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.