Sister Franco on women and priesthood — Drawing on the Savior’s power

Editor’s note: This narrative is part of a Church News series titled “Women of Covenant,” in which women of the Church discuss their personal experiences with priesthood power and share what they have learned through following President Russell M. Nelson’s counsel to “labor with the Spirit to understand God’s power — priesthood power” (“Spiritual Treasures,” general conference, October 2019).

The following teaching from President Russell M. Nelson speaks to my heart: “As your understanding increases and as you exercise faith in the Lord and His priesthood power, your ability to draw upon this spiritual treasure that the Lord has made available will increase.”

President Nelson also asks this question: “But how do I do it? How do I draw the Savior’s power into my life?”

Through my own life experiences, I know that keeping the Lord’s commandments, having faith, and fully trusting Him are ways we access His priesthood power. We read in the Doctrine and Covenants that when we follow Him in faith, “then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:45). 

Sister Cristina B. Franco, second counselor in the primary general presidency, speaks during the Sunday morning session in the 189th Semiannual General Conference of the Church on Oct. 6, 2019.
Sister Cristina B. Franco, second counselor in the primary general presidency, speaks during the Sunday morning session in the 189th Semiannual General Conference of the Church on Oct. 6, 2019. Credit: Screenshot from ChurchofJesusChrist.org

Let me share a personal experience to illustrate this principle. 

About 15 years ago I had eye surgery. At first, I was excited to have improved vision. But in the doctor’s waiting room, I was surprised to read that 1 in 1,000 patients lose their vision and become blind from this surgery.

That statistic was in the back of my mind as the doctor told me I would probably never get 20/20 vision. But, he said, I would improve to the point of being able to read smaller print on the eye chart, at least three or four lines below what I currently could read. 

When I got home, my dear husband asked about the appointment. I told him what the doctor had said and then told him my fear after learning that 1 in 1,000 people could lose their sight. 

His response was “Wow, that’s very low!”  

I replied, “But what if I’m that one? You know my vision is not perfect, but I can still see. I just don’t think I want to go through with surgery.” 

He then asked me something I will never forget, “Cris, what if Heavenly Father allows your sight to be taken?” 

I responded, “Why would He do that? He knows I need to see.” 

He then asked, “But will you submit to His will?” 

I didn’t know what to say, so I said what I knew: “I have faith that, for the Lord, nothing is impossible. And I have faith to be healed. Will you give me a blessing so everything will be OK?” 

He smiled and said, “Of course.”

Sister Becky Craven of Young Women general presidency and Sister Cristina B. Franco of the Primary general presidency pose with a group after a training in Guadeloupe during their tour of the Caribbean Area.
Sister Becky Craven of Young Women general presidency and Sister Cristina B. Franco of the Primary general presidency pose with a group after a training in Guadeloupe during their tour of the Caribbean Area. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

On the day of the procedure, my husband gave me a blessing and we went to the clinic. As I waited, I prayed to my Father in Heaven, expressing the feelings of my heart and letting Him know that no matter what happened, even if I had to go without sight for the rest of my life, I would accept His will and it would never affect my faith in Him or in my Savior. 

I had the procedure, and an hour later I was sent home. 

Three days later, I returned for my follow-up appointment. My doctor asked me to read the smallest letters I could from the eye chart on the wall. As I read the very smallest row, the doctor said with surprise, “That’s 20/20. You have 20/20 vision! I don’t know how you got it.” 

Oh, but I knew! I knew the miracle of healing had happened because of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I submitted my will to the Lord’s will. As I got into my car, I poured out my heart, full of gratitude to my Heavenly Father for His loving mercy.

Miracles come as a witness “after the trials of [our] faith” (Ether 12:6).

Sometimes, however, those miracles look different than we expect. Elder David A. Bednar explained: “There are complementary dimensions of faith—faith to make things happen and faith to accept the things that happen. A disciple has to have both. You have to be willing to act and to wait upon the Lord” (David A. Bednar, “Faith in the Savior — a Principle of Action and Power,” BYU–Idaho devotional address, Sept. 22, 2019).

Sister Cristina B. Franco shares photos with sisters at a meeting in Port-au Prince, Haiti.
Sister Cristina B. Franco shares photos with sisters at a meeting in Port-au Prince, Haiti. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Access to the power and blessings of the priesthood is available to everyone.  As we remain faithful, we can receive those priesthood powers and blessings in all aspects of our life.  It can provide us with protection, comfort, strength, peace, and promises that reach into the eternities. Through that priesthood power, the Holy Ghost also helps me to recall experiences in my life that continue to build my testimony and faith in God.

I testify that as we exercise faith in the Lord and in His priesthood power, drawing nearer to Him and submitting to His will, we will see many miracles in our lives.