This topic has been on my mind a lot lately, more than it usually is. When I was growing up I had this whole plan for what my life would be. I would graduate high school, go to college, get married at 19 or 20, teach elementary school for a couple of years and then be a mom. It was pretty simple really. It just seemed like that was the natural order of things and it also felt like that was what was expected of me.
Well, life has not gone at all as planned. In fact, if you would have told me when I was 16 that I would be 29 and single I would have called you crazy. But being where I am now and looking back at the past ten years of my life, I realize that I am exactly where I am meant to be.
If I would have gotten married at 19 I would have been a horrible wife. I am not saying that all girls that get married at 19 make horrible wives. I just know myself. I know who I was at 19. I wasn’t ready to be married. I was still figuring out me. I had a friend who once told me that being in your twenties are the hardest years. I would agree. My twenties have been hard. There has been a lot of heart ache, trials and disappointments. But I would also have to say that my twenties have also been amazing years full of adventure, learning, laughing and great relationships with family and friends.
I have been able to do a lot of amazing things that I might not have done if I had gotten married at 19: I lived in Hawaii, I graduated college, I backpacked through the Alaskan wilderness, I worked as an athletic director at a summer camp, I coached high school basketball for several years, I have been able to go on a lot of fun trips and meet a lot of incredible people. I have been able to learn a lot about who I am and what I want out of life. I am a work in progress.
The greatest lesson I have learned so far in life is how to love unconditionally. I have recently learned that before I can truly love others I must first love myself. It was during my twenties that I discovered that I wasn’t perfect and that I make mistakes and that I am not always right. The greatest lesson I have learned is that despite all of these things, I am still worthy of love and kindness. I accept who I am. My mistakes have been my greatest teachers and my heart has been softened. I forgive myself of my imperfections and I am beginning to realize my worth. I am worthy of love.
This weekend I attended stake conference (a gathering of young single adults in my church) where we were addressed by our church leaders. The main topic of every talk was about marriage. Our leaders are concerned that us young people are not getting married. They talked how amazing married life is. One woman that spoke talked about how you really do not know what love is until you have children. She said there were no words to describe what it is like to love your own children. The men were told to have faith and make getting married their highest priority. Women were told to not be so hard on the guys and to really give them a chance.
Overall, I thought the meeting was powerful. Many walked away feeling annoyed that everything was about marriage. I walked away with a greater desire for the married life. Our world is getting crazier each day and the family is falling apart. I know that because I have learned to love myself I have a greater capacity to love. I want a family to share that love with. I want a husband and I want children. I want a family that will play together, work together and pray together. I want to have children that I can hold and love and tell them each day how important they are.
After years of being single my heart is brimming over with love for a future family I hope to create. I believe in marriage. I believe amazing things can happen when a good man and a good woman decide to build a family together. I know it is hard. I know it is difficult to raise kids in a world that is full of bad things. But I know the difference between the good and the bad. I choose the good. I choose to raise children and teach them about goodness and kindness and love. I choose to find a husband that inspires me to be better than I am and that will teach me that I have even more love to offer than I ever thought possible.
I am ready.