Monday, July 8, 2013

Cold Feet?

Cold feet. Apparently "everyone gets them."

My decision to serve a mission was probably unlike many of my fellow 18 and 19 year-old deciding Sisters. In October 2012 when President Monson made "the announcement" hundreds of young girls were filled with the Spirit; brought to tears with the eagerness to serve. I, on the other hand, had these very thoughts, "Aww, how great for all those girls.  I bet they're all so happy, I'm sure they'll make a huge difference. Well, time to doze off again..." Sorry, I wasn't one of those super stallion Sisters thrashing at the starting gate. A couple of days later, when the excitement had begun to subside I thought, you know, maybe I should ask Heavenly Father and just make sure he's okay with me not going. After much prayer and studying of my Patriarchal blessing, which in no way suggests missionary service, I received confirmation that the Lord did indeed approve of my decision to not serve a mission. I nonchalantly asked my bishop what he thought of that and I gleaned that the Lord has an individualized plan for each of his children. Some will serve well on a mission, and some will serve equally as well at home. There are lives to be touched everywhere. (Even in Utah.) Suh-weet! 

A few months later, on exactly January 21, 2013 the Lord helped change my mind. It is not uncommon for me to lie awake at night reviewing my day, worrying about the future, etc., but this night was particularly stressful. Maybe it was the start of a new semester at the Lord's university (Utah State that is) or maybe the Diet Coke I drank too close to bedtime. I prayed that my mind would be at ease. Nothing changed. My train of thought veered into the "what if" stage, where I fantasize and daydream and eventually fall asleep. This night, the subject of my daydreaming was "what if" I served a mission. Then the impression came to pray again. It was strong and deliberate. I prayed again, but this time I asked if He was trying to tell me to reconsider a mission (to which I was opposed.) I then received another strong and deliberate impression to re-read my Patriarchal blessing right in those wee hours of the night. Before I could even finish reading I was an emotional wreck. I have never been so overcome by the Spirit of God, never felt so loved, so important, and so determined to serve a mission. It was like the words on that page read entirely different for just that one night. All signs pointed GO. I accepted this grand personal revelation and miraculously fell asleep. The next morning I was a little bit in denial. I kept praying, "Why me? You said I didn't have to just a few months ago? Are you positively sure you're asking the right person?" Eventually I gathered up the nerve to tell my mom, and only her, and swear her to secrecy. (I still wasn't convinced this should go public just yet haha.) The thing is, I knew that I was called to serve by the Lord himself, and that this was part of my divine purpose on Earth, but other forces were reminding me of how many other plans I had for the next two years! 

Within a week, I was 100 million percent committed to serving a mission. I had never been so sure of, or so excited for anything in my whole life! I finished my papers in one day and submitted them exactly 120 days prior to my 19th birthday. #onpoint. I received the call to serve in the Ohio Cleveland Mission at the Historic Kirtland Visitors Center! Yay we all knew that...anyway, it has been so enlightening preparing to serve, but the closer it gets the more I forget about that burning manifestation I had in January. So sad! 

As hard as it is to admit, I have really been struggling with the temptation to not serve a mission. You read right. After all the Lord has shown me how could I even let that thought into my mind! Again, I knew I needed to serve because I received such a powerful affirmation that it was the right choice for me, but it seemed like there was so much that kept popping up that makes me want to stay! It's all so silly really. And to think of what a comparatively small sacrifice it is for me to serve! How dare I? Haha! Word is, a lot of people get cold feet, but you just have to remember why you made the decision in the first place. My mother counseled me to never turn back on a decision made by the Spirit and to discern where every prompting was coming from.

I don't know what others' experiences were in the aftermath of "the announcement" but surprisingly I found myself in the midst of bitter young men and women throwing around words like "band-wagoners" and "fad." I would exactly call serving a full-time mission a fad, but nonetheless there was a lot of unexpected negativity towards young Sisters. (I think I know who was behind it.) Recently I was talking to a guy (who shall remain anonymous) and my choice to serve mission came up. He proceeded to go on about how it's not girls' responsibility to serve missions, they are supposed to stay home and get married, and that when it comes to starting a family or serving a mission girls are supposed to be married. He goes on to say that I have plenty of time to get married before I leave, suggesting that would be the best life plan for me, and just really ripping into me. According to him my duty is to mill around and wait to get married. 

Like there isn't a place for Sisters in the mission field? What? I don't know if he was just bitter, or insecure, or maybe he had good intentions, but it was still hurtful and made me second-guess my purpose and self worth. 

My current words for him and anyone else (including Satan) who tries to dissuade me from serving the Lord: I will do whatever I darn well please! On top of that, he has the nerve to ask me out 7 different times after that. You'd think after the first 6 denials he'd get a clue and stop asking. I refuse to date someone who doesn't support my righteous desires and who tries to dissuade me from my own personal revelation.

 I was introduced to this quote by the current SLC Mission President's wife, allegedly by President Hinckley, and it really gave me comfort after hearing so many negative words. 

I have the desire to serve the Lord, I know that he has guided my decision, and I know he will bless me. I believe that the Lord will continue to send little boys to this earth who will become part of that Priesthood Army. When the Lord calls me to be a mother, I want to be strong enough and worthy of raising and teaching these young Priesthood holders and daughters of God, as my mother has been and her mother before. With an eternal perspective, eighteen months is such an insignificant amount of time, but with hard work I know it can yield significant eternal happiness to those who are prepared to receive it. Keeping this in mind as well as the unmistakeable answer to my prayer in January, has helped me regain my focus. The temptation is still there and it has never been harder to ignore. There are a million reasons for me to stay home, get married, finish school, etc. (believe me I'd love to) and only one reason for me to serve a mission. But that one reason is powerful. 

The Lord has asked me to, and so I will.

In Relief Society today I came across Deuteronomy 5:27. It is the response of Moses' people after receiving the 10 Commandments,

 "Go thou near, and hear all that the Lord our God shall say: and speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear it, and do it." 

It's so simple! "We will hear it, and do it." I have heard the Lord's will for me through the Holy Ghost, and I am going to do it. 

Surround yourself with those who encourage, inspire, and uplift you, with spiritual supporters and loving friends and family. If you chose to serve an honorable mission you will change lives forever and help build the Kingdom of Heaven. If that was ever on your bucket list, feel free to check it off ;) With the proper faith and companionship you will do amazing things, I just know it (:

What do you think? Questions? Comment below!

I love this talk on personal revelation! 

"There are many spirits which are false spirits. There can be counterfeit revelations, promptings from the devil, temptations! As long as you live, in one way or another the adversary will try to lead you astray...If ever you receive a prompting to do something that makes you feel uneasy, something you know in your mind to be wrong and contrary to the principles of righteousness, do not respond to it!" -Personal Revelation: The Gift, the Test, and the Promise Boyd K. Packer

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

I Thought I Liked Shopping...

Shopping for clothes had it's ups and downs, as do a lot of things in life. I am blessed to afford to meet my needs in every way, but I wasn't super impressed with the availability of cute, missionary appropriate, and affordable clothes. Going on a mission is voluntary; in fact, you have to pay to go! I am not in the business of spending a fortune on a whole new wardrobe. Before I went "missionary shopping" I had this little theory of mine engrained in my brain:
However, I was pleasantly surprised with the haul I came home with. I managed to break my way into the "highly unlikely" category mentioned above. Here's what I did:

I stopped by one of the most ironic stores ever on a recent trip to Provo. It's called Sexy Modest...enough said. I bought a pencil skirt, a maxi skirt (just to wear before I leave), and a blouse. The hem and side stitching came out in the skirt after one wear, the maxi skirt is practically see through now and ball-y all over, and the stitching in the sleeves of the blouse ripped out after one trip to church. Needless to say, I won't be going back...but I still want to take that blouse because it's so cute! 

Next, I went to various outlet stores. I am on the taller end, so I didn't have much luck finding skirts in stores like Ann Taylor or Gap, but I did get a couple of really well made button down shirts at Banana Republic. They were a good investment for me because they will last for a while, and I love the look! #winning Down East Basics has a really great selection of longer skirts and cute tops. I got a big portion of my pieces there. I tried not to get too many things there because some of their things seem to fall apart rather quickly. One thing from Down East that is great to stock up on are the Wonder Tees. You can get them a lot of different places. They are the perfect layering tees and are a great way to increase modesty.

I was super excited to go to The Sister Missionary Mall because I was hoping it would be a one stop shop. Sadly it wasn't, but I did get some fun pieces there and everything is missionary appropriate! A really cool feature they have at The Sister Missionary Mall are binders of surveys from RM Sisters. There is a binder for every continent and a section for every mission. It was so cool to read about my specific mission from someone who had served there! I learned more about the climate, things to remember, and quirky things you normally wouldn't think to bring. A lot of the Sisters left there contact information on the survey just in case you had any more questions! I spent most of my budget at Mikarose (thanks for the suggestion Meredith and Cynthia!) While I was hesitant to enter the store, I found the perfect black pencil skirt and a really cute blazer at Dress Barn. I would have never guessed!

At this point I felt really confident in my array of clothing, but I wanted some advice from the experts. I took a trip to Temple Square and had a brief chat with the awesome Sisters there. Their advice to me was so perfect I don't know why I didn't think of it in the first place! They said to look at the DI and to look at Target and Wal-Mart.


I took a good look at the DI, but couldn't find much in my size. The great thing about the DI is that there are new things every day, and different things in every location! I will definitely keep looking (: I got a couple staple cardigans at Target and great exercise clothes.

The biggest challenges I came across were:
1. Skirt length
2. Tight fit
3. Learning to buy what's best for my body type
4. Not finding what I was looking for
5. Focusing on buying missionary clothes and not all the cute summer clothes

Luckily, all of these challenges could be overcome! I am still on the hunt for a great khaki pencil skirt, shoes, boots, and some winter things. Come fall, I'll be ready to go!

The best advice I have is:
1.  a) Start at the DI, Ross, Savers, etc.
    b) Then Wal-Mart and Target,
    c) Then Sister Missionary Mall, Mika Rose, and Down East and stores like that.
2. Wear a layering tee. It's so helpful when you're trying on shirts to save a cute shirt that might have been overlooked due to questionable modesty.
3. Take your amazing mother if possible ;) So fun!

Any other suggestions?! What do you think? Share your thoughts and comment below!

“No matter how plain a woman may be, if truth and honesty are written across her face, she will be beautiful.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

Click HERE for the secret to always looking beautiful!

I've heard that people are like onions, with layers of themselves. I would rather be a matryoshka doll... Pretty on the inside. You can have all the clothes in the world, but it's what's inside that counts (: