Who are the most influential women in your world? I checked out The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women; Forbes magazine claims their list “isn’t about celebrity or popularity; it’s about influence. Queen Rania of Jordan (No. 76), for instance, is perhaps the most listened-to woman in the Middle East; her Twitter feed has 600,000 followers.” Powerful moguls and media queens may be changing the course of history; however, they are invisible in my little world. Who influences you? Let’s compare our lists. Here’s a few powerful and influential women from my list:
ONE: As I embraced the light after crawling out of the murky sewers of Babylon, I felt like a wobbly toddler, just learning to walk. Desperate prayers were answered by a serene angel who helped steady me as I took a few tentative steps, focusing on the loving, outstretched arms of the Savior. I knew Sister Brown was an angel because she glowed. The Spirit would enfold me in an aura of love as I listened carefully to Sister Brown’s Relief Society lessons, analyzing how I needed to change to become just like her. If she prayed and read the scriptures every day, then I would too. If Sister Brown treated the Sabbath like it was a precious and holy gift, then I would too. If Sister Brown got spiritual power from attending the temple, then I would receive my endowments and go to the temple regularly, even if it required driving to Los Angeles on a freeway dotted with psycho drivers who didn’t value human life. No sacrifice was too big if I could become like Sister Brown, who never even knew that she was my spiritual mentor.
TWO: Growing up in a home of negative voices, I have struggled with the lingering dregs of my childhood. I wanted to be a positive and patient mother–and often I was–but other times I felt like Wanda the Witch Woman. Discovering M. Catherine Thomas, whose father was an alcoholic, helped me walk with a kinder cadence. She wrote in Spiritual Lightening about her own journey of healing:
“To choose positive, affirming, tolerant, forgiving, Spirit-filled energy over negative energy is to choose godliness over evil. I think it’s that simple. There are finally only two forces at work on us, and they are continually at work; and until we learn to discern and reject most negative energy, we will be victimized by it. (142)