I'm Kristy Jo.
I'm a Mormon who lives in Utah.
I'm 29 (and 2 months 2 days--that's almost 30!).
And I'm Single.
As if it's unusual to be 29 and not married anywhere outside of Utah. . .
...yet in the culture of "Utah Mormons," I'm actually older than the average marriage age. (Remember, Mormons is a nickname--the real name of our church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints).
While this "age thing" may not seem a big deal to many, to me it was. And that's what mattered. The culture around me--by default--contributed my own interpretation of "failure" which resulted in spending the majority of my twenties in feelings of frustration, sadness, and disappointment that I wasn't going through life as it seemed the average girl was. Every other weekend I got a wedding invitation from someone. Every other weekend I watched as the "I'm engaged!" Facebook posts popped up over, and over, and over on my Newsfeed. I watched in jealousy as girls nearly a full decade younger than me had a ring on their finger.
From the age of 22-27 I wondered what was wrong with me.
I wondered if maybe I just wasn't "good enough" to find someone who I adored and respected who would drop to one knee and beg me to be his. Surely, I just wasn't deserving like every other girl or so I thought.
While I dated some incredible guys throughout my twenties, none of them worked out for one reason or another.
It didn't help that every time I saw a person I hadn't seen in awhile they would ask, soooo... are you dating anyone? or, How on earth are you single? The list of compliments about all of these great things about me would go on and on, as if having an exhaustive "personal resume" were pre-requisite to finding a spouse.
If only it worked like that.
Pessimism and self-pity accompanied me as companions during these years. I was painfully aware I kept advancing past the age my younger self vowed I would never see as a single person. So much for setting goals, haha.
Every time I got together with family and saw what I did not yet have--a loving, committed relationship with the promise of children--my heart squeezed in pain.
Sadly, there were many times I didn't want to be around my family because it heightened my awareness I worked so hard to suppress.I did not have what I yearned for most, and what I knew the overall mission of my life should be--being a wife and a mother. Though my pain was all self-imposed and my family never once made me feel that I didn't belong, my own adopted feelings were tough to shake.
For a while, I sadly admit I even cast resentment at the "conditioning" I had received within the teachings of the Church, which I felt had led me to base my worth on my relationship, or the lack thereof. These were challenging years, and I'm grateful I had loving family and friends to help me crawl past the low-hanging clouds that encompassed me. I tried to find value through other things in life, but time quickly told me this would not bring me happiness at all.
You see, the only way to happiness--true happiness--is the Lord's way. But that took some learning to grow past my inner restrictions to happiness.
In time, I began to grow past my resentment and began embracing the fact that I was single. I learned to harness my personal power to create a springboard for my life.
I began to embrace the fact that I was SINGLE, and that was okay! This relationship status no longer defined my worth, my value, or my contribution to the world!
I could be the best auntie I could be!
I could find joy and motherhood through nurturing others in every way I could!
I turned my desire for my own creation of a family into my own contribution to others' lives through my passions.
While I am grateful for what I've learned and realized, I know of far too many other women who also have felt things similar to what I have experienced.
This post is actually for them, not for me.
Though I feel the majority of these feelings are self-imposed, they also make us hyper-sensitive to even the smallest fragment that another might say. Their inquisitions into our relationship status, or what we are doing "wrong" in our approach to dating, can often harshly scrape an already-exposed and bleeding wound.
And this is where we each must each be very careful.
Being single is a temporary state. This does not make you (or I) an outsider because we "don't fit the mold."
This state does not define our worth, our contribution, or our ability to be loved or give love.
Our value is bigger than the fact that we don't yet have that special someone to call us their own.
This feeling of isolation--from feeling that the Church is not the place for us because we "don't fit the mold"-- is exactly what the adversary, the enemy to God's plan of Happiness, would have us feel.
On the contrary, God wouldn't have us feel this way . . .
God would have us feel His all-encompassing love.
God would have us feel we are of incredible, eternal value.
We don't have to fit a perceived "mold" at all--God doesn't expect that from us! He expects us to be our best, to turn to Him, and to ask for His help in all things we experience in this life.
There is no such thing as needing to "fit a mold,' don't you see?
Every woman CAN be a part of this Church, participate fully in the gospel, and be of absolute value whether single, divorced, widowed, married, with children, or without children! We are ALL daughters of our Heavenly Father. He loves us! And we love Him!
The fact that many of our hearts long for more is counted in heaven, surely, but we get to use our God-given agency to choose for ourselves the attitude we will carry.
We get to create our lives!
We get to choose to live as the Lord would have us, using us as a tool for goodness!
We get to prepare ourselves for His light, invite it, and do our best to share that with others.
If this resonates with you at all, I invite you to join me as I speak at an all-new event for women in August: "So You Don't Fit The Mold!"
On August 13, 2016 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., we will be sharing messages of confidence, enthusiasm, hope, and faith that will empower women to rise above their self-imposed limitations to step into more light.
I'm even more excited to be speaking specifically on my personal passion--the body.
My break-out session will be: "5 Sustainable Strategies to #PowerYourBody the Lord's Way." In this class, I will teach women to power through plateaus and eliminate excuses the Lord's way.
My goal is to help each person in attendance learn to care for her body with a fresh point of view using strategic tools that will help her take baby steps into greater peace and confidence with her body--wherever she is currently at!
This event is for faith-driven women of all walks of life, and my goal for all those who attend my break-out sessions is that you will leave INSPIRED, ENCOURAGED, and CONFIDENT in who you are!
EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION ENDS JUNE 30. Grab your tickets now and share this event with every woman in your life. She needs to join us and find that empowerment from within to remember--THERE IS NO MOLD.
We each get to create our lives in the Lord's way--a way that brings light, goodness, and love to this world.
That will look different for each of us.
None of us are outsiders.
We are ALL "good enough."
As long as we keep the Lord at the center of our life, we can be assured we are on the path to doing with our lives as He would have us do.
Tag me in the Facebook group if you are coming, and please SHARE this event on your Facebook timeline so we can get every woman who needs this major PUMP-UP there!
See you there!