A few years ago I wrote here about my love for adoption. Our family has been waiting to adopt for a very long time. We haven’t been waiting to be chosen, we have been waiting until the time felt right. I am so excited to announce that we are now beginning our adoption journey! If you are interested in our story, please visit our fundraising site. We would love any help you can give us, and prayers and sending love are the best thing you could offer. If you feel inspired, please share our fundraiser with others. I will be sharing more details about our journey and about “Lilly” as events transpire.
Most people can’t get enough of love romanticized, but few people are ever interested in what love really is. Probably to those select who really know true love, it would seem a foolish thing to analyze. Maybe love is best let be. But see, I’ve been on this quest to discover why it is that I fear love, why it is that I can neither express it fully, nor feel it from others; why I have always felt unloved. Essentially, I want more than anything to love better, and I quickly realized that not only do I not know how to do that, but that really I’m not sure I even know what love is. And so began my journey to love, marked by study, prayer, pondering, and experimentation. Recently I’ve begun to feel like what I’m learning is so fundamental and so neglected and long forgotten, that it would be criminal to keep it to myself. So I decided to share it here, with all of you. There’s no telling how long these essays will go on, as there’s no telling how long my journey will be. As it stands I’m not sure a single person can really have all the right answers on this subject, but I will present my opinions here in hope that they will be thought provoking, and I hope you’ll share yours too.
Are we ready to change our hearts, and change the world? Here we go…
We have some pretty interesting conversations in our house. Probably a result of a mixture of things… the fact that I’m a bit of a hippie, that we homeschool, and that my kids are wonderful little weirdos may be some of them… today we had several fantastic conversational moments. One in particular my kids and I would like to share with the world, because its a great thing for us all to remember, and we accidentally came up with a fabulous saying that will make it stick in your mind like… well, cheese. Because cheese is good, and anyway, that’s what our message is about.
We’ve got this great thing going where we get all cozy in my bedroom at bedtime and read from the children’s scriptures together, say our family prayer, and then read from another book. This gives me wonderful opportunities to feed them literary genius they otherwise would be unlikely to seek out or sit through. Its a sacred time, and they’re usually sleepy, so they’ll typically cuddle up and listen to whatever I happen to feel like reading. Usually we read classic children’s stories or folk tales from various cultures. Today I decided to take a chance and read from The Spiritual Experiences of Lorenzo Snow. (You can get it for yourself here.) So, we’re reading along in the first story and my kids ask what a Patriarch is, and of course, in my explanation we get onto the subject of Patriarchal blessings, which led me to share my own Blessing with them. This is all foreshadowing, here is the point… I’m reading along and the mention of “choice spirits” comes up. We start talking about what it means to be a choice spirit. I shared with them that they are SO special, they were sent to earth in this final dispensation, to prepare the world for the coming of the Savior.
Now, freeze there, and rewind back to the mention of cheese. Stay with me here! My kids LOVE cheese (who doesn’t?). We eat a mostly vegan diet and are very careful about the animal products we do consume. So, on occasion, we will eat some raw goat cheese. We like to use it to make veggie pizzas on sprouted grain bagels or all veggie lasagna with eggplant and zucchini “noodles”, or we’ll grate it over veggies that have been tossed in pasta sauce or some such thing… Anyway, when cheese is offered up, my kids will strip it off the food and pile it up on the side. When they’ve finished everything else, they will stuff all of the cheese into their mouths, delighting in the indulgence of that final, sensational, rich-salty-melty bite of goodness.
So I say to them, “God chose to save the best for last, he chose YOU.” And my daughter says, “Like the pile of cheese at the end of the meal?” “YES! EXACTLY! You are the pile of cheese!”
So to you, those living at this epic time, our message to you is this: Your Father in Heaven LOVES you, immeasurably! He has created you to become God’s and Goddesses. He has given you the gifts of His own greatest attributes. He has made you in His image. And, he has saved you to come to earth at this specific time because you are the most choice of his spirits. He has saved the best for last, YOU are the very best, YOU are the pile of cheese!
Tonight as I’m sitting in bed with my husband (watching The Voice, because that’s how he rolls), tapping on acupressure points in attempt to aleiviate morning sickness I say to him, “In case I ever get this crazy Idea again, please remind me I really, really, REALLY do not want to be pregnant EVER again.”
“Well, if its Heavenly Father’s plan… think of all the things that happened to get this baby here.” He said.
“Like what things?”
“Like the vasectomy.”
Ahhh… yes. The vasectomy. How could I have forgotten? The first of many things that made us realize we weren’t done with birth children. See, we’ve always wanted to adopt. But every time we move toward that plan we’re halted in our tracks.
We had decided we were done having birth children after the birth of our 3rd. My husband went to see a doctor about getting a vasectomy. All that happened during that appointment was that they had him sit in a room and at random intervals three different interns came in a said to him, “You understand this is permanent, right?” No physical check up. No instructions about whether or not he could eat before the surgery, or how long it would take, or if he’d be able to drive himself home. Nothing. Just reminders about the permanency of the procedure. On the morning to the surgery he called the hospital, since he hadn’t heard from them to confirm his appointment. What happened was the doctor never faxed the forms to the hospital that they would need to do the vasectomy. They weren’t even expecting him. He was irritated with the doctor but had no choice. That was the only doctor covered by our medical. If he wanted it done he’d have to go back to the same guy who didn’t even prepare him for the procedure and who couldn’t even get anyone in his office to fax a few papers. So we dropped it. Several weeks later Kolby learned in school about the increase of testicular cancer rates in men who have had vasectomies. About a year later an updated handbook was put out by our church stating that a couple should not have surgery to avoid pregnancy unless medically necessary and only after counseling with their Bishop. We take this as God looking out for us.
I get frustrated not able to understand why God won’t let us adopt. Isn’t that a good, pure desire? Kolby points out that there are specific spirits meant to come to our family. I know this is true. We very much believe that our family members chose each other before any of us came to this earth. I guess I don’t understand why my body has to be the vessel for each of them to arrive here. But then I think if I were looking down at Earth and I had the choice to come through a health conscious mother who will create a Space of Love for me, who will birth me and care for me in that space, surrounded by my family, who will hold me and nurse me anytime I feel the need, who understands the integration that comes along with being new in a body and in this world, who is passionate about family bonds and will keep me close and never send me away to be educated or raised by someone else, I’d jump down that chute without hesitation too. And I love my babies. I love them too deep for words, deeper than I often allow myself to be aware of. Its scary, that kind of love. I can’t hear the mention of a child passing away without breaking down in tears. I can’t bear the thought of it. The more children I have, the greater the risk that I will have to let one go. And I don’t think I could do that. I think I would die inside. I have the greatest respect and admiration for anyone who has lost a child. The more we love the more we stand to lose. I’ve always been afraid of love, never quite able to open myself up all the way to let it in or to express it. But its in me. The only person I’ve ever met who seems to love in the way that I do is my daughter. It isn’t easy to be her. Her heart is broken constantly by the smallest things, but I can very much relate to her. I’m not the best mom in the world, far from it. I often wonder why these little beings want me as their guide in the first place. My intentions are good, but rarely surface. What my kids see is a tense, overwhelmed woman who is distant and nearly always disconnected. Its a shield, really. An attempt to not be hurt by love anymore. And also often the result of my physical condition, which has been not good from my own birth and often causes me to be inwardly focused.
But, onward and upward is the only way to go. I very much look forward to my journey with this new member of our family. I’ve been preparing for him for over a year. I know him and I love him as much as a mother can love her child. I know that all too soon all these discomforts of pregnancy will be a distant and blurred memory and I’ll be gazing down at a pure and brilliant creation at my breast. A creation who came here with a mission and who I will support in accomplishing that mission, because he is not mine, but God’s, and I am honored to be his earthly, and eternal, mother.
Today as I was sitting in church I had a rush of elating thoughts I wanted to share, so I’ve decided to start a new habit I’m calling “Blogimony Sundays.” Of course, it will likely not actually be posted on Sunday, since writing around kids is tricky business. Before I get into what I’d like to relate, let me give those of you who aren’t familiar with my faith a mini run down to avoid any confusion.
I’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we are known by many as “Mormons.” Once a month, on the first Sunday of the month, we have what we call “Fast and Testimony Meeting.” Most of us fast for 24-hours on this day for various causes, and we take the money we would have spent on our food and donate it to the church as fast offerings. This money goes to feeding and providing needs for struggling families and individuals. These are not handouts, those who receive assistance work with their Bishops to improve their current situation so that they will not need assistance long-term. We believe that by sacrificing for our chosen purpose (for example today we fasted as a family for my husband to pass his board exams) we will be blessed. In our church we attend 3 meetings each Sunday, the first being Sacrament meeting. We start by singing a hymn to invite the Spirit, then an invocation is offered by a member of the congregation, followed by the blessing and passing of the sacrament. After that members of the congregation who have been asked in advance give talks on various subjects speak from the pulpit. Following the talks we sing another hymn and a benediction is offered, again, by a member of the congregation. We then go to Sunday school, and then divide into classes for males (Priesthood) and females (Relief Society). The children have Sunday school together, separate from the adults, and then divide into smaller classes by age. We spend 3 hours at church on Sunday. Fast Sunday is a little different in that instead of assigned talks, people come to the pulpit at will to bear their testimonies. This meeting is always a very powerful experience, and I hope to talk more about why that is at a later time. Alright, now to get into it…
The Spirit was intense for me today. We walked in just as the opening hymn began. I sat down, opened the hymn book, and began crying. This continued the entire meeting. I’m great at hiding it though, even my daughter who was cuddled up next to me didn’t notice. I think that’s pretty typical for an LDS woman. If you happen to know any of us you’re likely well acquainted with our weepy tendencies. There was so much I wanted to comment on as I was sitting in church today, but one thing has stood out like a beacon in my mind, drowning out all else. One of the brethren got up and opened his testimony by mentioning one of the recent television specials on the “Mormons.” He said that they concluded that one thing was sure, the men and the women of our faith are not equals.
This statement is… hmmm… alarming? Infuriating? Sad? Maybe a mix of things, but inaccurate for certain. When I was “investigating” the church (this is how we describe a person who is attending and learning about the church but is not yet a member) I was quite struck by the reverence the brethren had toward the sisters. It was so apparent I noticed it immediately, as an energy in the room, during the first Sacrament meeting I attended. As I got to know the teachings and the members better this impression only grew. It’s something I’ve talked about with a handful of people over my 8 years as a member. I’ve always said that it’s as though the men view the women as sacred beings. They seem to acknowledge them as possessing something they themselves cannot. The interesting thing is that the assumption that we are not treated as equals comes from the fact that in our religion the men can hold the Priesthood and the women cannot. If you ask the women in our church (and I have) they will tell you exactly what I’m about to. We don’t want the Priesthood. We don’t need it. Women have an innate connection to God that requires no outside conduit. We are His Daughters, sacred beings, co-creators with him. We are the vessels who willingly and with love sacrifice ourselves for the ultimate service: to bring spirits into bodies, the creation of souls. We believe that it is only by obtaining bodies that we have any chance of proving ourselves and returning to live with our Father, receiving the Celestial Exaltation He has promised us. If you were to attend any Relief Society meeting it would be undeniably evident that women hold up this church. We keep the men on the right path. We nurture our world. There is nothing so powerful as the intuition and will of a woman, and this group of women are some of the most intuitive and willful in the world! One thing I’ve always wanted to say to my sweet sisters, as I look around the room during Relief Society meeting is that never in the world is there a gathering of such beautiful women as when these gather together. It isn’t because of outward appearance. It isn’t because of intellect. It isn’t because of congeniality. It’s because of what we know, the sacred truths we hold at the deepest part of ourselves. Any time women are gathered together with a common purpose, even the greatest powers cannot stop them from accomplishing their goal. And in this church, that common purpose is to do good, and there is no greater purpose than that.
Please don’t feel sorry for us or assume we’re oppressed because our husbands are allowed a “privilege” we are not. We’re thankful for that. We have quite enough responsibility as it is! The Priesthood blessed us. It is always there when we need it. We have unlimited access to it regardless of the fact that we cannot ourselves perform Priesthood blessings. The Priesthood is something that is essential for men. It’s a lifeline of sorts. It not only helps them to connect with their Father to carry out His work, but it also keeps them on the good path and gives them something to strive for, as a man who is not living a life of purity cannot hold the power of the Priesthood.
So here is what I know. First of all, the Priesthood is all that it claims to be. It is the power of God, passed down through a lineage that each man possessing it today can trace directly back to Christ himself. The very first piece of my testimony that I gained was of the Priesthood, through a miracle I witnessed when receiving my first Priesthood blessing. Perhaps I will share that story sometime. Second, I know that the Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is an organization provided by our Father to bless all of the inhabitants of the world. It is an organization that utilizes the intuition, power, and talents of women to do the work of our Father on this earth. It is an organization of love and of labor, and of love of labor. It is not an organization I am proud to be a member of, it is an organization I am thankful, humbled, and blessed to be a member of. It is the very first place I have ever felt that I belong. I know that I am right where God wants me to be. I know that he is pleased with me. I know that he recognizes me for all that I am and sees so many attributes that even I am not aware of. I know that I am His Daughter. That His love for me far surpasses anything even the most affectionate earthly father can fathom. And what I also know, is that if this is true for me, it is also true for you. No matter who you are, no matter where you are, no matter your faith or circumstance or social status, no matter what you have done or said or felt… you are remarkable. There is immeasurable greatness in you. I encourage you to continually strengthen your relationship with your Father, because as the knowledge of who you truly are grows, so does your power. Women who know their own divine nature will save the world and all the souls who live in it.
May we raise up our daughters to know how they are!
A few quotes from Church Leaders:
August 9, 2012
I don’t often speak from the depths of my soul. I think most of the world will not understand. But maybe I’m not giving the world enough credit. We are each, after all, the same. And within each one of us is the gift to recognize truth, and good, and things that are of God, our creator.
So here is the secret of my soul. Here is the unsheltered reality by which I live. It is a painful thing to behold the world. The depth of unnecessary misery is torture to witness. I see a world of pain, where joy is meant to be. I see us creating our own disharmony. I see us intentionally manufacturing and attaching ourselves to dangerous distractions. I see us allowing the forces of evil to penetrate our hearts. I see us poisoning ourselves and our children. I see an, ironically, barbaric civilization. One that is so far distanced from its inhabitant’s pristine origins, it now sees them as barbaric, and shuns them. If a person dares to attempt to live as the Creator intended, he is weird, crazy, a “hippy.” A peaceful person who views the earth with wonder and gratitude, who treats others with love even when that love is harshly rejected, who nourishes himself from the earth and does not inflict violence on any living thing is so foreign to us we might actually fear him. We wouldn’t know how to relate to such an individual. But we are perfectly comfortable in our social circles, going on about which brand of crackers our children prefer, how to best clean our ovens, which fictional novel we are currently reading, what happened on last night’s episode of Bones… but none of this matters! Stop feeding your kids death! Stop poisoning your family with ovens and all that comes out of them! Stop filling the space of your mind with these distracting and often scandalous inventions of unrealistic existence! And, please, stop staring at flashing lights on a screen for hours a day, allowing your life to slip by while you live vicariously though someone else’s life, which may or may not even exist! Why allow your life to be wasted away? Because it’s all you’ve ever known? Because you’re not aware of what is real? Because it’s one of the few comforts you’re aware of? Because the way you live your life is so unnatural and as a result the stress so high you feel the need to zone out?
Steeping off the soap box now. Please realize my irritation is with myself. I am as guilty as anyone, and yet my consciousness is evolving. And as it evolves I find myself questioning the activities I choose to include in my daily life. I’m analyzing why I make the choices I do, what the payoff is, as well as the cost, and most importantly I’m asking myself if these things are serving greater good. Do I need them? Can I give them up? What might I replace them with?
The unfortunate truth is that we are natural beings living in a way that is completely unnatural to our species. We tend to prefer not to see ourselves in such a way, as “animals” so to speak, as part of nature. We surround ourselves with destruction. Do you get what I’m saying? We surround ourselves with DESTRUCTION. Take a moment right now to look at what surrounds you. How many things can you count that were created by the robbing of life? How many things were created in a factory? How many things were once living that are now dead? How many of these things will decay with time? How many are capable of their own reproduction? Are you surrounded by anything that is living in its pristine form? Human beings are meant to be part of the natural world. It is this world that was created for us. All things within it are intricately linked. All things work in harmony. Every needful thing is provided for us there. When we live true to our nature, we need not ask God for anything. We need only rejoice and praise Him with gratitude for all that he has given us from the beginning. Not because we ought to, not because He says, but because we would be so overflowing with the pure love available to us, that we would not be able to contain it!
What can we do, in our modern society, to tap into this joy? Here are a few ideas for you to condsider. Walk barefoot outdoors daily. Grow a garden. Eat food in the form in which it is offered from the earth. Cleanse the toxins of the modern world from your body via colon hydrotherapy and eating as mentioned previously. Make a habit of viewing your life with gratitude rather than despair. Allow enough quiet into your life that you can hear the whisperings of truth all around you. Choose to love others just as they currently are. MOVE your body. They are designed to be moving most of the day! Detach yourself from electronics as much as possible. Connect to the people, plants, and animals around you. Don’t allow fear to be a part of your experience. Where there is love and faith there is no fear. Get to know yourself. Find our callings in life. What are you most passionate about? What can you do to assist others? Go to bed with the sun and rise with it. Release the past, it is no longer happening. It only exists in our lives if we choose to hold on to it by focusing on it. Look for the growth opportunities in your suffering. Allow what’s in your heart to have a voice. Do not fear vulnerability. Do not concern yourself with that others think of you, they see through their own set of filters, they cannot know your true heart. But your Father knows it and loves it. Women, you are DIVINE! You are daughters of GOD! YOU are His greatest creation, the absolute pinnacle of perfection! You are equipped with gifts that enable you to take the world from its current state of destruction, back to its pristine origins. Bond yourselves together, there is power in numbers! Do not allow the forces of darkness to come between you and your sisters. Turn away from pettiness, judgment, superiority, control. Look at the people around you as people, not as objects. Every person you interact with is just like yourself, in fact they are a part of you. Treat them as such. Do not destroy God’s creations. Do not kill his animals. They have been entrusted to you and are here to serve you.
My only hope as I write this is that someone will come away pondering. Some spark will ignite in the depths of a soul which, as he focuses on it, will grow into a force for good in his life. Each life on this earth is an essential part of the big picture, the Master’s Plan, and if I have said anything that might bring more power to the forces of light, I have done well in the sight of my Creator. And ultimately, that is what matters.