Friday, December 17, 2010

Latest Thoughts (Stella Skywalker)

This summer I had the opportunity to attend a fireside that was conducted by one of the 12 apostles. This fireside was specifically for the single adults of the church and as so many of these kinds of meetings go; this sweet Apostle expressed his sadness for those of us who desperately desire a spouse and family and have had to wait. You could tell he really did hurt with us and for us. He simultaneously tried to give us the encouragement to keep going and magnify the parts of our lives that we can control. It was uplifting and wonderful and his love for us was nearly tangible. It’s hard to feel sad in the presence of one of the Lord’s servants. At the end of his remarks he opened things up for Q & A. One woman in the audience (who I will admire to my very last breath for her courage and tenacity) asked…

“I’m well into my 30’s. I’ve served a mission, I’ve been active in the church, I’ve put myself out into the singles world, I’ve pursued an education and career while I’ve waited and I am sick and tired of waiting. What is the church’s council on dating (and marrying) outside the church?”

This really got my attention. I have been asked (and even encouraged) several times by dear friends and family (who are LDS and have Temple marriages) if I have ever thought about looking outside the church. I’ll be honest – my answer is swift and firm “absolutely not.” You may ask why as a convert I’ve so vehemently stuck to my guns. The short answer is fear. The even shorter answer is lack of faith.

Anyway back to the story – Elder Hales looked at her and said (I’m going to add bulleted points for affect here b/c I want to demonstrate the affect this had on me…)

1) If you’ve found a man who honors the Lord.
2) If you’ve found a man who loves the Lord.
3) If you’ve found a man who honors you.
4) If you’ve found a man who loves you.

Then I believe that you’re on the right track for you.

Like many of us I have been promised in my patriarchal blessing that I will have a righteous priesthood holder as my helpmate. I have long assumed this must mean that he will be a current member of the church, certainly he will have pioneer heritage, and of course he will have tons of family in Utah so I’ll have a free place to stay when I finally get around to visiting Salt Lake.

Several months ago I met a man who I had an instant connection with. We met at the party of a mutual friend and within minutes were chatting and laughing as if we were old friends. In fact, someone observing us asked how long we’d been dating – our reply…about 7 minutes. This man is not a member of the church but he is a good and decent Christian man. The more time I spend with him, the more I feel what a true relationship should be like, the more I feel his love, honor, and respect for the Lord and for me, the more I think about Elder Hales remarks to that brave sister.

That said, I have never, not even once, considered dating outside of the LDS faith. I have never, not even once, had a man love and respect me like this man does. I have never, not even once, been so aware of the beautiful life that can be possible if you do it the Lord’s way. I have never, not even once, felt such peace and gratitude that I didn’t get my way.

For those who may be questioning my post here please know that I am not advocating for giving up on the men of the church. I am not advocating that single LDS women will have no other choice but to lay down their hopes of dreams of a current priesthood holder who can take them to the Temple. That is still my dream and my greatest hope that someday I will kneel across the alter from a priesthood holder and be bound to him for time and all eternity. I am simply taking a moment to record my experience. I do not yet know what the future will hold…I don’t know if this man is the one that my blessing talks about but right now I do know this.

1) The Lord’s ways are not mine.
2) I am absolutely dependent on His wisdom and knowledge.
3) I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was not led to this place by accident.
4) All things will work out in the end.
5) Peace comes from one place and one place only. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last few years you can’t fake peace and life without it is absolutely, freakin’ miserable.

Today I am at peace. Today I am happy in a way I’ve never been happy before. Today I marvel that I’m being blessed with this experience and somehow the years of painful waiting don’t seem so painful right now. Today I want to know how this will all turn out but all I really know today is that it’s okay. I have the Lord’s blessing to make this decision, he’s put a good man into my life and for some unknown reason He trusts me to decide what’s best. The Lord knows me, He knows how painful my wait has been and He knows how little I have left to give this part of my life in the faith department.

I may not have all the answers friends but I do know this:

I am not alone.

I have never been alone.

I am being blessed right now and I’m going to run with it.


Anonymous said...

My thoughts: I have been single, married to a member, married to an inactive member, divorced. Of all the statuses I have had being married to an inactive member was the worst. Perhaps it was because he had once been active and now was not. Or maybe all "mixed" marriages are like that. But looking at the person I loved and wanted to spend eternity with and knowing that he didn't have the same goals was agonizing. Other things led to the divorce and I am now grateful for the way things turned out. For me, I will never marry outside of the church. It is much too painful. Marriage is challenging enough already. Just my thoughts on what works for me.

Michelle N Lurvey said...

Thanks for your post, it made me ponder also on my blessing, and seeing what it really says. All my life I have seemed to attract the "nonmember" and never dated a member more than a few dates. I really apprectiated the 4 bullet points that the Apostle put on the man, and being on the right track.
Heavenly Father knows best and just trust in Him.

Dan said...

I was at that meeting! I think his counsel has been spot on. For years, I haven't had a sister give me the time of day, but have had connections with several non member women that I've turned down. Next time it comes up, I'm going for it!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post. It's really an answer to my prayers. I am much like the woman who asked the question. I have met a non member who is everything I've ever wanted...he's got a kind heart, belief in Christ and Heavenly Father, prays with me, is sweet to my family, respects my values, etc. I love him and see a future with him but today I read my blessing and especially the part where it says that at a time the lord chooses I will be married in the temple. All the times I'd read this before I assumed it would be as soon as I got married but today I really felt it could be in the future when this good man is ready. Why not have faith that a good man like he is will recognize the gospel and embrace the temple?

Unknown said...

Great post. I think you hit the nail on the head with the 'f' words; fear and faith (lack of).

Make no mistake these are the tools of the dark one to keep us from experiencing joy. Fears dog the best of us; fear of rejection resulting in lack of faith and then just giving up. When we give up in one area of our lives, it propogates everywhere. right?

The points you make don't only address the non-member issue, but as a convert I can really relate to this.

We have to establish faith in ourselves and faith that the Lord is still there for us to be able to conquer the fears of dating a non-member. But, if we are honest with ourselves, there are as many "risks" with members as non-members (more???).

As a side note, one big issue that hits guys is the issue of moving .. and maybe this is just an East Coast issue .. but things are definitely "slower" out here in the singles world on the east coast that back in Nv, Ut, Az, Ca.

But we all have our own fears.

Thanx for your thoughts. It is appreciated.