Nora just texted me a thought regarding Mary and the birth of her baby, Baby Jesus. And she related Mary to myself and my birth of Charlotte.
I read her text in passing because Charlotte had just fallen asleep - little window of *GOLDEN HOURS* - and I had just zoomed through a shower and was lapsing through my bedroom to get dressed and ready, and I glanced at my phone and inhaled Nora's words. While standing in my closet, her thoughts lulled through my mind, tapping so many thoughts in me about women and their journeys. First really thinking about Mary and her own thoughts and emotions regarding motherhood.
The scriptures are so so so dear to my heart. Though, they are not chalked full of female journey's and the feelings therein. Just the other day, I was reading during my morning feeding with Charlotte. I'm dead center in the war chapters of Alma, and I had to pause and laugh to myself. Pride, Aggression, Fighting, Appeals for Prisoner Swaps, etc. And there I was nursing my perfect, delicate baby in the gentle morning light, listening to her soft coos and swallows. What could be more polar? And the thought came to me, albeit with a little intrusion of bitterness - "what in the world am I supposed to connect with here?" And then I quickly turned my heart back to Heavenly Father, as though we just arrived at a trailhead together and the realization that there is a spiritual knowledge climb here for me. I absolutely believe that we can find anything through the scriptures. Perhaps not in them, so to speak. But through our studies of them, Heavenly Father will brighten our minds with His direct knowledge. Maybe that's where most people stop. "Breastfeeding isn't in the scriptures, so therefore, the book is irrelevant, and I am done." But we keep reading, and God will bring knowledge to our mind. So I've been praying. I want to know the women, and I want to know their journey's; I want to know their emotions. I'd like this unwritten knowledge to be revealed to me, and I believe it can be.
When I was pregnant with Charlotte, I came across a study on Heavenly Mother. Two researchers at BYU had scoured for every LDS Church resource they could find that made mention of Heavenly Mother. Any discourses, talks, essays, as far back as they could go. And they assembled the information into one report (I have it if you want me to email it to you). I drank up that article like a parched desert wanderer. And to my dismay, my read ended abruptly just halfway through, because half of the pdf pages were citations. I did not learn near as much as I wanted to about Her. Not even close. But there was one little piece that filled me with peace and made Her feel so near and connected to me. Heavenly Mother went through her own journey just like us. Starting from mortality, all the way to Godhood. She went through the "2 steps forward, 1 step back" process that I go through all the time - in my weaknesses, in my talents and confidences, and in my heartaches:
Some statements by Church authorities have led to the understanding that before Heavenly Mother became exalted and helped beget us, she was once mortal and dwelt on an earth. Elder Orson F. Whitney (bishop, July 14, 1878–April 1906) explained that “there was a time when that being whom we now worship—that our eternal Father and Mother were once man and woman in mortality.” The soul-making trials of her earthly experience, coupled with continuing growth after a celestial resurrection, helped her hone the qualities of divinity to move her from “womanhood to Godhood.”
I love that thought!
Then I thought about my sweet little Charlotte, and her journey, starting three days after she was "due." I have already decided that for my next child, I will announce the due week. Because the process of deriving at a "due date" is comically subjective to me, and then I swear people carve that date into their stone calendars and freak out when it comes and goes with no baby.
Physician: "What is your estimated first day of your last period before you got pregnant?"
Me: Well.... Here's my best guess on the range of days that it possibly could have been.
Physician: Okay. Here is your singular due date.
--Meanwhile, the entire pregnancy, the due date estimate shifts around due to technician ultrasound assumptions, the midwife measurements of my belly, and historical data that first-time moms generally go at least a week over term. So Ryan and I just sail with whatever wave. Baby Charlotte will come when she is ripe.
--Due Date Arrives: no baby. *Cue people's reactions*
"You better eat this food." "You better jump on a tramp, go for a run, fly a kite, ride on a polar bear!!" "You need to get her out!" "Your baby must be so stubborn."
But really, whaaaat? My precious child has not even stepped foot (or for accuracy, "head plummeted") into earth yet, and already she is being judged and pushed along other people's timelines. According to the world, she already needs to be somewhere and be someone on day -3. Haha, okay people, all in good fun. But really, a baby's journey starts when it needs to, and they come to earth in the exact starting place of his or her character and soul that is necessary.
And I guess what this all comes down to is that I'm not just climbing on a journey for myself anymore. I'm now holding a little hand and pushing sticks and thorns out of her way, so she may have her journey too. And I'm craving, more than ever, the feelings of women in the Gospel who walked this same path.
Part of my journey with Charlotte includes deflection, like the story above. Swatting away anything low and harmful, untrue and toxic. Though the more important part of our journey is keeping our eyes on the glory and essence of Heavenly Mother all the way up ahead. Little Charlotte really only knows me (and Ryan) as her sights. We are her points of exemplification for heaven. And my sight is absolutely set on Heavenly Mother and what I crave to have confirmed about her in my heart. With examples of other women along the path, in the scriptures and in real life, heading upwards to Her as well. I want their companionship. I want their stories. I want their peace. Because I want Charlotte and I to keep our intentions and hearts high, continually pushing in that direction.
Thank you Nora and my other friends here for being some of those faithful women in my sights.
Upward and onward,
Elder Glenn L. Pace (First Quorum of the Seventy, October 3, 1992–October 2, 2010) at a 2010 BYU devotional: “Sisters, I testify that when you stand in front of your heavenly parents in those royal courts on high and you 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.”
quote source: “A Mother There” A Survey of Historical Teachings about Mother in Heaven