Being perfect in Christ starts with accepting that we are not perfect on our own and yet also realizing that we are each offered the miraculous gift of being perfected in Him. Being made perfect in Christ is not to be perfect in fact. We borrow from His perfection. He has offered to lend His perfection to us. Moroni invited us to, “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him” (Moroni 10:32).

Borrowing the perfection of Christ, who freely offers it, allows us to be made complete (whole—not lacking). Holding ourselves accountable to fulfill a perfectionistic vision of Latter-day Saint idealism (however we might understand it) is not within our power. We all need Jesus Christ. Mid-singles who don’t have the picture-perfect Latter-day Saint families have a heightened awareness of their need for divine assistance as singles and as single parents.

In his conference address on Palm Sunday 2023, Elder Vern P. Stanfill said that we have a tendency as Latter-day Saints to obsess about perfection. Christ’s admonition to “Be Ye Therefore Perfect” can feel daunting when viewed through the lens of what we may think is “perfect” in our limited mortal perspective, and trying to create that in ourselves, by ourselves. Elder Stanfill went on to say that it is important to remember that perfectionism is not the same as being perfected in Christ.” Our Heavenly Father has promised that “if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ” (Moroni 10:32).

Our best efforts are made good enough through our Savior’s grace. He makes up the difference. He makes ALL the difference! The Savior perfects our humble offerings, no matter how insignificant they may seem. Being perfected in Christ means we are made whole through Him. This involves a mighty change of heart and a desire to do good continually, while allowing Him to be our anchor in the turbulent storms of life.

Being perfected and made whole through Christ lifts us up and gives us strength to live an extraordinary and exemplary life no matter our circumstances. The scriptures are full of examples of flawed and ordinary people who found themselves in impossible situations but were delivered by the power of Almighty God.

Alma and Amulek were in prison and bound with strong cords for preaching the gospel when an earthquake sent the prison walls tumbling down, their bonds loosened, and they walked out uninjured as free men (Alma 14:17-29). Three Israelite teenagers, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were cast into a furnace heated to six times its normal temperature because they would not worship the king’s idols, and were delivered by the Son of God without even a hair of their heads singed, and they were raised to positions of power by the same king that had condemned them (Daniel 3).

Daniel was thrown into a den of hungry lions because he would only pray to God and not the king and was also delivered unharmed and raised to power in Babylon by the same king (Daniel 6). After 13 years of betrayal, slavery, and prison, Joseph was raised up by the Pharoah to rule Egypt and, with an inspired grain storage program, saved a nation and even his own family from starvation (Genesis 37-50). The children of Israel were pinned up against the Red Sea with the armies of Egypt advancing on them when God, through Moses, parted the Red Sea, and the children of Israel walked to freedom on dry ground (Exodus 14). Jonah was in the belly of the whale for three days before he was delivered and preached the gospel, and the people of the wicked city of Ninevah believed God and repented. (Jonah 1-3).

I could easily go on with many more stories, both scriptural and modern. One unifying theme is that life is messy, and we are often challenged to the limits of our endurance before we are delivered—even in the areas of life we value most. In most families, the “perfect” picture of Latter-day Saint idealism is not reality—at least not right away. Many loving families do not fit the stereotype of ideal Latter-day Saint families—even those who seem to.

I had recently served as young men’s president in my ward when my former wife stopped attending church and asked for a divorce. A good friend of ours found love in her 40s and the blessing of a temple marriage—after receiving a diagnosis of terminal cancer. Elder D. Todd Christofferson came from a family where his beloved brother lived in a same sex relationship for two decades—before giving up the life he had built with his partner to return to the covenant path. Elder Christofferson himself experienced a serious financial disaster that threatened his family with financial ruin and loomed ominously over him for several years.

Sister Sheri Dew, a faithful former member of the General Relief Society Presidency and President of Deseret Book, is 69 years old and has never been blessed with marriage or children. President Dallin Oaks was raised by a single mother. Sister Reyna Aburto, a recent member of the General Relief Society Presidency, is divorced. Too often, we try to sell people on the gospel by presenting it as the way to an ideal life of perfect happiness, free of the trials experienced by the less enlightened.

Our message is not that the gospel guarantees a trouble-free life or a picture-perfect family. Our message is that there is hope for deliverance through a power greater than ourselves, and to find greater meaning in the journey. There is great power in knowing these truths. As Moroni taught, “if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God” (Moroni 10:32). It is the power of God by which we collect the broken fragments of broken lives and fit them together as a new creation that is more beautiful than the original. It is the power of God by which we can gather a variety of flawed and imperfect people and, from them, forge a covenant family with infinite potential.

If you are experiencing a mid-single journey in a non-traditional family that feels “broken” and imperfect because you are divorced, widowed, married with step-kids who don’t yet accept you, or not yet married, we testify that God has the final word on when your day of deliverance will come and what that deliverance will look like. No circumstance or trial you have faced in life has come as a surprise to Him. As God used Joseph being sold into slavery and condemned to prison to raise him to power and save a nation, God is using your tribulation to take you to a glorious destination greater than you can now conceive. Understanding God’s purposes in this way can make all the difference. Remain in faith, as Job did, until your moment of deliverance, for “the Lord turned the captivity of Job” and “the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10).

As you walk this path of mortality in faith, doing your best with your limited power, the Savior will ultimately lend you His unlimited power. Remember, “Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous” (Psalm 112:4).

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About the Author

Jeff Teichert, and his wife Cathy Butler Teichert, are the founders of “Love in Later Years,” which ministers to Latter-day Saint single adults seeking peace, healing, and more joyful relationships. They are co-authors of the Amazon bestseller Intentional Courtship: A Mid-Singles Guide to Peace, Progress and Pairing Up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Jeff and Cathy each spent nearly a decade in the mid-singles community and they use that experience to provide counsel and hope to mid-singles and later married couples through written articles, podcasts, and videos. Jeff and Cathy are both Advanced Certified Life Coaches and have university degrees in Family & Human Development. They are the parents of a blended family that includes four handsome sons, one lovely daughter-in-law, and a sweet baby granddaughter.

Purchase Jeff & Cathy’s book Intentional Courtship:

https://amzn.to/3GXW5h1

Discover 6-Steps to recover from divorce and design a life you love with Jeff & Cathy’s “Life Design After Divorce” 12-week COURSE. Register here: lilywebinars.com/order-page

Connect with Jeff & Cathy:

Website: http://www.loveinlateryears.com/
Podcast: https://anchor.fm/loveinlateryears
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/loveinlateryears
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/LoveInLaterYears
Instagram: http://instagram.com/loveinlateryears/
Email: [email protected]