The past two years of my life have brought many ups and downs. There have been huge trials and huge miracles. Some of them I've written about or hinted at on this blog, but most of them have been quiet, personal journeys. Only my Savior, my Heavenly Father, and I will ever know just how much I have been affected and changed by the experiences I've had. I'm grateful for the closeness with them that brings. I know that will always be a silver lining of life. Today I want to share a little bit about my journey lately.
I won’t go into the details of my decision, because there have been too many emotions and thoughts to even start (I tried), but I’ve decided to delay my mission indefinitely. Trust me when I say I’ve thought long and hard about this. It’s been one of my more difficult decisions because of all the different factors and considerations, and most challenging because of my deep desire for the experience of a full-time mission. I know everyone will have their opinion, but after much prayer, counsel, and pondering, I have decided that not going is what is best for me considering my health and other factors.
I do not think for one second that I have a hard life. I am so blessed and I am so grateful for what I have, where I am at, and the people in my life. But I would be lying if I don’t relate how disappointed I’ve felt over this decision. The past two years have been really difficult and I can’t count the times I have had to give up “Plan A” (& B, C, D) because of my health. Going on a mission was something I’ve dreamed of doing so obviously I was crushed and still feel sad about it sometimes. It hurts to have goals and hopes go unfulfilled. Everyone has felt that or will feel it at some point. I think we can acknowledge the pain of it more, because it can be really hard.
As disappointing as it was and often still is, I have felt great peace over my decision. For a long time I hated that I felt peace about it. Sometimes I wish I could just suck it up and will that to be enough, but for whatever reason, the Lord hasn’t seen fit to heal me yet. And ultimately, I’m okay with that. Because I believe that He could heal my headaches right now if that was in my best interest. I know He has a plan for me because He loves me. Right now, that plan does not include my headaches going away or me going on a mission.
The pain has been a reminder that God knows what He’s doing. That may seem backwards – I’ve called Him out a time or two on that assumption – but I feel quite sure that He lets me feel it because it draws me closer to Him. God doesn’t want us to suffer, but He allows it because it refines and defines us. This life is to help us become like Him and that requires a certain amount of disappointment, suffering, sorrow, and pain. It’s a struggle and everyday I wish that the pain would go away, there’s no lying about that, but everyday it isn’t gone, I discover something else to be thankful for. I have learned more from this chronic pain than I have ever thought possible. I’m learning who I really am at my core, not just what I do. Those things have been, to a large extent, taken away. I can’t dance, run, learn, play, study, the way I used to. I sometimes mourn the old me, but mostly I’m so grateful for a better understanding of who I am, what’s truly important, and what God cares about. I believe that one day we will look back at all we’ve been through and be grateful for it all because we will know our Savior better. There is a greater purpose to this life than we can see!
So, while it's been hard and difficult to accept, I am grateful for the past month and the answers that have come. I look back at myself - banging on a door I wanted opened, wondering if there was anyone behind it. I know that there was, but He knows which doors to open and which ones to keep shut. I was starting to have faith in the door instead of the man behind it. I think at some point, I will look back and understand the whys and thank Him for not opening that door, at least not on my timetable.
“Doors close regularly in our lives, and some of those closings cause genuine pain and heartache. But I do believe that where one such door closes, another door opens (and perhaps more than one), with hope and blessings in other areas of our lives that we might not have discovered otherwise.” – President Howard W. Hunter
God knows what He’s doing even when we have no clue what we are doing!
And now for a little humor, because what is life without it??
What are my plans now?
I'm loving the little things lately - quality time with family, going to the temple, raking leaves with my dad, going to lunch with my grandpa, enjoying the fall weather (the little things are really the big things). I’m working and spending the holidays at home. Then I’m excited to go back to school in January and try to finish my last semester or two at BYU. But who knows where life will take me!
Despite disappointments, it's still a great life we live, huh?!