So, I've been struggling a lot lately with what I should do after I graduate. I've been praying and praying and have really gotten no firm answers. I've felt good about BYU-I, but in all my praying, I finally came to the real conclusion this morning. I've been avoiding it because there are some hurdles standing in my way and...I'm scared. It's so funny that I am scared of what I know I should do, but I am. I guess I'm just scared because it was never part of my plan (that and I have kept telling everyone for years that I wouldn't do it, that I didn't feel like I should.)
I'm talking about serving a mission. Here, however, are my hurdles to making this a possibility... 1) I don't have any money saved up to do this. 2) I have a little over $1000 in credit card debt and 3) I also will have (by the time I graduate) about $45,000 in student loan debt, and last but not least, 4) I am worried about my family. Things have gotten better than they were in the last few years, I don't want to go into too much description, but let's just say things were a mess for a while.; Sometimes, I worry that if I go too far away, that everything will crash and burn.
It was so nice to be with them all this weekend. Amber and I both agreed that, for a while, it seemed like we were all kids again. It was true, its so funny to see how none of us have really changed- we all are still who we were when we were little, only this time, we're better. I don't want any of that to change.
So, here I sit. I sit, and I wonder. I don't want to have any regrets when I stand before my God on judgement day. I don't want to wander aimlessly anymore, hoping that I am making the right decision when I really know what the right decision is. But how do I do this? How can I make it possible? Its not like I have a rich uncle or patron who would be willing to fork over zillions of dollars. I know that hurdle #2 can be easily overcome by me, in fact, I'd already planned on being out of credit card debt by the time I graduate, its just hurdle #3 and #4 that are keeping me concerned. I'm also worried that I am too old. I worry that my family will think that the only reason I am going is because I just can't seem to find Mr. Right...but that wouldn't be my reason at all.
I have such a strong testimony. I'm not trying to boast or be prideful...but when you consider where I've come from, the transformation can't be denied as remarkable. I have my own Alma the younger story, I think in a small way, we all do. I wasted so much time being mad at God because of the death of my father...I never really was hurting him as much as I was hurting myself. Thank God for his wisdom and for people willing to work and be tools in his hands. Thank God for a feeble testimony that grew with a small scripture passage "Oh, is it not true?" I feel like the Grinch in a way...my testimony grew 3 sizes that day...
Okay, and now I'm rhyming...
All I can say is that I know that I worked for the cause of free agency before I came to this earth. I know that I continue to work for this cause in my own way, but I have a feeling that there are many friends that I was parted from in the pre-existence who begged me to help them when they knew that they wouldn't be born into a home with the gospel. I need to find them, I need to help them. In a way, I feel like to make up for all the time I wasted being angry with God I need to be like Alma the Younger, and dedicate my life to him. Its strange isn't it? When God gives you a commandment that seems insurmountable....I am so overwhelmed right now that I am shaking. I really don't know to do or where to start.
I worry that leaving means that I am giving up on things that I have been working for in school and in life. I know God will find a way to use my talents, he always does. I just don't know if I am really prepared for this, but I know I have to do this. As surely as I know the Gospel is true, I know that I have to do this!
How can it not be true? It makes too much sense! I can answer questions that some people search their whole life to find the answer to... Who am I? I am a spirit daughter of Heavenly Father, he loves me dearly. Where am I going? Temporally, I may not know that answer all the time, but I have faith that a loving Father in Heaven will lead me down the right path. As far as where I will ultimately end up, I pray that it will be to dwell in my Father's presence in the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom. I pray that I will be like him and my brother Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. I have been anointed in the temple to be a Queen and Priestess in Heaven. I know that if I remain faithful to my covenants that this will be so. Why are we here? That is the easy part- we are here to learn, we are here to exercise free agency. If you really like to be annoying, we are here to thwart Lucifer's plan. Through sin and transgression, Lucifer (Satan) fights to take away our free agency as he had planned to do in the counsel in heaven. The choices we make are only really free until the point that we choose, when we choose to sin, Satan wins and then you have no agency, you become a bound to that sin and to him.
I know that I believe in the words of God. I believe that the bible is true, as far as it is translated correctly, and I believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. I believe that through feasting on the words of God, you feed your spirit and can draw the Holy Ghost more closer to you, he will be a constant companion if you let him. I know that God loves and takes care of his children, he may not give you all the answers or all you ask for at the very minute you ask him, but with patience and with an understanding that He has his own purpose for you and He has his own timeline, an eternal timeline, you can be content and realize that he gives you more than you bargained for...you just have to look around to find it. I believe in the words of prophets, ancient and modern day. It doesn't make sense to believe that a loving God would leave us only with the bible and say "that's enough, figure it out for yourselves!" He still speaks to us today, through 15 wonderful men who sit at the head of Christ's true church, all who are sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators. Only one of them may have the authority to fully exercise those keys, but just think of how close to the spirit they must be to have that mantle placed on them? I know that Thomas S. Monson is a true and living prophet. I know he exercises those keys of authority through the power of God and that his words are true and helpful. I know that as we listen to the prophet and the apostles, as we take their counsel into our lives and use it, our lives will become easier. It is so much easier to lead a Christ centered life. People often say, "you don't really have any freedom,the church tells you what to do." No...no... the church gives us commands from God and we choose to obey, we choose freedom or we choose captivity at that hands of Satan...who is not a gentle master. I don't know about all of you, but I would rather be free than be a slave to worldy vices at the hands of Satan. I see it in my own family at times, and it isn't fun. Oh, how I long for the day when I can see family members who allow themselves to be slaves to Satan break free from their bonds and chains. Its so funny, because some of them haven't really done anything wrong, they allow their spouses to bind them down and have lost faith in themselves as children of God, and in the Saviour and his redeeming love. EVERYTHING and I do mean EVERYTHING is possible through the Savior and his Atoning Sacrifice. If you don't believe me, just read the Book of Mormon. The Atonement goes so much deeper than just being a sacrifice for our sins. Its redeeming power extends into every corner of our lives if we will have the faith to let it.
I guess I just need to exercise faith. If serving a mission is what I need to do, God will make it happen somehow. He will help me find the way to jump over the hurdles that are in front of me and see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have to let go of things and let him take the reigns, which is not easy for me. I have a need to control things and plan everything out, I pray for the strength to let go and have faith.
This is my humble testimony and prayer. I leave it in the name of my Brother, Saviour, and Redeemer, even Jesus Christ, Amen.
Please be praying for me as I try to figure out how to make this possible. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to bless me with them.