4.29.2014

Woman of Faith

There has been an awful lot of things to write lately. Much has been on my mind and I guess I have been taking time to sort through it. 

Maybe you have noticed there has been a lot of talk about women lately: women's rights, women in religion, women in media, modesty and a number of others. I have to be honest and say that I've wrestled with a lot of it lately. I am definitely not one of the few storming priesthood meetings or wearing pants to church (although I have no problem with a woman wearing pants to church). But I have had to take a step back and find my place in it all. I do call myself a feminist, even though that word has taken on an extreme life of its own in the last decade. From all directions I find attacks about my body and her body and your body. Either it's flippant female characters in television that hold the purpose of never wearing clothes. Or it's an overly emphasized standard for women to cover up and make sure we're not distracting others with our body. Which then leads to my own harsh criticism of myself, "I wish I had thinner arms and longer hair and clearer skin." I've been incredibly overwhelmed with finding my true worth outside of my body, to the world and my faith. 

I guess you could say the struggle to get pregnant has been the last straw on the camel's back with my current floundering state. Just another reason to feel a disconnect, now with the good women I associate with daily. Another pressure to put on this body of mine. Another reason to doubt my worth as a woman of faith. The last few months, in this regard, have been rough.

Then Easter Sunday came. Oh, Easter. Honestly I wasn't having it this year. I wasn't in the spirit of the day. I attended church and with everyone recounted that incredible week of the Savior's life. Like it always does, it touched my heart but in a different way than usual. There was one particular part I couldn't get out of my head. We went over and over the story with my class of 5 year olds. Every time we did my heart kept lingering on His appearance to Mary Magdalene. I was touched that He came to her, called her by name and sent her to tell His apostles the news. It was like someone kept whispering to me, "He came to her first." I never thought I would doubt my place as a women in this gospel but that is where I was. And with this small piece of the story I was overwhelmed with the love I felt my Father and Savior had for me as a woman. A woman that is more than the imperfections of her earthly body. A woman with a clear mind and a tender heart. I hadn't realized it before but I needed to know that He knew me. Not only that He knew me but that I was important to Him. I was more than the attacks on my body.

This is probably one of the most personal things I have shared on here and I have cried through writing the whole thing. Part of me wants to refrain from clicking the publish button but another part is telling me that these are the kinds of discussions we need to have. I know we tend to think we are the only ones struggling with something and we're afraid to speak up. But I know we are often feeling the same things and we need each other. 


(unrelated: this is a thing that I did

28 comments:

  1. This is beautiful, Bri. Thanks so much for sharing. I'm a feminist and a firm believer in equality for men and women. I have struggles with the place of women in the world and in the church but I have a strong testimony that these struggles are something earthly, not eternal. I'd love to talk to you more about it sometime. I love how you found your strength on Easter Sunday. So fitting to find hope and comfort on such a special day.

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    1. Thank you, Sally. You are a really amazing lady and I look up to you. I was just thinking the other day that we need to go to lunch and catch up. :)

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  2. It's funny, but I can sorta relate. I've not dealt with struggling to get pregnant, but with understanding my place. I think I fall in the same general vicinity of where you're at, and interestingly enough, that stuck out to me this Easter as well, when I was viewing the Mesa Easter Pageant. It made me want to do more to share the Savior's love and care less about the superficial things I seem to worry about incessantly. Thank you for the reminder.

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  3. This is the thing isn't it. There are so many pressures that our world bestows on us as women that we can't help but feel disappointed in our skin. I urge you to look to Psalm 91 and remember that He is in control and His plan is a perfect one that we must trust. God made man and woman in His image as equals, we may have different roles but each role is perfect and beautiful and no one should make us doubt that. I find that when I struggle with my identity as a woman of God, I need to draw myself back to Him and my purpose in Him. Easier said than done of course, but He is the only thing that can provide me/us with true hope and love.

    "Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name" Psalm 91:14

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  4. I love how gentle He is as He reminds as of who we are in Him. This was a very timely post for me. So thank you for putting your honesty and you feelings out there. It was really, very well written. I feel for you and I pray that your struggles be no more in His name.

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    1. gentle is the perfect word. perfect.

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  5. Thank you for being brave and publishing this. I have been struggling with the same body issues lately, and I know it gets in the way of my faith as well. It causes me to only see myself. But God does know us; He knows us all, even our weaknesses, but He loves us anyway. Thanks for the encouraging, heartfelt post that I needed to hear. I guess I didn't realize how many others struggle with this.

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  6. I had the same realization last week! The first people to know about His birth and His resurrection were women. So empowering and so humbling. I loved this. And I love you. And a little more food for thought, the majority of the women focused on in the scriptures had problems with fertility. Read this: http://www.womeninthescriptures.com/2010/03/infertility-and-scriptural-promise.html

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    1. i love you, i love you so much. Missing you really bad right now. July needs to get here faster. We are just always *right there*, aren't we?

      That post was really good and kind of makes me feel less of a loser. ;)

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  7. Bri, this is so beautiful! What a powerful realization. I've been struggling with infertility for a year now. I know we can't truly understand each other's pains, but in some way I feel where you are coming from and I feel strength knowing that there is someone out there going through similar circumstances. I just really think the world of you.

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  8. What beautiful words to share! I have to say I'm glad you hit publish :) I've had some very similiar thoughts lately but you put it much more eloquently than I have been able to!

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  10. This hit the spot for me. I've also noticed all the talk about women lately and as a young woman with faith in the Gospel, I've been struggling with finding my place as well and figuring out my thoughts and feelings without being tainted by the opinions of others. Thanks for sharing, I so appreciate it.

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  11. Thanks for writing this Bri. I feel like it must have been pretty therapeutic to write. I remember reading a post few months ago about Jesus being a feminist (i think this was it: http://www.godswordtowomen.org/feminist.htm) and it just made me feel so much included in God's plan for me and my place as a women is his church. you are great. you are loved. thanks for being real with us.

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  12. These ARE the kind of discussions we need to have. Absolutely! Just the other night I was doing the same thing, doubting my place as a woman in my faith. Because there is a lot of talk of men in the scriptures and not a whole lot of women. Or at least not in the same way? I hope you know what I mean. And it just got to me. I vented to my husband, poor guy, about how unfair I felt it was. All of the pain we deal with and the unique challenges. Why do I need to struggle with this and struggle to find love from my Father in the scriptures?

    Honestly, this post is kind of an answer to my prayers. And I don't say things like that. But really. As I was reading this, I thought about what you wrote, how Jesus spoke to Mary first. How he really must have known what it would mean to her, how she worried for him in a way only women know how to do. It's such a small part of the story that we hear every time. But it's like you've blown it up for us to show us the significance. And it seems appropriate because, as a woman, I feel like I'm more touched by subtle things like this rather than bold letters and obvious answers.

    This is way too long. But thank you for sharing this. Please never stop sharing. At least not out of fear.

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  13. Thank you for being honest, Bri :) I really enjoyed this post. I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father and Savior. Thank you for being a great example to me.

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  15. We do need each other.
    I loved reading about your testimony here and I loved reading through everyone's comments; they have strengthened my testimony and I feel God's love through the holy ghost. I want to genuinely thank you for writing about this. Thank you.

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  16. Yes! I had this moment of clarity during Easter Sunday services too! It's like God knew that this "war on women" would appear and we would need a place to point to. I love this part of the Easter story because Mary was a mess and had rumors flying around about her, but Jesus picked HER to appear to first. That's power. That's important. And it's important that we as women realize that and realize how much we need each other as well! <3 Great post! I'm glad you pressed the publish button!

    -Chelsea
    chelsandthecity.blogspot.com

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  17. A day late, but couldn't have come at a more perfect time.

    My heart is breaking for my children's group. I just found out one of the pre-teens is asking boys for sex. A 12 year old child! The first example of many many young girl examples I have where these children are struggling for their place in this world and for love and attention.

    Perhaps the subject is different from what you are struggling with but the message, to me, is still the same. Thank you for helping me find a starting point for showing love to these girls as Jesus did.

    Even at 12 (and younger) girls are searching for how they can be of importance. My children's group is a testament of mothers and grandmothers (who do not attend church) who are still struggling with that question so much so that they project their insecurities and desperation for love onto their young daughters....

    Thank you for the post and for adding your voice to these issues. Perhaps more women can realize what you've helped us to and we can begin to heal our future generations.

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  18. oh, wow. that was so so good.
    thank you for being brave enough to share it!

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  19. As a woman of faith as well, I loved hearing you talk about this. And hearing about the way He speaks to you was a great reminder for me that He is always near, in good times and in bad. Because of Him, we are above all the crazy views this world instills of the female mind, body, and soul. His ways are higher. Thanks for sharing with us!

    - Sarah

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  20. I'm really glad you pushed publish.

    I am not LDS and lately not much of a woman of faith despite my upbringing. I have really questioned God and his whereabouts since I lost three pregnancies in 2011 following a long infertility battle... and subsequently, my marriage. By all means, you and I have very, VERY little in common but your blog is one of my top three favorites, and I really appreciate your honesty and integrity. I read it far more consistently than most other blogs to which I subscribe.

    Please know you're not alone, and that your tenderness and vulnerability through this very private struggle is safe with your readers. Your heart is so big. In the story at the tomb, Jesus was dressed as a gardener, but Mary Magdalene wasn't fooled. She knew her savior's voice and she recognized him even in disguise. Keep doing that. The struggle to get pregnant can be a blinding one, but he is in the midst of it and your readers are cheering for you.

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  21. Ok, one more comment. I was reading scriptures last night and this verse really spoke to me and reminded me of your Easter experience Helaman 5:30
    I just thought it was neat how God's communication with His people has remained the same throughout history.

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  22. Bri, this was the first Easter I understood the importance of Jesus talking to Mary FIRST. It has had a profound impact on my thinking. Your writing, as always, is beautiful and something I believe all women can relate to in some form. I have particularly struggled to integrate my diseased body into my sense of self without becoming depressed and hopeless. Not only has my cancer caused scarring and weight gain after 10+ surgeries and hospitalizations, but it cannot do what it used to, what I want it to do, and it is a source of pain and sickness all the time. When I'm in pain and nauseous every day, how do I not hate my body? When I see a body that used to be muscular and able to run five miles morph into a weak and heavy person, how can I accept that? And I feel so betrayed by my body, all these tumors staking claim in my brain, spinal cord, abdomen. The issue around our physical bodies is so complex and I have had to try to maintain the dialectic between acceptance and change. You're a beautiful woman, Bri, in every way. I will pray for your pregnancy issues.

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  23. Thank you so much for writing this. Honestly, this has been one of my struggles as well. Thank you so much for bringing this to light. :)

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