That We Might Have Joy: Natalie's Story

Shantelle reached out to me a long time ago, asking if I would be willing to share my story. I am a teacher, a coach, and in grad school, so that was my excuse for not doing it at the time. I think the real reason: it wasn't time. 

Long story short:  I am 29 years old, single, never married, with zero kids.  (For the LONG story, you can go HERE)

And most important: my life never has, and probably never will, work out the way I envision or plan it. Ever.

Now being single and not having kids, is not for not wanting those things or not trying.  They are by far the deepest desires of my heart.  And there is always a part of me that feels incomplete or unfulfilled. There’s a piece of me that is missing.  So here is how I find joy in the journey while feeling like a partial version of myself.

My prescription seems simple, but can be difficult to maintain.

1.       Trust Heavenly Father completely.
2.       Forget myself and serve others.
3.       Count my blessings.

1.       Trust Heavenly Father completely.
   This has taken me over 25 years to master.  Through countless priesthood blessings I have received, and many tender mercies I’ve recognized, I have finally figured out that Heavenly Father is aware of me.  That He knows me, loves me, has high expectations for me, and that He has a plan for me.  As I have grown in my relationship with Him, I have finally been able to give Him my trust.  I am no longer worried if everything will work out or not.  I know it will.  After countless things not working out the way I want them, I have learned that He knows what really is best for me and I trust that.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am going to receive all the things I have been promised, as I continue to be obedient and do my best at holding up my end of the deal.  Life has gotten so much happier since FINALLY learning and accepting that.  I highly recommend it to anyone.  And will gladly share the process if anyone is unsure how to get there.
2.       Forget myself or use myself to serve others.
   This is always the norm response when it comes to feeling happier and finding joy.  I am pretty busy and cannot physically serve a lot of people.  But I have been able to find joy in the journey as I recognize that the things I am learning along the way are for the benefit and learning of those with whom I come in contact.  I love listening to others about their hardships.  And I love sharing the lessons I’ve learned with them.  No, it doesn’t always solve their problem…But it helps so much when you know there is someone there who can empathize, understand, or just let you be you with whatever you are struggling with.  And I pride myself in having a judge-free zone, ALWAYS.  Again, it makes life so much happier when other people can feel like themselves with you.  And it makes it easier for you to feel like you can be yourself around others. 
3.       Count my blessings.
   This one is pretty self-explanatory.  I do want to share some of my blessings that I’ve counted over the past few years:
    I have been able to travel and take part in the lives of my nieces and nephews.
    I have been able to explore the world and see things others may never get an opportunity to see.
    If someone ever needs anything, I can always drop what I am doing to serve them.
    I have a career.
    I’ve been able to work on a Master's Degree without too many interruptions.
    I’ve been able to decide what I want to do with my life and work toward those goals.
    I have been able to draw closer to most of my family members.
    I have drawn so much closer to Heavenly Father
    I have become more aware of my mental health.
    I have learned how to travel the uneasy waters of emotional and mental health.
    I have been able to serve so many people
    I have served a mission.
    I have met people who have impacted my life for the better.
    I am able to sit and take in all of General Conference.
    I have grown in my faith.
    I am financially independent.
    I can handle all medical issues and insurance questions.
    I can be an adult and do it successfully.
    I have formed opinions and views that are mine. 
    I have been filing away stories and learning opportunities for future Little Natalies that may grace the world with their presence.
    I have become happy and proud with who I am as a person and am at peace with the choices I make. 

[Side Bar: Please, please as a single woman, I urge anyone that knows singles to stop treating them as a sub citizen in society.  We are human beings, there is nothing wrong with us, and we really are trying.  We know you mean well, but our marital status does not define us.  Who we are as people and what we accomplish in our daily lives does. We are aware of our status and we are doing the best we know how.]

I am still single.  I am still childless.  I still feel like a part of me is incomplete. This is not one of those posts where the time and patience I’ve put into this journey has brought a fruitful “happy ending.”  There are still days where I hurt and ache so badly that I feel like I’m going to break into pieces again.  There are still days where joy is hard to grasp and I feel myself falling into the bottomless pit of pain and hopelessness.  But I survive.  I find joy in the journey and grasp as tightly as I can to the truth that Heavenly Father loves me and His plan will work out in the end. 

Because I am a daughter of Heavenly Father and that makes me pretty great. 

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