I wrote this in response to leaders’ suggestion that our Young Single Adult congregation include the now-iconic “women’s pull” as part of our pioneer trek re-enactment…“to help the sisters see how strong they are and remind them that the Lord will be with them through hard times in their lives.”
I am surrounded by highly capable women. Many of us have been on our own for almost a decade. Almost all of us have completed our education, many with advanced degrees. We have demanding, promising careers and many exciting possibilities open to us. Most, if not all, of us are quite sure we could comfortably provide for ourselves for the rest of our lives. The trouble is, I don’t want to. I feel torn. More than anything else, I want to be a wife and a mother. I want to be sealed to an eternal companion and experience the challenges and blessings that come with it. I have a testimony that those relationships are the source of the greatest joy—and potentially the greatest pain—in time and eternity. I yearn to be loved and to have someone to love and serve. I am not afraid of it. There is no part of me that doesn’t want it.
The Lord has assured me time and time again that he knows me and has a plan for my life. He loves me dearly—I feel that every day and know that his plan will be the best course for me, will bring me the most joy and growth in my life. I know I am not alone.
At the same time, I am painfully aware that there are simply not enough righteous men to go around. I know that many of the wonderful sisters I associate with will not have the opportunity to marry. That I may not. This is a hard reality. But there’s no use hiding from it, pretending I don’t know. The challenge for me is finding the balance between developing my own strengths and talents as an independent woman, embracing and finding the joy I know God will provide in the single life, and striving for, hoping for, preparing for life in a family. Sometimes I feel like pursuing “worldly” goals like professional achievement and community involvement is a lack of faith—that I could perhaps be telling Heavenly Father that I’d rather have that path. Sometimes I feel like throwing everything I am into searching for and preparing to marry an eternal companion would break my heart—like it’s just setting myself up for a disappointment I can’t handle.
What I am striving for is to somehow find the strength and grace to keep and nurture that most tender part of my heart—the part that desperately wants to be a wife and a mother—to keep it open and soft, protect it from getting hard or closed off by all the disappointments of dating, or not dating…while still pursuing worthy goals, developing myself as a person and as a “positive, contributing member of society”—finding joy in whatever role I’m in, making the most of it and loving it. It’s a very difficult balance for me.
It’s easy to be the strong one—to pull the handcart alone so to speak—not to need anyone but me and the Lord. If that’s all I had to do, I think I could face it without so much as flinching. The women around me are strong, capable and good. We know the Lord, we love him and trust him. We have learned to be strong—we’ve had to. And some of us, through years of hurt and disappointment have learned to be hard, that it’s easier to close off that tender place inside and learn to get by on our own. The hard part for me is not being strong—it’s being soft, staying open to love through all the hurt and frustration along the way.
We did the women’s pull. But my Bishop’s wife read this to everyone beforehand.