This past weekend marked the official one month that I have returned home from Rochester, New York to Salt Lake City, Utah, marking the end of my full-time service as a set apart missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
A month ago today, I never would have believed the change I’ve seen in my life since the moment I walked off that plane. Coming back to regular life has been full of excitement, trial, relief, heartache, happiness, struggle, and everything in between. It has been such a wonderful yet bittersweet journey!
I love being able to see my family again. I love being able to communicate often with so many friends that I care about in my life. I love that I’m able to go to college and work toward having a bright future. I love being able to drive around in my car and blast the music to my heart’s content. 😉
But every so often it feels like something is missing.
I miss the little things. I still find myself feeling my right shoulder for my name tag. When I write messages online or on my phone, I still go to turn to my companion for their input and then realize that no one has to proof read what I say. I still have an urge to stand out behind the car to back someone up out of a parking spot. (Haha! Sometimes out of habit I still do and then I realize what I’m doing and awkwardly get in the car and pretend like nothing happened!)
But I also miss the big things. I miss having the increased sense of purpose that comes from knowing exactly what God wants me to do each day. I miss teaching people about Jesus Christ everyday, and helping people know that God is their loving Heavenly Father who wants them to be happy. I miss not having to worry about anything else except for the gospel. I miss going out and hitting the streets of Rochester, talking with everyone I see and sharing with them my testimony of the eternal truths that I would never want to live my life without.
However! I was inspired by Sister Beckham, a leader in the church, who said,
“Remember, we will return to [Heavenly Father] by moving forward, not backward, and in the process we will become changed. Our transitions make possible that change. Every transition, every change, gives us a chance to choose again to have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in the principles of his gospel.”
And so, while a part of my heart still lies in Western New York, I’m thankful that God has given me this time to transition home. Coming home has given me a chance to choose again to have faith in my Savior. I have spent the last almost 19 months of my life helping others to make decisions out of faith in Him, and I’ve realized that now is the time to really put that to the test in my own life.
Besides! We’ve all been given a promise in Alma 37:44, 45:
“Give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss. …For the words of Christ, if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise.”
THAT, my friends, is what I trust in! Whether you are a missionary or not, the words of Christ will always point toward eternal bliss. They will always carry us through life’s transitions and lead us to the greater things of eternity. They will always help us find a sense of purpose, peace, and direction in our life. Why? Because our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, will always love us and they will never leave us alone.
So go out! Like my stake president said, “You are never released from being a disciple of Jesus Christ.”
Name-tag or no name-tag, go help someone find the Lord today! 😀