April 24th, 2014 by admin

8 Comments

A Calling and a Purpose

A Calling and a Purpose

Snapshot Portrait: Katie Jennings

At A Glance

I had to finally accept my Heavenly Father’s plan for me.

As a childless woman in the LDS church, it’s hard to not feel like an outcast or a failure on a daily basis. I’ve spent my adult married life comparing myself to the women around me–more specifically, the mothers around me. As a young married woman, I dreamed of being a mother. And it just never happened. Twelve years later, it still hasn’t.

It was a few years, a million tears, countless Mother’s Days hiding in the bathroom at church, doctor’s visits, medications, more tears, and lots of nieces and nephews before I understood that I was not going to be a mother in this lifetime. And even as I realized that, it was still a few hundred tears, a few years, and a lot of cookies before I could actually accept it.

And then I got a calling that saved my life and taught me my true purpose in this world. I was called as a Primary president in my ward. Heavenly Father gave me 60 kids to call my own and to love and to teach. I made the decision right then and there to throw all of the love, caring, and nurturing that I had in my heart and soul towards those 60 kids. They have returned it in a million different ways, which makes me love them all the more. I love them like they are my own. I count myself blessed to be part of their lives.

I want other childless women to understand that they're not broken; they're not unworthy of motherhood; they're not failures. And most importantly, they're not alone.

Eventually, I met a group of other women like me. I have come to realize that I am not alone in this trial, even though it is very seldom recognized or talked about. It’s true that there is strength in numbers. We’ve tried to take our lives, our trials, our experiences, and our strength and share them with a sometimes invisible group of women in the LDS Church, with tremendously wonderful results. I blog about my experience and hope I’m able to change women’s views about themselves. I want other childless women to understand that they’re not broken; they’re not unworthy of motherhood; they’re not failures. And most importantly, they’re not alone in this world. There are people who understand and feel empathy for their daily struggle, because we’ve been there too.

Being childless will never be easy or less painful for me, but I’ve learned to use that pain and that experience to help others come to accept their path in life and their purpose in the world and in the kingdom of our Heavenly Father. Believe me when I say that He knows what He is doing. Learning to trust in that is never easy, but it’s so worth it. I can make it through anything if I trust in Him and “lean not unto of mine own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). I am grateful for the trials that I’ve been given because they’ve made me the strong, compassionate woman that I am today. I am so grateful for Heavenly Father’s plan for me and that He thought I was special enough to be able to teach and love other people’s children. I’m a pretty lucky girl that things didn’t turn out the way that I had planned.

 

mwp1At A Glance

Katie Jennings


Location:
Idaho Falls, ID

Age:
33

Marital status:
Married

Children:
None, unless you count my Primary kids, which I do!

Occupation:
Sheet music/instrument sales

On the Web: www.childlessmormonsupport.com

8 Comments

  1. Kristine A
    11:12 pm on April 24th, 2014

    I loved this! After 13 years I have one daughter via IVF. It was a shock to me three years ago when HF answered my prayers by telling me more children was not in His plan for me. It hasn’t been easy but I have embraced His plan for me. It’s a little scary because it’s harder to see what we are supposed to be doing instead, but I’ve also found serving in primary helps, my favorite is Chorister. I get to love the kids for two hours, then send them home :). I’m so glad to see others talk more openly of their infertility, and I often wonder how one can heal from it if they believe motherhood is the purpose of a Godly woman. It has really helped me to understand that motherhood is ONE way to be a Woman of God.

  2. Natalie
    8:00 am on April 25th, 2014

    Thanks for sharing! At the end of this year, we will celebrate 12 years of marriage. Infertility has changed our lives in an unexpected way. As my childbearing years are growing thinner, my love for children is increasing. I don’t know if we will have children in this life. Motherhood does not define me. I am a daughter of God with a great potential to love all those around me. My life has been blessed with opportunities to work and teach Irish dance to many children. I have a greater appreciation for motherhood because of my circumstances.

  3. Kristin
    1:51 pm on April 25th, 2014

    I dreaded Mother’s Day and baby blessings. A sweet sister in my ward would give me the heads up if there was a baby blessing and I would go to my Aunt’s ward for Sacrament Meeting or if her ward had a baby blessing, as well, I would just go sit in my car until it was over. After 10 years of marriage and many failed IVF treatments I was feeling abandoned and alone. And being in my late 30s the chances of success dropped even more. When we decided to try adoption we had to turn in paperwork filled out by our fertility doctor stating we had fertility problems. I remember reading the form as I took it to LDS Family Services and crying because our doctor stated we had a 0% chance of conceiving without IVF and only a 20% chance with treatment. While I already knew that, it was hard seeing it written down. We were blessed to adopt a sweet baby boy. And although he is almost 2, my emotions about this journey are still quite raw. I feel very uncomfortable celebrating Mother’s Day at church when I know there are many childless sisters in pain and I just want to slip out unnoticed.

  4. Tracie
    1:32 am on April 28th, 2014

    I’m grateful for this snapshot just after I was made aware of National Infertility Awareness Week – Apr 20-26, 2014. I’m grateful for Katie’s testimony and ability to share her heartache in order to build a much needed community of support. I have had my scares and fears with infertility along the way and understand the depth of that very real pain. Women who undergo fertility treatments are my heroes! Women who find and own their unique paths through life without a spouse and/or children are also my heroes! I want them to all know I need them in my life and in my ward! Thanks again!

  5. Liz Ostler
    9:17 am on May 14th, 2014

    Thank you for talking about this very painful subject and providing a resource for us childless LDS women to know that we are not alone and that we have to offer matters. It really does make things more manageable.

  6. Elsa Macias
    8:40 pm on May 21st, 2014

    Thank you sister for your courage to speak about such a sensitive subject. You remind me
    So much of my beautiful and amazing aunt who I know feels so much of the emotions you
    Are speaking about. Heavenly Father blessed me with three children and a calling as primary
    President. I was not prepared when I was called but as you said this calling is truly an opportunity
    To love these children. My aunt is my best friend, my shoulder to cry on, and many times she
    Has been the unconditionally loving mother I could always depend on. I know that
    There has been children in your life who feel the same way about you as I feel about her.
    Thank you for your beautiful testimony.

  7. Kelly
    1:10 pm on June 1st, 2014

    Thank you, Katie, for your testimony. Your faith is inspiring.

  8. Patti Cook
    9:47 pm on October 6th, 2014

    Yea! Thank you for your openness about such a vulnerable topic. I have two children and would love to have tons more but it has not been an option. Several years ago, as a primary president, I also loved the feeling of getting to love and be loved by so many children. It was truly a blessing and a perspective changer in my life!

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