Family Ward

So this post is mainly for my LDS friends but as a blogger named smilingLDSgirl I think I have that prerogative.   I have an admission to make- I walked out of church on Sunday in a huff.  Was it immature?  Yes.  Was it unprovoked? I don’t think so.

Before I explain myself let me say that everyone has been very friendly in my family ward, especially the primary presidency who has gone above and beyond to make me feel comfortable.

Where the main problem is I spent 14 years of my church life in a homogeneous environment where I was carefully nurtured and cared for.  Then in January I was told to radically change that environment, change my routine, my Sunday experience, my peer group, activities, everything.  It’s a tough thing on a person like me to be forced away from that environment to something that at times feels familiar and other times completely foreign.  The adjustment to the family ward has been harder than I thought it would be from the singles ward.

Here’s what made me mad yesterday:

Well, first I was admittedly a little vulnerable not going home for Thanksgiving, feeling a little lonely.  I went to church hoping for nourishment and to be cared for like I was in the singles ward (especially my last one. Not all my singles wards were so great.  Remember Testimingo?). I had also worked really hard on my lesson preparing a treat, a visual aid and game.

Sacrament meeting was good, a couple spoke and a high counselor (we always have a couple speak and either a youth speaker or high counselor. I have not been asked to speak).  So I had brought a bag full of stuff for the lesson including my laptop that I hauled around and headed to my classroom but to my surprise I saw the young women there.  They looked at me with surprise and said in cheerful voices that they were teaching.  Normally I would have been fine with them teaching, even grateful, but since I had put in the work, I felt a little snubbed. Okay maybe a lot snubbed.

I at least figured there must be a pretty important reason to pull us out of class unannounced, the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  Unfortunately when I got to the combined meeting it was all on the Duty to God program and helping the young men.  All I could think was really? Did I really need to hear this? And was it so important to cancel my lesson?  How the heck am I suppose to apply this to my life? I don’t get it.

I only know 2 young men in the ward and they aren’t exactly looking to me for advice.  Nobody else even knows who I am.  I’m sorry but I felt doubly snubbed.  Like I’d been stood up for a date twice, maybe three times in one day.  It made me really mad because it was like people just assume everyone has a family, or they give some token line that is supposed to include everyone but just makes you feel more ostracized.

I don’t expect everything to be about me but why couldn’t that meeting have been for just the parents of boys or teens?  Why make everyone sit through it, replacing their lessons and making them feel like they don’t belong.  The ward is supposed to be my family while my family is away and aside from the best home teacher in Draper I’m left feeling ignored and frustrated.

Between both slights and a year of other frustrations I grabbed my mammoth backpack and left. I was definitely not in the mood for anyone to see me cry and I didn’t want to say anything I’d regret because I was angry.  Like I said, I’m sure it was immature but that’s what I did.  A friend did call to apologize about the class mixup, which I’m grateful for but the reason why it all happened still bugged me but that wasn’ t her fault, it’s just the family blinders we can have.

You know what would have been nice the Sunday before thanksgiving- how about some talks or a lesson on gratitude! Is that too much to expect? Instead I get 2 reminders of how I don’t fit in and truly SINGLE I am.  I get it.  I don’t need to be reminded!

In truth if I could pick I would go back to my old singles ward in a heartbeat and I am definitely going to make going to activities a priority from now on.  I could go to a midsingles ward but it is far away and huge (700+ people).  I think I’d feel more lonely there than in the family ward. Sigh…

Sometimes I envy my  single friends who go to other churches because their marital status is a non-issue.  It is not a requirement for exaltation to get married and family isn’t the building block of their faith.  Oh how I envy that!  But I know the Book of Mormon is true like I know I can breath each day.  It is my breath and gets me through any struggle. You can bet I was reading it and praying on Sunday! (I didn’t say I was perfect…).

My experience with attending church has no impact on my testimony of the doctrine’s truthfulness.  That may be hard for some to understand but it is true.  The thing that scares me is I’m moving into a new ward next month and its going to be my home for a long time.  I have to make it work, but to be honest I’m at a loss at what I could do to be more immersed in the ward environment?  I really am?  I have 3 callings, 2 that keep me the most busy, I do my visiting teaching, I never miss a meeting.

I am isolated away in primary which keeps me from meeting other adults, almost all the activities revolve around the youth and I miss Relief Society and Sunday School (I do get to go to SS when I teach. I love my co-teacher!).   Still, if I wasn’t super extroverted, like I am, nobody would know I exist.  It’s like you have to be high maintenance to get any love. I didn’t even get any visitors after I had my surgery from the ward.

I just don’t know what to do?  Lately I’ve been feeling spiritually stymied.  My testimony has not changed but it hasn’t grown either.  It’s just stayed at about an 8 and I need a 10, but how can I do that alone? I’m pretty comfortable being alone.  Goodness knows I live alone by choice but it still hurts to be ignored, isolated and forgotten, I don’t care how strong you are.  I know God does not forget  but we all need the ward family as well.  I need the nourishment of others and their feelings of the scriptures.  I need discussions with people, not just online, but real life.

I’ve tried to start up an institute class but it hasn’t gone anywhere.  There are 30+ classes but they are all far away and I just always seem to have something else going on.

I guess I’m just holding out hope that with my tenants to group with in the next ward maybe things will go better.  Have any of you ever not accepted a calling?  If they automatically call me back to primary that is going to be a tough one for me to accept.  I will definitely let my feelings known on the topic and then let God decide.

Anyway, I don’t know what to do to make things better?  Any ideas?  Thanks to all my twitter single friends for coming to my defense.  Love you guys!

What would you do if you were me? Is there something I’m missing?  Is this what I have to look forward to for the rest of my church experience?  Other single saints please tell me what you do to be nourished and not feel isolated in the family wards?

I will never stop going.  Don’t you worry about that (some of my friends worry about me, which I’m grateful for) but there has to be something I can do to feel more fulfilled on Sunday’s and to ingratiate myself more with the ward?  Please help!

It also didn’t help that I had a high anxiety work-week with little to no relaxation on Saturday.  The gruesome combo. Sigh…My life!

6 thoughts on “Family Ward

  1. I went to singles ward FHE today and it was so nice. Brother Dayton invited me to a 40 day walk with Jesus holiday scripture challenge. That is awesome! That’s the kind of thing I miss! So excited to start it.

  2. Have you thought about going to an older singles ward. Here is a website for over 30 single LDS adults. http://www.slc-sa.org/ The closest one to you is in Midvale. A small drive, but probably worth it. Do you want to try it? Fort Union 9th Branch
    Ages: 31-45 (Click for page on lds.org)
    Location: 7155 South 540 East, Midvale, UT 84047 (Click for map)
    Meeting Times: 1-4 p.m.
    Leader: President Norton
    Primary phone: (801) 562-8089
    Alternate phone: (801) 256-9027

    1. Thanks for the info but midsingles ward isn’t the answer. I have been to Fort Union Branch and it is just too big for me. The sacrament meetings are like stake conference. They have 6 relief societies. I felt totally overwhelmed and I was even with a friend. I’m afraid it’s just another variation on being alone. I’m not ashamed to admit it I’m definitely more high-maintenance than 700+ ward can provide. I don’t even know how you get to know anyone, even one person, with such numbers and everyone being so far away. I’ve been in big wards before (not that big but still) and it was super hard.
      In the end it wasn’t a good fit for me and the drive does make a difference. I might try it again when I move but I’m not optimistic. Sigh….

  3. I have been really struggling with this issue too. One of my friends set a great example for me though so I’ll share it with you. Before she moved into her new family ward she emailed the bishop, told him a little about herself, her past callings, etc. Then she expressed her interest in serving in the ward and really feeling like a part of it. She told him upfront that she was happy to serve but didn’t want to be stuck in a calling where she wouldn’t get to know the members of the ward. Now, her bishop was really responsive to that, not to say that all of them would be, but I thought it was awesome that she just put it out there. I start going to a family ward in January, to make it worse, it is my parents ward-talk about feeling like a little kid again. But, I plan on doing as my friend did. I have never been one to say no to a calling and still don’t know if I could but I feel like we have to speak up. I really think this transition is going to be a new thing for the family wards too as more and more singles take up residence in them. It’ll be a learning curve for all of us. I guess the Lord just thinks we are strong enough to be the single saints during this transition period. I know we are Rachel. Hang in there!!!!

    1. Thanks. That’s a good suggestion. I tried to do that with my ward but there was a split right when I moved in so that made it easier for me to get lost. I’m sure I could have done more on that level but everything was so jumbled it made it hard to stick out but I’m going to try to do better in my new ward.
      I actually begged them to not call me into primary but I told my new bishop that I was burned out and needed a break. I hope he takes me seriously but we’ll see at least he has the information.
      I think the new ward will be better because they have some singles that meet monthly! I’m excited to have a fresh start and not be the only one.
      Honestly I think activities days is the ideal calling for a single. You get to serve the kids, have fun and its only every 2 weeks, and you get to participate in Sunday meetings and lessons. I hope I get called there.
      The midsingles ward is now all the way at the U of U so I have to make it work at the family ward. I think it would be hard to be in your parents ward. At least it isn’t the one you grew up in. That would be even harder. Keep me posted on how it goes for you. I’d be curious to know how you stay spiritually motivated. Good luck! We can figure it out together.

    2. I think you are also totally right about it being a transition for the whole church. I told my bishop that I had never spoken in church and that only couples had spoken and he said ‘Oh, I didn’t realize that. Somehow you fell through the cracks’. (Not exactly comforting!) but maybe the next single won’t be missed. Hopefully I can be an example that way.

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