It's crazy to look back just four or five months and see how drastically my life has changed in that period of time. So many huge decisions have been made and changed and made then changed...which is honestly kind of hard to comprehend. So much of me wishes I knew the reasons for why things have happened the way they have; but then another part of me is really enjoying this feeling of not really knowing what's going to happen next, or what big change is going to be around the corner. All I know is that it's been a time of growth for me. It's forced me to rely on my Heavenly Father for guidance and help in moving down the path that I felt was best for me - the path that would make me the very happiest, because that's what He wants most for His children.
I'm not writing this because I feel like I need to give an explanation for what's going on - I want to write this because I'm not the only person that's going to struggle with something like this. I'm hoping this will just be an added testimony of faith and reliance on our Heavenly Father to make important decisions in our lives.
Anyone reading this probably already knows about my mission call and everything that led up to it.
I received my call on November 7, 2012.
The days after that passed more quickly than any semester really had before. School and work got more hectic and it was easy to consume my thoughts with everything that surrounded them and my final semester at BYU. So many times I just wanted to quit and leave and just go to Sweden or anywhere else but Provo. My emotions were hard to control - they'd be up way high one day and then on the floor the next. I'd be nervous and scared and doubtful and then excited and fearless all at one time. It helped that almost all of my best friends had received mission calls right around the same time. It made me feel re-assured that this was the right thing for me - the right way to give back - the right way to serve our Lord for the sacrifice he made for all of us. I just had to keep reminding myself that.
That's why what happened mid-November was so out of place. So random. So strange. So, so hard to just dismiss and ignore.
We like to call it fate. Fate brought me Nate :) In the ice cream aisle at the grocery store.
But it started so many years before that night in November. He was one of those people I would see on campus all the time. It started after I walked into the wrong class my freshman year. I made eye contact with this really attractive guy and basically ran out of the room crying in embarrassment. From then on I would see him at least twice a week around campus, before class, in the library...everywhere...but never had the guts to ever say anything to him. But then there he was, right in front of me choosing which ice cream to get...and I guess knowing I was leaving and never going to see him again made me have a little extra courage or something, because before I realized what I was doing, I was talking to him. I was helping him choose which ice cream to get. And he said it was fate. Fate that I was there right then. And I blushed and my hands got extra hot and probably started melting the ice cream that was in my own hands. I walked away pleased that I finally talked to him - this guy I had been crushing on for about three years now. I didn't think anything of it after that. Well, not until I saw him again a week and a half later. Don't ask me how we both happened to be there, all I know is that it wasn't a mistake. I look back on it now and just have to laugh at how shocked we both were. How out of our element I think both of us were, but it only took that one night for both of us to realize that this wasn't just a coincidence. I found out later that he told himself right then that he needed to see me every day before I leave. And he did. He did and I love him for his persistence.
I've heard just about every opinion anyone could have on the situation. I really struggled when it came to deciding whether or not to put off my mission. We're counseled in our church, and even as women preparing to serve missions, to not ignore or put off any potential marriage opportunities. Now I'm not saying there's going to be a ring on my finger any time soon!! Please don't think that. But I knew it was important to take that into account in this big decision. I also knew that this guy was different. SO different than anyone else I know or have dated in the past. If you could just have a little taste of the way my heart feels when I'm around this boy, or even just thinking about him...you would know why I chose to do the thing that I did.
I deferred my mission until May 29, for now. Who knows what will happen in these next few months. All I know is that I needed them to explore the possibility of something I've always dreamed of having. I couldn't imagine leaving after such a short amount of time and not knowing what was going to happen. Maybe I'm not supposed to go. Maybe preparing to leave set me on a course for a lifetime of service. Maybe preparing to leave stopped me from taking a job in New York after graduation. Maybe it could be a lot of things...it makes me understand more fully the importance of staying worthy to receive personal revelation. You never know when your life is going to change all of a sudden and you're going to only have the Lord to rely upon in order to figure out what to do next. I know that's why I felt like I needed to put off graduating until this last month. I know that's why I felt like I needed to prepare to serve a mission. And why I, for some reason, felt like I needed to put my relationship with Nathan above that.
Obviously this is something that I sought a lot of counsel about - from leaders, my parents and other family members, from scripture, and above all of that, from my own conversations with my Father in Heaven. I had to keep reminding myself that Nathan wasn't sent to me as a distraction, or a punishment...choosing him would never be "wrong" or looked at as a "sin" from deviating from my original plan. Revelation changes. We see that time and time again in our church. It's not a bad thing, it's just a way our Heavenly Father reaches us and guides and directs our lives. Sometimes he needs us to start down one path in order to lead us to another...
I read a talk this morning entitled, "We Are the Architects of Our Own Happiness" by Bishop Gerald Causse. In it there was a paragraph that really stuck out to me. He said, "The greatest thing we can desire in life is to align our will to the will of the Lord--to accept His agenda for our lives. He knows everything from the beginning, has a perspective that we don't have, and loves us with an infinite love." I was struggling a lot prior to officially deferring as to whether or not Heavenly Father would desire more for me to serve a mission or to take the steps to potentially starting an eternal family. I was unsure of what "His agenda" was for me in this circumstance. Both were so good - it's almost impossible to go wrong with either of them. Which is why it really came down to me. Yes, I had to keep God a part of it, but I think what I felt the most in deciding is that He was giving me a choice - and I could pick either one and be immensely happy with either of the two options. I really do believe that. I don't think that I will be worse off in deferring or even not ever going on a mission. I feel like there are many people close to me right now that believe that I'm doing the wrong thing by thinking that.
What we sometimes forget is that our relationships with our Father above are too personal to cast judgement on one another's decisions. Our Heavenly Father knows us and our situations so much more than we could ever imagine - or more than anyone else could imagine FOR us. The talk goes on to say that, "The promises of the Lord assure us of our final destination. The itinerary for each of us will vary according to the foreknowledge of God. Our circumstances may change, unexpected events may occur, challenges may arise, but the promises of God to us are assured through our faithfulness." I'm faithful that I'm being guided by a loving Heavenly Father who knows me and my future better than anyone else does. I know that whatever He has planned for me is better than I could ever imagine. Each of our circumstances are so different - I hope we all strive to keep that in mind. Heavenly Father works in our lives so differently according to our needs, personalities, or desires. I know He is anxious to bless us when we do what is right, and I believe that's what He's done and is doing in my life right now.
I met a guy and he changed everything for me. It's difficult for me to write about this, because I still don't know why it happened - it's something I may never fully figure out. But I know that I'm happy. So, so happy. And that's when I know it's right...it's right and it's good. So, so good.