm obsessed with holidays is for the ability to freely eat as much candy as I want in the name of celebration!  I'm pretty sure I've eaten an ENTIRE bag of skittles in 24 hours.  

And I'm talking about the big party bags... not the tiny servings you buy next to the cash register.

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