What If I Don’t Fit, Yet?
Being in an untraditional role has given me a testimony of traditional families.
Several months ago, I had an unfortunate incident occur which cost me my job. There were a lot of circumstances outside of my control and I lost a lucrative position that comfortably sustained by family, consisting of my wife and five boys. We were blessed to have enough saved to withstand a hardship such as this for a couple of months, but not much more. The kindness and outpouring of love by Saints and brothers and sisters of the Gospel was truly faith-promoting.
I hustled around to find new work. In the meantime, my wife signed up to take a test to become a certified interpreter. That process took a couple of months, but we have found it to be a blessing as it has allowed us to stay afloat. I applied for over 200 jobs, and interviewed in person for a couple of dozen of them, and wasn’t hired. I fell into despair as I had never had a problem finding an employer who wouldn’t find my skills and work ethic to be an excellent match.
As employer after employer passed over me, even at places I was supremely qualified for, I began to wonder if I was supposed to be doing something else. My wife was starting to work full-time and we have a two-year-old at home. Our children have never been in daycare as we’ve always been fortunate enough to have my wife stay at home. I have a demanding calling at church and I am finishing up my degree online. Maybe the Lord was telling me that I needed to be still for a moment?
As I’ve previously written about the Lord’s commands, the mystery isn’t what he has commanded, but why. Why would He want me to stay home when we’re commanded to provide? What have I to learn? What have we to learn? I can tell you one thing I’ve learned: I am not a good woman and my wife isn’t a good man. I was able to work 60-hour weeks and have the energy to do various family activities on the side. Now, I feel overwhelmed by laundry, dressing and feeding the children, and keeping up with everyday duties while getting my studies done. My wife ran the household with efficiency and our home was always a refuge of cleanliness and safety for the children and for myself when I returned home. The adjustment has been enormous for both of us, and only knowing that it is a temporary arrangement makes it at all tolerable. We are not very good in our current roles.
So what are we to do when the Lord’s anointed to proclaim the importance of the traditional families with the Lord’s design for gender roles? What if we don’t fit in that box right now? Do we murmur and complain that the Brethren are “out of touch?” Do we wonder why the Lord is being so harsh? Does He not understand that I didn’t choose to be in this position: whether it be a single parent, a working mother, a single sister waiting to be married, a young couple who wants to bear children but can’t, and so on and so forth?
If my current situation has taught me anything, it is that the Lord commands and provides guidelines for us to be happy – not only in the life to come – but for peace and joy in this life. When I hear the Brethren declare that traditional family roles are the key to happiness in this life, I proclaim: “Amen! I sustain!” The fact that my current situation doesn’t preclude me to “fit in that box” at this very moment does not deny the truth of the principle being taught. This is the Lord’s Church. It is led by His chosen servants. And the Plan of Salvation offers a brightness of hope and peace in this life for all who accept its precepts.
The Family: A Proclamation to the World
“Why Marriage, Why Family” -Elder D. Todd Christofferson, April 2015
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