17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.
 

Saturday, March 11, 2006

A Shout Out to Single Sistas in the Church......

Especially those raising kids in the Gospel without the support of an active member husband.

I was almost one of these women.

DH and I met at work. I was saving money fast and furiously for grad school and he had moved to Portland after college for his first sportswriting job. Our desks were ten feet apart but we did not say a single word to one another for over a year. I was weary and distrustful of sportswriters, who have a reputation as being womanizing alcoholics, and DH had a general fear of women. And a long-term girlfriend in the Bay area.

Fate, by way of a shared work project, intervened. We spoke. We fell in love. He was everything I had ever wanted....except for the religion part. By Fall 2000, we had already been dating for a few months. He was covering a college football game in Salt Lake and I decided to come along for the weekend. We had discussed religion now and then. He had a positive view of the church and its members, but did not show any interest in going to Sunday meetings with me. I pinned all of my hopes and dreams of his conversion on this trip. Surely, the peace and serenity of Temple Square, the majesty of the Salt Lake Temple, the wonderful spirit in the Visitor's Center, would capture his heart and mind....and he would immediately ask for the discussions, be baptised, and we would be sealed in the temple and live forever after in eternal bliss....

That weekend, he seemed genuinely impressed with the church sites and I saw tears in his eyes when we watched "The Testament," the movie de jour in Temple Square. On Sunday, after listening to the Choir rehearse in the Tabernacle, we walked around the Temple grounds and I bore my well-rehearsed testimony to him. I ended by telling him how important it was for me to be sealed in the temple and for my children to grow up with a father who righteously upheld the priesthood. Then I asked him if he had any interest in investigating the church...

His reply, "No... I'm sorry Jen...not really."

I came home from that trip feeling discouraged. I prayerfully made some hard choices. Choices that many viewed as compromises to my faith and eternal goals. I decided that I wanted to continue to date him, and eventually marry him. Even if it meant a civil, rather than an eternal marriage. Even if it meant taking our children to church by myself every Sunday. Sometimes images would pop into my head: Of me sitting in church alone, surrounded by happily sealed couples. Or struggling with young children during Sacrament Meeting by myself. But mostly, I felt divinely inspired that, with some time and careful study, he would be baptised and stay faithful. I just had no idea of the timetable that these events would occur.

God is merciful. DH was baptised a few weeks before our wedding, almost one year after our trip to Salt Lake. We were sealed in the Boston Temple a year-and-a-half later, with our six-week-old son. He was called to the bishopric a year following our sealing.

I don't know why I was spared this trial of faith. I know that many people wait their entire lives for their spouse to join the church. I feel incredibly blessed, yet my lack of faith and wavering testimony over the last couple of years tells me that I also take this blessing extremely for granted.

Flash forward to January 2006: In anticipation of our move out of New York, I lived as a single mom for a couple of months while my husband worked in Washington, DC. Two words sum up these two months: Survival and Exhaustion.

I'm not very comfortable in survival mode and I try to stay on top of my life so that I don't feel that I am "just trying to make it to the end of the day." Ladies, I had one goal for those two months....Survive until March. My responsibilities during this time were limited to taking care of my two toddler-aged monkeys and keeping the house in order. Big responsibilities, I understand, but I did not have to worry about a job outside the home, child care, and the hundreds of other concerns that single moms deal with every day.

Sundays were hard. I have to admit that I missed a few church meetings over those two months. Things that could usually be overcome with some help from my DH (ie) child tantrums and transportation issues ... seemed unmanagable to me alone, so we stayed home. When I did make it to church with the monkeys, I spent the majority of the meeting block in the hallway chasing after one or both of them. I know that everyone with small kids has this experience, but doing it by myself was lonely and isolating.

My heart ached for all women raising children alone in the Gospel FOR REAL as I struggled with my own temporary situation. So many are doing such truly amazing jobs, raising great kids who will grow up to be strong members of the church, and overall wonderful people.

We have since moved out of New York. I was looking through our new ward directory the other day and I couldn't help to notice two things: (1) How BIG our new ward was compared to our quaint little Astoria group. (2) How many single member moms lived within our ward boundaries. They are just names to me right now, but I promised myself that I would make an effort to get to know some of them and find ways to lighten their burden.

7 Comments:

  • I have nothing but respect, seriously, for single mums, those who are literally single and those who are single in Church because of non member or inactive husbands. They are amazingly strong and dedicated and will be blessed immeasureably. They should be.
    posted by Blogger Mary Siever at 3/11/2006 05:13:00 PM  



  • My Aunt married her wonderful DH in the Temple 25 years ago this year. He has been inactive for 23 of those years. And there's no "coming back" in sight.

    She had to take her 3 kids to church for years alone --occasionally he will come to support the family when they speak in church or in different activities. They've had a son serve a mission, and soon their daughter will be marrying in the Temple. I don't know how she's done it all these years, but I have to say she is very lucky that he's not hostile towards the Church, nor does he stop his family from doing what they will with it. Not everyone's as blessed as she.

    Thanks for feeling for them. And I know those women you want to reach out to will greatly appreciate all you do for them...
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 3/11/2006 05:42:00 PM  



  • Thank your for you post. I am one such mother. My husband is a hard headed atheist! It has been my prayer for years that God will enter his heart. I have the faith to know it will happen, but the hard part is waiting for God's timing not mine. I have two young children and the three of us attend church regularly. I somtimes worry if I have a strong enough faith to teach my children. But these are struggles that are a part of my life. Challanges are what makes life interesting. :)
    posted by Blogger Darby at 3/12/2006 06:45:00 AM  



  • My husband was inactive for roughly 7 years, when our kids were small. It was very difficult, but it seemed like every time I was chasing kids in the foyer rather than sitting in sacrament meeting, and ready to just give up and take them home, someone would say something encouraging to me. Something like, "You're such a great mom." And that kept me going.

    Just a little compliment like that made a world of difference for me.

    Also, my testimony grew in ways it never would have if I hadn't been forced to do it on my own.
    posted by Anonymous Susan M at 3/12/2006 09:16:00 AM  



  • I am about to become one of those "single" moms... Dh and I have been married for 10 years this year. He has been in law enforcement for 5 years and has decided it is time to pursue his dream job as an FBI agent. He leaves in Mid April or beginning of May for training in Quantico, VA for 18 weeks. We have 4 children, ages 8, 6, 3 1/2, and 10 weeks. I am not quite sure how I am going to make it through that 4 1/2 months. I am dreading it already! Then, at the end of the training, we will be moving ANYWHERE in the US for our first assignment. Away from my dear, dear friends and to a new area and new life... this is going to be quite the challenge! It's going to take a lot of "survival" mode tactics, support from family and friends, and unwavering patience. Wish me luck!
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 3/12/2006 07:10:00 PM  



  • Hey lady that I named my cat after... come live with me, we will do it together, and you will be only a few hours away from DH.
    posted by Blogger Zinone at 3/12/2006 09:44:00 PM  



  • I feel "single" when it comes to the gospel in our home. I read scriptures with the kids M-F, and I plan and execute FHE every Monday evening. DH recently committed to trying to be home by 5:30 on Mondays, but so far it hasn't happened yet. I know I can never plan for FHE on any other night b/c lately he doesn't get home until after lights out for the girls. I also feel that attending the temple has always been my responsibility, and that is frustrating too. At least now if I say I want to go he says ok, when...instead of years ago: No.

    DH is such an amazing father and husband and Priesthood Holder. He serves a TON in his calling, and gets really burned out. He is great about Family Prayer. So this isn't a criticism on him it's basically just my circumstances. Ok. I guess I better go clean up all the crayons D2 flung off her high chair tray while we attempted to make letters for one of our ward missionaries for FHE...
    posted by Blogger Kage at 3/13/2006 03:59:00 PM  



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