Archive for April, 2011

A Big, Fat Lie!

Let’s get right to the point.  In the world we live, the image of women is extremely distorted. I have struggled, most women have struggled.  Who are we and what are we supposed to be doing?!  Sheri Dew, former counselor in the General Relief Society Presidency for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints says,

“From the beginning, [the powers of evil have worked around the clock] and with a vengeance to distort the very definition of womanhood to confuse everyone, including us.  Consider this headline: “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” (Forbes, 17 September 2007).   Every woman listed is a politician, an entertainer, or a CEO. I mean no disrespect to any women listed. What I dispute is the bold distortion that in order to have influence, a woman must have money, fame, or a title. That is a big, fat lie!

“Here are just a few lies: That men are smarter, have all the power, and are more important, so if we want to have influence we should be more like them; that marriage and family are confining; that motherhood is menial and a waste of any talented woman’s time; that women are perpetually frazzled and failing; and that a woman’s value is based on her size, shape and what she accomplishes outside the home.

“Too many women have bought these lies. Our culture is disintegrating at the speed of light, and unfortunately, our gender is doing a lot of the damage. Sleazy, immoral, cunning women who flaunt their indiscretions jam the airwaves and monopolize magazine covers. Yet we watch their shows, donate to their causes, and even see them as models.”

For full talk: Awake, Arise, and Come Unto Christ , Sheri Dew

Let us stand up and, inevitably, stand out for what is right, what is good, and what is true.  I love this quote by Audrey Hepburn:  ” The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows & the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.”

We cannot be what the WORLD thinks we should be in order to have positive influence.  Stephanie Nielson is an inspiration.  She understands her true identity as a daughter of God, as a wife, a mother, a friend.  I love her story and am grateful for wonderful examples like her who can help us feel good about being good; that we do not have to be defined by our body, our job or the amount of money we have, but rather by WHO we are and how much we love God.

“…Every one of us has a unique opportunity to change the world.  Are we the women God needs us to be in the latter part of the latter days?”  (Sheri Dew)

Bare Walls and Pea Plants

My life is quite different from “normal” life.  We, as missionaries, don’t watch TV, read the news, or books (other than scripture).  We don’t have an 8-5 career or go to a university to learn.  Our job consists of approaching strangers and guiding them to the answers to life’s greatest questions–hoping they will ask God to know for themselves if what we say is true.  Our learning is in the 3 hours set aside in the morning to study and pray from and about the ‘best of books…’ (D&C 88: 118).

Random thought, I often wonder what others think as they see two young girls in skirts enter the sketchiest parts of town and who, if robbed, would have nothing but a bag full of copies of the Book of Mormon.  This, fortunately has never happened to me.  Anyway…

The other week we had someone come to upgrade our light bulbs to be more ‘energy efficient’ and came home to the notice and survey on the counter.  Yes, what did they think?  Several college students live around us.  We may have some similarities: twin beds and virtually empty refrigerators, but no gaming console, banana chairs, flat screen or empty pizza boxes.  In place of those things: two large desks, a bookshelf full of pamphlets, several pictures of Christ and many seedlings trying to grow, haha.

Let me explain…

A few weeks ago, a member of our congregation approached us to help with a service project.  Since we are encouraged to be self-sustaining, we are helping some people in the greater Rochester area plant their own gardens!  She asked if we would help by growing seedlings in our apartment.  Neither my companion nor I have ever really done this before but we were excited.  We save all of our milk cartons, yogurt, jello, and pudding cups, cottage cheese containers and anything else we can to plant our little seeds!  We have about 30 planted.  Mint, butternut squash and peas.  Since this is something I’ve never done before, I didn’t realize how much patience it took.

Every morning we wake up excited to see if there is any sign of new life.  And every morning I’ve been disappointed to see nothing but dirt.  I started wondering, “did I do it wrong?”, “Were they bad seeds?”  Day after day, nothing.  Until…a couple days ago!!!  One butternut squash (which is really growing now) and one pea plant (see picture above).  YEA!!!  I did it!  But, I still have a long way to go before they bear fruit.

Now, there’s a little bit more to it than just planting seedlings.  There’s a song that goes like this:

Faith

(click ‘Words and Music’ in top right hand corner)

Faith is knowing the sun will rise,

Lighting each new day.

Faith is knowing the Lord will hear,

My prayers each time I pray.

Faith is like a little seed:

If planted it will grow.

Faith is a swelling within my heart.

When I do right, I know.

 

I love this song and I love the message.  I love Christ’s parable of the sower as well.  Once we plant a seed, we can no longer see it.  But!  We can know it is there.  We can and give it light and water and good soil to help it grow!  So it is with all the mysteries of God.  We can know He’s there, we just have to do a little work!