Spiritual and Emotional Sensitivity is a bit of a problem gift for us. It makes us cry. Often. Not everyone, of course– I am not a real big crier, but I definitely have my moments. Women have emotional sensors like nerves in their skin. Seeing a homeless family on the street, hearing about abuses and neglect of children, deaths, births, outstanding band performances, kind words, sad movies, illnesses, testimonies, a thoughtful mom sacrificing for her children, and any other issue that involves feelings, suffering or joy elicits an emotional response from women. Certainly not all women cry about things, but a majority of women’s hearts are stirred and they often feel deep emotions of compassion, sadness, wonder and joy. Women can project themselves into a situation and often feel exactly how those who are suffering feel. This compassion is an amazing gift. Its is also fundamental to being a mother.
Heavenly Father communicates with mothers through the spirit about what to do with their children, how to raise them, what their problems are, and how to solve them. The story of Amanda Smith, a woman at Haun’s Mill, illustrates the strong spiritual connection between Heavenly Father and mothers, when it concerns their children.
“On October 30, 1838, three days after the extermination order was issued, some 200 men mounted a surprise attack against the small community of Saints at Haun’s Mill on Shoal Creek, Caldwell County. The assailants, in an act of treachery, called for those men who wished to save themselves to run into the blacksmith shop. They then took up positions around the building and fired into it until they thought all inside were dead. Others were shot as they tried to make their escape. In all, 17 men and boys were killed and 15 wounded.
After the massacre, Amanda Smith went to the blacksmith shop, where she found her husband, Warren, and a son, Sardius, dead. Among the carnage she was overjoyed to find another son, little Alma, still alive though severely wounded. His hip had been blown away by a musket blast. With most of the men dead or wounded, Amanda knelt down and pleaded with the Lord for help:
‘Oh my Heavenly Father, I cried, what shall I do? Thou seest my poor wounded boy and knowest my inexperience. Oh Heavenly Father direct me what to do!’ She said that she ’was directed as by a voice.’ instructing her to make a lye from the ashes and cleanse the wound. She then prepared a slippery elm poultice and filled the wound with it. The next day she poured the contents of a bottle of balsam into the wound.
Amanda said to her son, “‘Alma, my child, . . . you believe that the Lord made your hip?’
‘Well, the Lord can make something there in the place of your hip, don’t you believe he can, Alma?’
‘Do you think that the Lord can, mother?’ inquired the child in his simplicity.
‘Yes, my son,’ I replied, ‘he has shown it all to me in a vision.’
Then I laid him comfortably on his face, and said: ‘Now you lay like that, and don’t move, and the Lord will make you another hip.’
So Alma laid on his face for five weeks, until he was entirely recovered–a flexible gristle having grown in place of the missing joint and socket.” (Our Heritage)
My mother-in-law had a similar experience with her youngest son, Zach. One autumn day when Zach was three, he was playing in the yard when it started to get cold. He came inside and later that night, he came down with a fever and he became very weak. He was fussy and feverish and Jackie did not want to leave him alone for the night. She called the clinic where his pediatrician worked, but it was after 5:00 and the office was already closed. The staff who answered the phone told her not to worry, and to bring him to the office in the morning. The spirit whispered to Jackie that it was more serious. She felt like she needed to stay up with him and help cool him off. She fed him chewed up ice cubes to try to make the fever abate. Halfway through the night, she took him into the bathroom (all those ice cubes) and he was so weak that he could not even stand up; he limply leaned into her supporting hands like a rag doll. She called the on-call doctor again, and they told her the same thing.
Jackie continued to feed him ice cubes to try to get him to cool off, however, Zach got steadily worse through the night and by the morning, he was limp and his face was ashen gray. She scooped him up in his footed pajamas and took him down to the clinic as soon as it was opened. They waited in the waiting room for 15 minutes before the doctor was alerted that they had arrived. The doctor took one look at him and asked,
“How long have you been here?”
“I don’t know, about 15 minutes.”
“He’s sick. What do you think it is?
“I think its meningitis.”
“Okay. Take him down to the hospital immediately. Not the emergency room, but the ICU check-in desk.”
She took him to the ICU and they did a spinal tap immediately. Indeed it was spinal meningitis, caused from an ear infection that he had gotten earlier that week, possibly even that day, playing outside.
Jackie did not know anything about the causes or symptoms of spinal meningitis, nor did she know that feeding him ice cubes was the best way to keep him hydrated without causing his head to swell up with extra fluids. Because the spirit spoke to her and helped her through each decision she faced that night, she was able to act in a timely manner and save Zach’s life. He was life-flighted to a nearby hospital and stayed for 10 days. Had she taken him to the emergency room that night, the tests would not have shown that he had meningitis because the fluids were just beginning to form that morning. They would have told her to go home, take some antibiotics and put him to bed. He would not have made it through the night.
The most endearing part of this story needs to be told as well: the doctors warned Jackie that Zach may have suffered some hearing loss, as is typical after spinal meningitis, and she needed to check it from time to time—nothing overt, she should just whisper his name when his head is turned or when he is busy playing or watching T.V. The first time she tried it, he was sitting facing away from her, playing with his toys. She gently and softly whispered “Zach. . . Zach”. Her heart sunk as he sat still playing, without responding. After a few seconds, he turned around with wide, curious eyes and whispered back a secretive “What??”. He was completely healed with no serious side effects.
Emotional and spiritual sensitivity are divine keys to help mothers magnify their callings as mothers, wives, and women. Our emotional and spiritual sensitivity is a large part of what defines us as women. We cry! We understand! We heed the spirit’s voice! We bless our families’ lives with our softness and receptiveness. Imagine what the world would be like if mothers did not possess this sensitivity. This key allows us to develop our charity, to feel the love of others and reciprocate; to discern the needs of our screaming infants, and to heal emotional wounds through the voice of the spirit.