So I have an awesome surprise for you this week. We have our first ever guest writer on Thoughts, Dots, and Tots, one of my very good friends-Davina! (And she is a very talented photographer, so the gorgeous photos in this article are all hers!) She received an unusual assignment at church for a young single woman, and I asked her to write a post for me to share with all of you. She very kindly agreed to share her experiences. So here it is!
About a month ago, I found out that my teaching assignment in church was to talk about nurturing an eternal marriage. My initial reaction was, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I’m S-I-N-G-L-E. Why are they having the SINGLE GIRL talk about marriage?!!” Being in my upper 20s, having dating experience, but not yet reaching sealed-for-time-and-all-eternity status, I was in a panic over how this would all turn out, even shedding a few tears.
After discussing my feelings with the Relief Society president she suggested that while the emphasis on the lesson is and should be on marriage, that I can include the fact that since there are those who like me, are not married or divorced/widowed that we can apply it to all relationships, with friends, family etc., because all relationships that are worthwhile need nurturing. I was incredibly grateful for her understanding mind-set (she has a single daughter). I know what a fantastic marriage looks like- my parents have one. I’ve observed other couples and while I don’t have first-hand experience at a strong partnership that lasts for eternity- I certainly know what I want mine to look like once I get there.
Loving parents and supportive friends, both single and married gave me the confidence I needed to do this- I told them I was nervous and felt insecure. When I began to prepare, an overwhelming sense of peace came over me and a lot of the fear I had was gone. After carefully reviewing and preparing, I felt as ready as ever, or as Mia Thermopolis says in The Princess Diaries, “This is as good as it’s gonna get.” Now all I had to do was keep up the positive attitude, pray a lot and wait until Sunday.
Sunday arrived and the anxiety hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt ready, but all of the sudden during Sunday School, I was sweating buckets and having a hard time breathing. Support from loving ward members and lots of deep breaths helped. As soon as the lesson began, I was able to get up and say everything I needed to, without hesitation, pause or uncertainty. Thankfully the other sisters in the room were kind and interacted by discussing each question and sharing personal experiences. The anxiety went away as we talked, and learned together.
One of the major points I made in my lesson was, that marriage is an eternal principle and, because of that it extends beyond just earth life. I talked about how one of the things I LOVE about the gospel is that it’s not, “Till death do us part”, and that for those who are not married happily in the temple, that the opportunity is promised to them as they remain faithful (just as once you’re sealed- it requires both husband and wife to KEEP their covenants). We also discussed protecting the sacredness of marriage and how we can uplift our spouse by not making demeaning comments about them to others, in public or private- and how in a world full of social media temptations that we need to be mindful of those interactions.
I was so incredibly grateful at how much love I felt in the room- from them and from my Father in Heaven. I was able to stay composed, and didn’t even cry! It was a huge blessing to have it turn out so well, and to have others compliment me on a job well done. As soon as I ended my remarks and closed, I knew everything had turned out- better than expected. It is truly amazing what the power of prayer and careful preparation can do.
Davina Porter was adopted as an infant from India by her parents and raised in an LDS home. She grew up in Seattle as an only child and graduated from Brigham Young University in 2013 with a bachelor’s in Family Life with a minor in Geography. She currently works as a teacher in the Seattle area. Her hobbies and interests include traveling, history and photography.