Listening to the prophet’s words during the women’s session of general conference, I couldn’t help but be stunned. How was it possible that I had been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints my whole life but had not been taught, or had not understood, how I could access priesthood power in my calling and life before now? That moment was a game changer for me. As I turned over the words of the prophet in my mind, I was left with this question: How can I wield the Savior’s power in my life?
In the past, I have been hesitant to assert myself, because of how I understood priesthood authority. I often wondered that if I were to boldly stand, extend an invitation, and testify of blessings in the name of Jesus Christ, people might question my ability and right to do so. I have imagined other people thinking, “Who does she think she is?” Invitations and promised blessings seem to come naturally from stake presidents, bishops, and other leaders, but sometimes I have felt that people think I am overstepping my bounds if I act as if I have any kind of priesthood authority. But after hearing President Russell M. Nelson’s prophetic direction, now I feel empowered to act in God’s name as His servant.
I suppose that I always knew I had access to priesthood power in my calling as a stake Relief Society president. But I guess that I never really thought about what that meant to me personally or how it applied to the everyday work of my calling. Here are some experiences I’ve had that are examples to me of what accessing God’s power in my calling looks like:
Recently, I spoke at a ward Relief Society retreat. I thought about what the prophet said, and I decided to invite the sisters to examine the way they spend their time and to remind them that peace and joy will come when we choose to do the best things each day. I honestly don’t remember the exact words of my invitation and promise to them, but I remember that I did it in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I felt the Spirit very strongly as I did so, which was a testimony to me that what I was promising was true. It felt appropriate, and I loved feeling that I truly was on the Lord’s errand, using His power!
As I work on understanding how I can draw upon the Savior’s power in my life, I can also be more aware of the Spirit when I visit the sisters in my stake. This has led me to more consciously try to see how I can bless their lives, right there in that visit. I try to know what they need to hear from the Lord, and I have been more aware of how I can be an instrument in the Lord’s hands. All of this is exercising priesthood power and authority!
“after hearing President Nelson’s prophetic direction, now I feel empowered to act in God’s name as His servant. … God needs all of us.”
I know I don’t always succeed. Sometimes I walk out of a visit feeling like I didn’t quite figure out the invitation I needed to make. I try to be patient with myself, as I am still learning. However, on those visits where I do feel I succeeded, it is wonderful! I feel I am making a greater effort to draw upon the priesthood power I have been endowed with. I hope I can continue to learn what this means, for me and for the women I have stewardship over. I have a game plan to make sure that my Relief Society sisters and I will come to understand how to use the Savior’s power in our lives: I plan to study the priesthood on my own, with my sisters in mind, and share what I’ve learned.
As part of our stake conference visits, a member of our stake presidency visited a sister that had recently lost her husband to cancer. She told him that the thing she missed the most was “having the priesthood power in her home.” That president was able to draw on the words of the prophet during general conference to teach her that she herself can draw upon God’s power to receive revelation and to be strengthened, protected, and guided because she was endowed with priesthood power in the temple. This knowledge fills my heart with gratitude, and I know it brought that sister some comfort in her heartache. By working hand in hand with our brothers, we can all learn how to truly use the power of God to uplift and bless those around us! I suppose that’s the real game changer—women and men working together to achieve God’s purposes. God needs all of us.
I still don’t fully understand the nuances of how I can draw on God’s power as a woman—I am still trying to learn more about how it works. But I know it works. I’ve already seen a glimpse of what God can do as I learn how to access His power by honoring my covenants with Him. I am so grateful to know that priesthood power is accessible to both women and men. This will open the eyes and understanding of so many sisters who have questioned their role in the work of salvation. President Nelson’s teachings make the gospel that much more real for me, and I can’t wait to continue learning about how I can use the Savior’s power to be a more powerful and helpful daughter of God.
If you or someone you know has had an inspiring story or uplifting experience that would be great to feature on the blog, please email blog@ChurchofJesusChrist.org. We’d love to hear from you!