When I was 17 years old I scrimped and saved to buy my own car and in the summer of 2001, my wish came true and I was a car owner! The independence my first car gave me was incredible-I loved being able to go wherever whenever. I also knew that I needed to go to church, at least sacrament meeting. So with that I started attending sacrament meeting by myself, thinking I was doing pretty well church wise. Well, the Lord knew I needed more and sacrament wasn't enough. I'm still uncertain how the events fell into place but before I knew it I was called as the laurel president in young woman's and with that I dived into complete activity. It was then I learned I wanted to go on a mission.
Faithfully, I attended mission prep, studied the scriptures, and read any book I could get my hands on about missionary service. It felt as if everything I did was directed towards this goal of a mission. More than anything I wanted to serve and nothing was going to stand in my way. I hated that the time of serving was so far away, but it gave me years of prep and many experiences which would one day help me on my mission.
Well, at some point between the age of 20 and 21 I got scared. Really scared. And with that fear came the question-Do I really want to go on a mission anyway?
The whole idea of a mission seemed so daunting. For so many reasons, some obvious some a bit more hidden. Of course I carried all the obvious reasons-no freedom, dealing with a companion, all the hard work, etc, etc. But also I had more deeper dilemmas that held me back. Did I really have a burning desire and adequate testimony to preach the gospel to others? Could I embark upon something that wouldn't end until 18 months later? I prayed and prayed about whether or not I should go and I never received a clear answer. I knew if it was right for me that the Lord would let me know.
One of my underlying reasons to not serve was undeniably my desire to marry and have children. More than anything I wanted a family. Of course going on a mission means 18 months of not dating and making marriage not possible until age 23. I felt as if maybe this goal of marriage should take priority over going on a mission. I wanted both things so badly and I felt so confused.
Then out of nowhere, right before I turned 21 (literally three weeks before) I started dating someone and before I knew it I thought I might marry that boy. This added immeasurably to my confusion about the mission. I thought that maybe this boy was why I felt uncertain about the mission in the first place. In my silly girl mind (remember I was just 21) I thought maybe the Lord had been preparing me for marriage more than a mission.
Well clearly I didn't marry that boy (thank heavens) and again I found myself single and still wondering if I should serve. All my original doubts still danced in my head. At this point in time I was attending Cal State Fullerton and decided I would give it one semester and then rethink the whole mission thing.
Right off the bat, I knew something wasn't right. I liked the school and my classes but something was just off and I couldn't deny it. Day after day I tried so hard to be happy there and embrace it but I knew I wasn't where I needed to be. About two months into the semester I was driving home and I lost it. I was sobbing and asking aloud why I was so miserable. There was no reason for it. As I drove, I started pondering my life up to that point and the different decisions I had made. Then my thoughts turned to the mission I thought I would go on from the age of 17. Why hadn't I gone? Why was I still here? And in that moment of tears, my confusion just seemed to melt and disappear and I finally received my answer to serve. The Lord at last gave me my answer and I knew it was my time.
To be continued...
Here are some fun pics while you wait! Sorry the quality is so bad.