Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Slow Start

My whole life, serving a mission was never on the agenda. My plan was to graduate high school and college, marry an RM, and have a family. I never grew the "foot or two," which always felt like a requirement to serve a mission, and I was really content with the way my life was going. I had only been 19 for a few months when I heard the words, "able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at age 19 instead of age 21" escape the lips of President Thomas S. Monson in the October 2012 General Conference. I could hardly believe it, but I found myself sitting in my bishop's office less than a week later, anxious to start my mission papers. Like any good bishop would do, he counseled me to fast and pray about my decision to serve a mission. When I did so, I got a definite, "not yet," which I took to me as, "no!"
Fortunately, I was blessed to serve a 3 1/2 month service mission as a Young Performing Missionary (YPM) in Nauvoo, IL in the summer of 2013. Being a member of the Nauvoo Brass Band has been an amazing blessing for me, and it was that service mission which prompted my service as a full-time proselyting missionary for 18 months. When I was being set apart for my mission to Nauvoo, I got a very strong and VERY clear prompting that it was time to start my mission papers. All I could think was, "Really? Now? But I'm about to leave on a mission to Nauvoo! I'm supposed to serve two missions? I thought this was it!" Yet, I knew what I had felt, and as soon as the setting apart was over, I turned to my dad, who also happened to be my bishop at the time, and said, "I think we need to start my mission papers." He was shocked, but we did everything we could that night to fill out half of the mission papers before heading to the airport the next morning. The whole summer I struggled with my decision to serve a full-time mission, and I began to doubt whether or not I should go, but I remembered the prompting I had received, and when I got home from Nauvoo in August, I finished my papers and had a call within two months. At the time of my mission call, most of my dear friends had already been out on their missions for 6 months or so. By the time I left for the MTC in January, they had been out for 9-12 months. I worry about how things will be when I get home. Most of my friends will have been home for a while, and I'll be the odd one out. The thing that gets me is that I feel so far behind, that I'll never catch up.
Then I remember: IT'S NOT A RACE TO THE CELESTIAL KINGDOM!!! Everyone will be resurrected, and everyone will be judged. I'm reminded of the following scripture in Isaiah 55 verse 8: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord." I'd like to re-phrase that to say, "My time is not your time..."
I've tried to plan out my entire life, from the type of man I'll marry to the haircut I'll have when I'm 80 years old. The funny thing is, that everything I've planned so far has gone in a completely different direction, yet I still LOVE where I am in my life. Sure, some of my circumstances are less than desireable, but so what? I'll deal with it, just like Job dealt with skinworms and boils. What's more is that I'm going to try my hardest to "submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord" (Mosiah 24:15).
If things aren't going the way you planned, tear up those blueprints! It was never supposed to be that way! The Lord has bigger and better things in store for you! Allow Him to guide your life.
I know that the Lord hears our prayers, and I know He answers them. It may not always be in the way you planned, but He always answers them. I love the Lord, and the experiences I'm gaining as one of His missionaries.

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