When I returned home to the Philippines after my mission, the first thing I wanted to do was meet a worthy priesthood holder whom I could marry in the temple and build a Christ-centered family with.
I thought that finding him would be easy. But now it’s been quite a few years since I returned home, and I have yet to find someone to marry.
I’ve been goal-driven all my life. In high school, I made goals for my future, specifically goals that would help me progress on the covenant path—the only path that will ultimately lead me, and all of us, back to live with Heavenly Father.
I made goals to graduate from seminary and institute, to finish my studies, to get endowed in the temple, to serve a mission, to find a job in line with my degree, and to build an eternal family.
I’ve achieved all those goals apart from one, and despite being proud of all I’ve accomplished, I’ve sometimes felt as though I’ve stopped progressing.
For years I’ve spent so much time searching and praying to find someone to be with for eternity. I’ve always obeyed the commandments, applied the teachings of the prophets and the leaders in my life, and striven to be worthy to enter the temple. So, in frustration, I’ve sometimes wondered why, after trying so hard, I am still unable to reach this one goal and often feel unable to move forward on the covenant path.
What am I lacking?
One night when I was feeling extra discouraged about my marital status and seeming lack of progression, I poured out my feelings to Heavenly Father. I felt stuck, lonely, and lost. As I prayed and pondered, a clear reminder came to me:
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart. …
“In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5–6).
In that moment, I realized that those “paths” included the covenant path.
I was reminded that if I “let God prevail” in my life, as President Russell M. Nelson taught,1 He would direct me toward Christ and grant me spiritual strength, promised blessings, and eternal progression.
Elder Marvin J. Ashton (1915–94) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “Set your goals. … But don’t become frustrated because there are no obvious victories. Remind yourself that striving can be more important than arriving.”2
For so long I had focused only on my hopes for marriage and my “failure” at not achieving that covenant. I had forgotten the significance of the covenants I had made and how those covenants had helped me move toward Christ.
I had forgotten how beautiful my circumstances were. Right now, because I don’t have children or many obligations at home, I have time to develop more skills for the future. I’m able to give a great amount of my time to serving others and ministering to those in my ward. I am able to meet more people and learn from them. I get to spend time improving my relationships with my parents and siblings. And most importantly, I still have plenty of opportunities to continue becoming more like the Savior.
I’ve realized that if I’m still walking on the path that leads me to Jesus Christ, then I’m right where I need to be.
I am moving forward on the covenant path.
President Nelson also taught that “wherever you are on the covenant path … I promise you that if you will sincerely and persistently do the spiritual work needed to develop the crucial, spiritual skill of learning how to hear the whispering of the Holy Ghost, you will have all the direction you will ever need in your life.”3
I know that if I am led by the Spirit, I will be led to where He wants me to be, and therefore where I want to be.
If you’re ever feeling discouraged or stagnant on the covenant path, I know how you feel. At times I have felt uncomfortable or out of place at church because I’m single. I’ve also heard many good-natured jokes from my family and ward about my marital status—as many of us single people have.
But I have learned that no matter my circumstances, I can always keep progressing on the covenant path. I can focus on the covenants I have made and the progression and eternal promises that come from keeping those covenants.
Regardless of our current circumstances, we have the opportunity to improve ourselves and to become the covenant-keeping people the Lord wants us to be.
Just as the Lord counseled Emma Smith, we can “lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better” and hold fast to our covenants with God (Doctrine and Covenants 25:10).
Married or single, children or no children, all of us can progress on the covenant path as we follow His counsel, love and serve others, look for present blessings, feel and express gratitude, recognize that our perspectives are needed in building the kingdom of God, do family history work, magnify our callings, strive to always be worthy to enter the temple, and help others to also stay on the path.
I know that as we continue forward and recognize the significance of our covenants and the spiritual power they provide, we can prepare ourselves (and the world) for when the Savior comes again, and we will be even better prepared to receive future promised blessings.