February 8th, 2009. That was the day I decided to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I was 15 years old.
Anytime I told someone I was planning on a mission I was answered with as many variations of "Oh, you won't make it on a mission, you're too pretty, surely you'll get married first," as you can think of.
I stopped telling people.
I accepted that those people were right.
And then I started to believe lies.
I started to believe that maybe I was too pretty.
I started to believe that I would get married.
I started to believe that the Lord didn't need me.
And then I saw my friends getting married.
And then I saw every relationship I tried to be in fall apart.
And then I watched as the guys I dated turned around and married the next girl they met.
I started to believe that if I wasn't married before it was time to serve a mission, I wasn't pretty.
I started to believe that if I wasn't married before it was time to serve a mission, I wasn't smart.
I started to believe that if I wasn't married before it was time to serve a mission, I wasn't good enough.
Lie after lie.
Lies corrupting my self-worth, and I believed them all.
Then they stopped.
I remember it like it was yesterday. October 2nd, 2012. It was Tuesday. At the time I was 19, I was a junior at Brigham Young University-Idaho and there was a guy I really wanted to date. He was non-committal.
I felt frustrated, lost, confused, unsure.
I didn't know what was happening to me. I just wanted to know if things would get better. I wanted to know what I could do to make things better.
I asked a question.
I knew sisters couldn't serve until age 21 but I felt like I needed to ask.
I asked if I was supposed to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I found my answer in The Book of Mormon.
And now, O my son[daughter], ye are called of God to preach the word unto this people. And now, my son [daughter], go thy way, declare the word with truth and soberness, that thou mayest bring souls unto repentance, that the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them. And may God grant unto you even according to my words. Amen." (Alma 42: 31)
2 years? I knew that I could do it. I would graduate with my Bachelors degree 2 weeks before my 21st birthday. I could wait that long to serve. I knew I could and I knew I would because I knew that I was supposed to serve.
It was 4 days later when Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced that the age requirements for young men and young women, desiring and worthy to serve was now 18 for men and 19 for women. The feeling was overwhelming. Again, I could not deny that I was supposed to serve.
I began the process of preparing my papers. I finished my portion in less than 2 days. And then it was time for me to call the doctor's office for a physical, and the dentist's office for an exam. Because I was at school, I looked up the doctor and dentist I usually visit when I am away from home but I could not call them. I tried. I would pick up the phone and dial the number. I could not physically make myself press send. The hesitation concerned me because I had been so sure about my answer.
So, I prayed.
I asked a question. I asked if I was supposed to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I didn't get an answer. There was no "yes," there was no "no," just silence.
So, I prayed.
I asked the question again. Over and over.
Finally, almost exactly 4 years after I decided to serve, on February 24th, 2013, I received an answer. In my journal it reads, "I have been rescued, it is time to find someone to rescue... Don't question what the Lord has told you." That was the day I acted to serve.
In 21 days, I will leave my family for 18 months.
In 21 days, I will serve my mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mesa, Arizona.
I will serve knowing that I am beautiful.
I will serve knowing that the Lord needs me.
I will serve knowing that one day I will get married, and my husband will adore me.
I will serve knowing that I am smart.
I will serve knowing that I am good enough.
I will serve knowing that I have family and friends who support me.
I will serve knowing that I have self-worth.
I will serve knowing that I have, and believe in, truth.
I will serve so that others can find the joy that I have. The joy which only comes through relying on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.