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priesthood blessing

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I’m writing a new book! Towers of Strength: Stories of Triumph over Darkness will be a collection of thoughts and stories about mental illness from the perspective of Latter-day Saints. please spread the word on whatever groups, forums, and facebook pages you feel might generate interest. The deadline for story submissions is March 1st.

For now, a pill is what is making my brain and body bearable for my spirit. For now, the healing power of God has not removed my body’s weaknesses but enabled me to thrive in spite of them. It is not the healing I wanted or expected, but it is a healing of sorts.

“Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him” (Alma 58:11).

In a priesthood blessing, God answered my question: “You will be able to be happy without medication.” He didn’t tell me how long it would take, but I was satisfied with just knowing that someday I’d get there. And so I went on, taking my medication, feeling grateful for my rescue from the darkness.

It is my belief that some of the most valiant and gifted of heavenly fathers children are among them, and it is for this very reason that Satan has (often repeatedly) thwarted their entrance into mortality. They are the armies that will eventually destroy him. Let’s help empower them to do so.

I’m so glad I had my friend Cassie and my sister-in-law Brooke there as my doulas/photographers. I created a slideshow with my birth photos that you can view on my Birth Faith blog. But I realized yesterday that I’ve never shared the photos themselves online. Here are some of my favorites, taken by Cassie (and Brooke) at the end of my pregnancy, during labor, and afterward…

Something I used to frequently say regarding childbirth was that I was born in the last days because Heavenly Father knew I couldn’t handle a natural childbirth and knew I needed epidurals. It was something I would always joke about, but also really believed. I might be mentally strong, spiritually strong, but physically strong? No way. That was not for me. I wasn’t a hardy pioneer woman that pushed handcarts and gave birth along the Mormon trail. Heavenly Father knew me and knew my mental and physical limitations. Or so I thought.

Today’s Women’s History Month stories come from our Latter-day Saint birthing history. I fantasize about having a book containing all the recorded birth accounts of our early Mormon mothers and midwives. What an amazing book that would be! I have a feeling that those account would do for us modern mothers what the following two accounts have done for me. They would show us over and over and over that God cares deeply about each birth and that we are given divine aid and protection as we participate in the sacred work of giving life to His children.

Today I’m happy to share the birth of Claire Eleanor, the fourth child of Liz. This birth came after an anxiety-filled pregnancy, and a previous stillbirth. This was her first birth without an epidural. I hope you enjoy it (and Liz’s priceless sense of humor) as much as I did.

This week’s birth stories come from our Latter-day Saint birthing history. They illustrate beautifully that God cares deeply about each birth and that we are given divine aid and protection as we participate in the sacred work of giving life to His children.