This is word for word what I posted on my facebook earlier today.
When I was very young, I assumed that serving a mission was something ALL people in my church did, women included. I was extremely surprised to find out that my mother never went, but got married instead (a perfectly wonderful alternative.) However, instilled within me from that point forward was a strong internal desire to serve a full-time mission for the church that I love, and to bring others to the light of the gospel that is one of the greatest, if not THE greatest defining characteristic of my life. The strength of this desire fluctuated from time to time throughout my life, but has been strongest during the past three years of my life in particular, ever since I came to college and realized what an absolute necessity and strength the gospel is in my life, and I have been anxiously anticipating the time when I would finally be old enough to serve a mission for my Heavenly Father.
What has become more undeniably clear this past year than any other is the fact that Heavenly Father is absolutely, 100% in control of the course of my life, and that He is the Master of all, including throwing me completely unexpected curveballs. (Cue the tears that always seem to come to my eyes whenever I think about what I’m about to tell you all). When our beloved Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, made the historical announcement about the reduced missionary age for young men AND women, I (like millions of others) jumped at the opportunity to get started on my papers. And, like most other pre-missionaries that I’ve spoken to, had my own personal battles with discouraging thoughts from the adversary, who assured me that I was in no way fit to take on the responsibility of serving a mission. I went to the temple once a week, was on my hands and knees in prayer to my father in heaven more than I can recall ever having been before, and finally was able to overcome these negative feelings regarding myself in the mission field. So I was set. I would be leaving on my mission as soon as Winter Semester 2013 was over. I put in my papers and was completely set to both open my call with my family and go through the temple while I was at home with my family over Christmas break. The moment I left the Stake President’s office after having my papers submitted on December 10th, an entirely new and unexpected feeling washed over me. Suddenly I strongly felt I wouldn’t be leaving on my mission when I originally thought I would be. The difference this time, however, was that I KNEW that this feeling wasn’t the same as the discouraging ones I had experienced before. This was undeniably a message from God. I brushed that feeling aside and continued on with my day, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had submitted my papers too early, and that my entire plan would soon be altered. I traveled home, expecting my call to arrive the following week, but it didn’t come. My mom then shared with me that she felt that I needed to change my temple date because I had family in town, and to fly back home a few weeks later, but as I am a chronic planner and have a strange need to have things always happen according to plan, I wasn’t prepared to let that happen. There are many complicated details to this particular situation that I won’t get into, but I tried everything to change my temple date, push back my flight, etc. etc. to make what I had originally planned work out. Finally, my mom pointed out that I really couldn’t do ANYTHING until I received my call, and that I was trying to “fit a square peg into a round hole.” It wasn’t until then that I realized that the entire process of putting in my papers had felt like that. I was trying to get a jump start on something that Heavenly Father didn’t have planned for me yet. In addition to that, I got that same feeling from when I had originally submitted my papers, very strongly telling me that I have a special purpose to fulfill here at home (or at school in Utah), and that I needed to stay. Believe me, this is a very difficult feeling and situation to try and describe. Every single time someone would ask me “What do you think it will be like?” “Where do you think you will go?” I would give them an answer, “Oh, I think it will be great, I hope to go French speaking, etc. etc.” I felt like these were nice answers, but in the back of my mind I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wouldn’t be in the field. And I didn’t understand why. Did I do something wrong? I had spent the last 3 years of my life putting all my time and energy into making myself into a person I could be proud of and that would be worthy and able to serve the best mission possible. Why was something I had wanted and was so sure would happen suddenly not a part of the plan anymore? And if Heavenly Father needed me for something outside the mission field, what could it possibly be? It’s not like I have any marriage prospects…but for some reason, the feeling persisted that I needed to be back at BYU during the fall. But then…my call wasn’t coming. Every day I would think, “surely today,” but when my family members and I would check the mail with no call, my heart would sink. Logically, I’m sure the delay had to do with the holidays and the mail system, but I also felt that it was an opportunity to take into consideration everything I had been feeling and all of the answers I had received and make a decision beforehand, so I was sure that the decision I made wouldn’t be contingent upon where I was called to. If the Lord needed me here, he needed me here, even if my mission call was sending me to Paris.
Fast forward to last night. I had let go of the idea of going to the temple entirely because my call hadn’t arrived, but it did finally come the day I left town. I was sitting on my couch in Provo, and my parents called me on skype to read me what it said. “Denmark,” my mom said…”your ancestors are from Denmark. That’s such a great opportunity! So much geneaology you can do!” I cannot even tell you how that felt. Denmark would be so perfect. I knew immediately that if I were to go, I could imagine myself in no other place but Denmark, learning Danish, discovering my roots, and bringing the Danish people to the gospel. Secretly I knew that I wouldn’t have received a call that would be easy to turn down, but I was not prepared for how hard it was. My heart was still open to the possibility of still serving, and I hoped that my mind would change when I discovered where I would be going, but I received an even stronger confirmation that I was to stay for the time being.
I wish more than anything that I had all the answers….I want more than anything to be able to tell you that “I’m not going because so-and-so is supposed to happen,” but the honest truth is that I don’t know anything aside from the promptings that I’ve received. It’s even more difficult now that I know that Denmark would be a sure thing, whereas everything about staying home still seems foggy, and it goes against my whole nature and my “stick to the plan” self to choose the path that is less clear. I want to be very clear in expressing to all that this is without a doubt the most difficult decision I have every made in my entire life, and I pray every second of every day that I’m right about this. I know several of you have been so excited, and I don’t want in any way to be a disappointment to anyone, but I need to trust in my Heavenly Father that if I stay clean and pure, He will give me the answers I need when I am ready. I’m sure many of you have your own feelings about what I have said, but at this time I humbly ask that in place of advice and reason, I would so appreciate simple support and prayers that everything will turn out the way the Lord intended. Through the dark clouds ahead, I will most definitely be clinging to the Iron Rod with all of my strength until the Lord brings me to the beautiful Tree of Life and the knowledge and peace that he has in store for me.
“The trouble with us today, there are too many of us who put question marks instead of periods after what the Lord says. I want you to think about that. We shouldn’t be concerned about why He said something, or whether or not it can be made so. Just trust the Lord. We don’t try to find the answers of explanations. We shouldn’t try to spend time explaining what the Lord didn’t see fit to explain.” –Harold B. Lee.
“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” – 1 Corinthians 13: 12
All my love, B.