My dear friend Jacquel got home from her mission yesterday. We've spent a lot of time together talking about her mission--that was still happening just yesterday--and it has caused me to reflect on mine. What it meant to me and the impact that it will continue to have on my life.
I had a hard time when I first got home when people would ask me, "So how was your mission?". I don't have the dictionary memorized but I can assure you there is no one word answer that would accurately answer that question for you. It was hard, beautiful, fun, heart-breaking, humbling, strengthening, wonderful, etc. Someone once told me that your mission will come with its tailor made challenges for you. I had struggles and saw challenges that I had not forseen happening. But I also learned more about myself, the gospel, and my testimony by the many difficult experiences that taught me so much.
In several things, it wasn't quite what I was expecting. It's kind of like what I was saying many-a-post ago in my "parable of the chef". I thought I knew what I wanted my mission to be and what to expect. But at the end of the day, I can't and won't be anything but grateful for what the Lord gave me. It taught me so much and made me rely on the Lord at a level that never would have been possible if I'd just been granted my mission expectations. How would He ever be able to show me what I'm made of if my mission was challenge free? When I was in the MTC someone asked us if we knew how much God loved us. She said that if we didn't know, we should go back to our rooms that night and ask Him. I remember orginally thinking, "Well sure God loves me. He loves everyone." At the time it was a basic fact--something I'd learned in primary. But I remember specific prayers uttered during my mission when needing to know, once more, of His love and plan for me would be what kept me going. I think at a certain time I felt I had unanswered reasons in my search for purpose behind the situations we were facing. At times it maybe even left a bad taste in my mouth. But I look back and see that God is the one who has a very clear idea of who I am, what I can do, and who I will be.
It is His vision of who I am that I'll be trusting. He knows me the most, is aware of my capabilities, and has the purest vision when it comes to looking at me and seeing who I am. Of all people in my life, I want to see what He sees when He looks at me. Because it doesn't really matter what anyone else sees. His vision is clear. His purposes are there. And only in increasing my trust in Him can I truly take the steps toward sees myself and my potential as He does. I am happy with who I am because God has shown me through both blessings and challenges that I am good. I'm grateful that I see that. I think everyone should see their own goodness. I love love loved my mission. I'm thankful that it wasn't easy. I'm thankful that it pushed my limits. I'm thankful that it taught me how to truly love people. I'm thankful that I have the gospel and was blessed with opportunity to share it. It brought me heart-ache. It brought me joy. It brought me closer to Him. I know it will continue to bless my life and help me to improve as I reflect on what I've learned and live according to the knowledge that I have.