It was the first Sunday in my new ward, and the inevitable introduction was about to begin.
"Okay, okay, breath... breath... just don't mess up," I thought.
"Do we have any visitors or any new members here today?" a member of the Relief Society presidency asked.
I raised my hand.
"Oh, hello sister. Tell us your name and a little about yourself."
You would think after five family wards in two years, I would have my intro "tight like unto a dish."
Seriously, I should just have a card in my purse to read that looks like this:
"Hi my name is (insert first and last name here) my husband and I moved from (insert last home address here) and we just moved into (insert new address here)."
Sadly, it usually goes something like this:
(Clears throat) "My name is Katie Lambert, my husband and I just moved into the apartment on 600 South and 275 East."
"By the Petersons?"
"I'm not sure—" (I begin to question whether I got the address I've been living in for over a month right).
"Oh no, you live by the Hunts."
Was it 600 South or 500 South?
"Maybe, we've been visiting family a lot lately—"
"Oh wait, you live next to the blue house?"
It definitely was 500 South.
"It's kind of on a corner—" I say as I bring my hands together to make an awkward angle, in case no one knows what a corner looks like.
"Oh, you live in the red brick apartment, right?"
Aw, they know I messed up.
"Yep," I say and then I usually slink down in my chair as the lesson moves on.
For the past two years, this is how it goes every time I introduce myself to a new ward in Relief Society.
It's not that big of a deal, except it is.
Introductions are just not my thing. I'm a little reserved by nature and meeting new people and forming new friendships can be really, really hard.
You would think that after two years it would get easier. For me, it just gets harder.
The last time we moved, it really got to me.
I don't know why, but it never occurred to me how hard it can be to fit into a family ward.
And when you don't have any children yet, it can be even harder to find common ground with people.
At a stake activity we just attended in our new ward, I watched as a woman walked over to another new member sitting next to me who had children. She started a conversation with her about how they should set up a play date for their kids some time.
I wasn't offended, but it was painfully obvious that I had nothing to contribute to the conversation.
And it's just like that sometimes.
When we moved to our new apartment this last time, I didn't want to do it anymore. I didn't want another Primary calling, feeling like someone was trying to hint at something. I didn't want another awkward time in Relief Society where I felt like I couldn't relate to the mothers around me.
So I didn't go. For the first time since I was 13 years old, I played hooky from church.
And it was awful.
The entire day I just felt like I had let God down.
This wasn't the answer. I knew better. Turning away from God because of my insecurities and feeling like I was some weird, extra piece wasn't going to solve anything.
I had to get over myself. I wasn't going to church because I wanted to fit in. I was going to church because it was what God wanted me to do and it was right.
So that's what brings us back to the awkward introduction.
Yeah, it was a little embarrassing.
Yeah, I felt a little out of place at first.
But as I let go of my insecurities, I found out I wasn't the only woman in the ward without kids. And I found out I could relate to those who had kids.
I learned there were good people around me, regardless of their stage in life, that I could reach out to and who could reach out to me.
I didn't have to sit alone or worry about sitting alone because I could be the person who tries to make the connection first. And if that didn't work, sometimes God just gives you a soft pitch and someone feels prompted to sit by you that day.
In a week I learned that being new in a family ward wasn't nearly as bad as I had built it up to be in my mind over the past two years.
When I move again, I'm going to remember this.
And I'm going to help others feel like they fit into the family ward, no matter the size of their family.