It was a long and incredibly lonely time before I would even be considered for a date, mostly because guys couldn’t get past my appearance. And that was really hard, just barely moving to Utah against my will (but following God’s), being in a new place, not knowing what I was supposed to do there and feeling absolutely and completely alone. (No, not just because of the lack of boys, but in general and in every way you could probably think of).
Guys my age were looking for temple-worthy girls; however, I didn’t exactly look temple worthy, and they didn’t even speak to me. After my move across the country, it was the first time that it ever occurred to me that, appearance aside, my life before the church could stop guys from wanting to not only date me but to even be friends with me. I would notice the kind of girls that were getting asked out, and I began to be afraid that because I didn’t look “perfect,” grow up in a strong gospel-centered family, or know how to cook or make my own skirts, I was forever going to be overlooked.
I learned a lesson shortly after baptism — when I felt the weight of the world come flooding into my life: I learned that if I continued to put God first, everything else would fall into place.
I decided to stay focused on what really mattered to me, hoping that if I did, things would eventually work out how they ought to. If I stayed close to God, God would bless me. So I worried about me and the relationship I did have — with God. Things started to unfold in ways I never would have imagined. I started blogging and making YouTube videos and started to travel all over the West giving devotionals, meeting hundreds of incredible people a day. I learned lessons I couldn’t imagine living life without. I grew beyond what I thought I could in such a short time. I decided to get endowed, and a week after I did, I became an ordinance worker in the Provo Temple.
Because I was speaking so often while working full time, I gave up my only date nights (Saturdays) to serve God in his house. I would sit in the celestial room during my shift and see girls younger than me, married, nestled with their husbands and couldn’t help but be reminded that that wasn’t me and probably wouldn't be for a long while.
When I first got baptized and started to think about my husband, I had those generic answers of, I wanted someone tall and could make me laugh. But really, that’s not what was truly most important to me. There were plenty of tall, funny people, but what I wanted most of all was a spiritual attraction. There were things that I needed in a spouse, spiritually, that could not be overlooked. Someone whose most important relationship they had was not with me but with God. I needed someone equal, if not stronger than me, that could strengthen and help me on my weak days. I needed someone who could fully accept me, could accept my goals and independence. Someone who could completely accept where I came from and help me get to where I wanted to go in life with the gospel.
The more time that passed, the more I became disheartened. Was I expecting too much in a future companion? Am I being too picky? Did who I need and want even exist? If not, what part was I willing to compromise? Would someone fully accept who I was and accept who I used to be, accept the things I can’t do and embrace the things I can?
I always thought I was expecting too much in someone and that I'd eventually have to settle with some qualities. Then many years later, this guy popped up out of nowhere it seemed! (And I honestly believe he came as a blessing because of my efforts with the Lord). And we clicked just right. Because of him and his testimony and those qualities that were important to me, we find we work better as a team then we ever did on our own, and hard things in life are easier.
I'm grateful I was patient enough to wait to meet him. I'd hate to think what life would be like if I wasn't. I hate to think of life without our experiences and laughs and lessons and our baby, Gracie. I hate to think what I would have missed if I didn't trust God. Truth is, I'm not sure what kind of wife I'd be without the qualities and lessons and talents I developed while I was single and waiting because I am such a better person because of them.
I saw a question online once that asked, “What’s the one thing that brings you the most joy?” And I thought, "Easy, my husband." Then, "Wait, no, God. Wait." And as I was thinking much deeper than I think was intended, I realized how perfectly Heavenly Father has blessed me with Ben and uses him every day, a million times a day, to help and bless me and answer my prayers. I'm grateful for God and his ways and his all-knowing eye and guidance in my life. I'm nothing without God. And I'm incredibly grateful for my husband, his strengths, passion, humor and patience in my life. But I'm mostly grateful for his love and joy that he also has on his own for God to truly make what we have incredible.
You will be blessed with a companion who will help you in the ways you need, even if sometimes you feel like they don't exist or that you're asking for too much or you're too picky. Don't let passing time allow doubts and settling to take over. Don't lose patience and miss out on what he has in store for you. Don't hold yourself back from learning and growing and experiencing other things. Just hold on, and don't lose confidence. Heavenly Father knows what’s important to us and what we need.
Those who are single, don’t waste your thoughts comparing yourself and defining yourself by what you aren’t and what others are. Don’t allow yourself to wonder if there's something wrong with you. Heavenly Father did not shortchange or screw up on you. Don't stress. You just worry about you and worry about God because the thing about Heavenly Father is that if we are trying and are patient, we will never be shortchanged from the best blessings he has to offer.
Yeah, sure our future can be uncertain at times, but how exciting that is! How exciting it is to know it's guided by God!
Happiness and unhappiness exists in the same exact place at the same time through different people. It's true, life is what you make it. Or it could be what we allow God to make of it for us. What will you choose? Choose happiness. And to choose happiness is to choose God. Choose to keep going. Choose to trust. Choose to have faith. To keep your hope. And choose to receive the unexpected but profoundly greater path with the best blessings. I promise, you'll be all right.
This blog post originally appeared on In the Head of Al. It has been shared here with the author's permission.