My name is Rachel and I am 27 years old. I was raised as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have been married for almost 8 years and I have four children, ages 6, 5, 2 and 1. If you do the math on that one, yes, I was 18 when I got married and 20 when baby number 1 came along. I graduated with my degree in English when I was six months pregnant with baby number 2. I grew up in Utah and after moving around a bit at the beginning of our marriage, we went back.
I am someone who struggles with change. I think I cried the whole way up to Idaho when I left for college. And then, four years later, when I moved away from Idaho, I cried as we left. Change and I are not friends.
About two years ago my husband finished school in Provo, Utah and got a job in Salt Lake City, about 30 miles north. The commute was too much and so we moved up to Salt Lake to be closer. While I was so excited to live in a bigger place, I was devastated to move away from the friends that I had made in our congregation (ward) in Provo. We had lived there for over two years and really had made ourselves at home.
Our first Sunday in our new home we headed to church. It was hard. It was the day after we had moved in. The house was still a mess of boxes and we were both exhausted. Emotions were close to the surface. I spent most of the service (sacrament meeting) in tears. I didn’t feel at home. I felt like a visitor and I already missed being surrounded by people that I knew and loved. By the end of it, I was ready to run home and throw myself on my bed for a good pity party.
The meeting ended and as we stood up to leave we were almost immediately surrounded. No less than five people had noticed that we were new. They all came over to introduce themselves, welcome us to the area and ask if there was anything that we needed. I had trouble fighting back even more tears, this time of gratitude. At that moment I knew that the Lord was aware of the prayer of my heart and had sent these wonderful people to make sure that I felt loved, even in an unfamiliar place.
This experience didn’t provide me instant friends. I still had to work for that. But it did offer me the peace that I so desperately needed that Sunday morning, as well as the confidence that I would get through this and make new friends and come to love my new ward as much as I had loved my previous one.
One thing I love about being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that opportunity to meet people that you might not typically meet and be a part of a ward family. I love the strength that it offers to be surrounded by other women struggling with some of the same challenges that I have. I love the feeling that I am not alone in my challenges and trials. And I love knowing that the Lord has provided these incredible friends, these Mormon women, to show me that he does love me and doesn’t want any of us to feel alone.
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