One of the wonderful benefits of being part of a ward (congregation) in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormon Church”) is that you have “family” even when your real family may be far away. Such was the case when I became a widow at the age of 27. My three children were 4 months, 2 years, and 4 years old.
Not long after my husband’s death, I determined to move to another city. While kneeling in prayer one morning, I had the distinct impression—like a voice in my head—which simply said, “Stay here.” I was startled by that admonishment, because it was not a choice that I wanted to consider. But, oh how many times in the ensuing years I reaped the blessings of listening to that prompting to stay!
My foremost desire for my children, as well as for myself, was to be involved with other families in the ward. We were a family unit and felt very much a part of the ward family as we attended all calendared events. At the time I had no desire to find my own fulfillment in activities for singles. I was puzzled at the attitude of a widow a bit older than I who one day said to me, “I’ve never been invited to any event.” I could have replied, “Nor have I. I just went.” It is a credit to my ward that I never perceived myself as an outsider. (more…)