I have always loved going to church. Somehow, as a youth, it brought normalcy to my crazy life! We moved many times when I was young and for about five years (5th to 9th grade) I would begin school in one place and finish school in another. (Except for 8th grade when I lived in four places.)
Regardless of where I was, the church was always the same and that made me feel normal. Our family (mom, three siblings and I) moved to Orem, Utah on New Year’s Day of my freshman year (for me, ninth grade began in junior high and ended in high school) and we lived in the same house for the next three years!
My high school life was normal until it came to an abrupt change in twelfth grade when learning that I was pregnant. Shortly after that our family moved to a different place in Orem. I stopped attending school when starting to show (more than just looking fat) and for a time was sent to another city to live with strangers and do an adoption, but at 32 weeks pregnant I called my mom to come and get me and take me home. Upon returning home I felt very resolved about being a mom.
Unfortunately, the ladies in my neighborhood shunned me when I had my baby; they wouldn’t attend my baby shower and said, “it’s not right” and I could feel the daggers in their eyes when looking at me in church. I didn’t fit in with other young adults because I had a child and I didn’t fit in with older ladies because most of them were married and I wasn’t, so I stopped attending church (although I loved the gospel and all things spiritual) because of disapproval and because there was no place for me-a young, single mother.
During my transition from child to adult (17 to 24) I didn’t attend church. The memory is vividly in my mind of me sitting on my living room couch in Kansas in 1993 (I was married, my oldest child was seven and I was pregnant with my youngest child) when this powerful impression came to my heart: “Go back to church.” I went back to church that Sunday-seven years after being away; in a new state; as an older me; and the ward members were very welcoming.
Looking back, I’m thankful to have lived in a new place for 25 years where my husband, sons and I could just be our normal selves. I’m truly grateful for the impression of returning to church and that I followed it because it rekindled the testimony of Jesus Christ that was always in my heart.
The Lord is keenly aware of the world but He focuses on each individual. He cares about every one of us (young or old) and helps us in ways we don’t even know. We are the heart of His work because,
- ”The worth of souls is great in the sight of God.”
The blessing of Jesus Christ is that He is in my life. Everything in life happens for a reason, there are no accidents.