10.14.2012

His Plan for Me

{Pretty insta I took of the Logan Tabernacle today that has nothing to do with this post.}
General Conference was wonderful, as I already mentioned. And, obviously, the announcement of the new missionary age was historic and so exciting. It was amazing to be sitting in my parents' family room and hear Pres. Monson make the announcement. I found myself getting emotional, even though it didn't affect me specifically. I was overwhelmed with the spirit and knew with all my heart that Pres. Monson is a prophet of God. I also felt it reaffirmed to me that God speaks through His servants. And that the church is true. 

Well, the announcement was kind of a big deal for my family - my 19 year old sister has already essentially finished her papers and had an interview with my dad (he's the bishop of our home ward).  I also have 5 cousins who will be leaving within the next year if all goes as planned.  I'm so thrilled for them.  As we had our traditional after-conference testimony meeting all together, I was so impressed with the things they said and their maturity (including those 3 goofy high-school-senior boys) and their willingness to serve the Lord.

Even though I really am happy for them, I had a little bit of a hard time with this announcement.  This was in part because of the fact that my family is taking a mass exodus outta here and I'll miss them SO much, but also because I wish I could go with them.  Having just turned 21 (the previous age for sister missionaries) in June, I considered a mission as my birthday rolled around.  But as I prayed and pondered then and have done so again now, I have felt like a mission is not what I'm supposed to be doing at this point in my life.

I'm so close to being done with college and I have absolutely NO idea what I'm going to do once it's over, job-wise or otherwise. Lots of people tell me the reason I feel like I'm not supposed to serve a mission is because I'm going to find my husband. But, considering I'm not even close to marriage (aka I'm single and ready to mingle, ha) I'm not so sure. It's terrifying, having absolutely no idea what's going to happen next. And yes, my sister and cousins will undoubtedly have to face similar things at some point in the future, but I'm jealous that they get to delay those big life decisions for a little bit. Not that a mission isn't incredibly hard, but goodness. This is another one of those times that I wish Heavenly Father would just tell me, straight up, what to do. I would do it, no question!

That's why, in this conference, the thing that really stuck out to me was "be the person God wants you to become." I heard it several times, and I felt like this is what I need to focus on in my life right now.  I need to turn my life over to the Lord and let him guide and inspire me into what I'm supposed to do next, because I literally have no idea whatsoever. I'm truly grateful that I have a Heavenly Father who can guide me, through the spirit, onto the path I need to take.

I'm also blessed with incredibly supportive family that stand behind my decisions. My parents are amazing, and one of my uncles and my cousin went above and beyond in helping me feel loved, even though I'm not one of the "missionary clan" as I'm now going to call them. On Sunday they simply shared their love for me, and I don't know if they realize how much it meant to me. My sweet cousin also sent me the nicest email on Monday with some wonderful advice. I got it while I was in class and I started crying when I read this part (so I had to stop reading and finish it when I got home):

I just wanted to tell you how brave and faithful I think you are.  While knowing you should serve a mission is scary too, there is something very calming and consoling knowing what the Lord has in store for you and maybe why your social life up until that point was the way it was. It is hard to have the answer for you be that it's not right and still be left with what feels like a pitch-black unknown in your future.  I know that you know that Heavenly Father is mindful of you and what He wants for you, cling to that knowledge.

It was exactly what I needed. Thanks, Michelle. :) I really am blessed, even though it seems like my life is completely up in the air after December 2013.  For now, I'm working on turning my life over to the Lord. And trusting in His will and timing. And being the person He wants me to be.  I have faith that there's a reason (perhaps many reasons, and probably reasons that I can't even imagine) I'm not supposed to serve a mission right now. God has a plan for me, and I'm working on figuring out what that is.

6 comments:

Catherine said...

Okay, how in the world did you know this is exactly what I needed to read right now? I am so grateful for your wisdom and words, Ashley. You are the best and I'm so grateful for your faith and example. I know that God will bless you for your faith, goodness, talents, and you will reap so many blessings for following His will for you...now and your whole life. Love you, Ashley!!

PS: Hope you don't mind I'm putting a link to this post in my blog tomorrow. Thanks so much for this post.

The Southworths said...

Beautiful post. You're such a strong lady! Live the questions...that's where you find the answers. I have found this to be especially the last 3 years. As long as you stay close to the Lord He will always guide you, even if it doesn't feel like it right now.

Lauren Baker said...

I love you Ashley! You're seriously the best. Unfortunately, I think we are all a little too good at wishing we were in someone else's shoes. To be honest, there's been a couple nights the past week that they idea of a mission absolutely freaks me out. But I know that if we just put our lives in God's hands and trust that everything is going to work out, it will. And hey, at least we're not all going to leaving at the exact same time. You'll probably lose us one at a time. And 18 months isn't that long. Only like 550 days....

kylee said...

so i came over from catherine's blog and i am sooo glad i did. "I need to turn my life over to the Lord and let him guide and inspire me into what I'm supposed to do next"... that line in your post, that is what hit me, that is what i knew i needed to read today. thank you.

Elsha.Rae said...

ok wow you have such a way with words. loved this and thanks for all that you had to say, it was exactly what i needed to read!

MicheLLe said...

I feel kind of embarrassed that I'm just seeing your post, last week was a bit out of control since Lee decided to take a week long break from naps...You are great and as Elder Scott said;


"...The challenges you face, the growth experiences you encounter, are intended to be temporary scenes played out on the stage of a life of continuing peace and happiness. Sadness, heartache, and disappointment are events in life. It is not intended that they be the substance of life. I do not minimize how hard some of these events can be. ***When the lesson you are to learn is very important, trials can extend over a long period of time,*** but they should not be allowed to become the confining focus of everything you do. Your life can and should be wondrously rewarding."
(The Atonement Can Secure Your Peace and Happiness) (emphasis added..by me.)
You are going to make it in the best possible way. Love you Ashley.