Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Choosing Not to Serve is Heartbreaking

But leaving my husband for 18months was even more so.

Almost one year ago I declined my mission call and decided to make the choice that was happier for my life. 

It was the hardest decision I have ever made and at that point I didn't know that 6months later I would be married. 

My husband and I had dated for around 18months at that point and my serving a mission was a clear goal throughout.

Finish university, serve a mission. He would wait and we'd figure it out on my return. And while I was gone he would finish university and have time to start building up his career. 

Logical, right? 

I started my mission papers way earlier than needed, studied Preach my Gospel, spent a lot of time thinking about and preparing for the temple (I was so excited and nervous for that day to finally come), hours pinning on pinterest all the stylish outfits that a missionary could possibly wear so I didn't have to fall into that stereotype of horrible shoes and pioneer style skirts and basically getting excited. 

On my 21st birthday I had my final interview with my stake president that meant my papers could be submitted. It felt so right and exciting. Sure I was sad to be leaving my boyfriend (as Bernard was at the time) but my heart was set and marriage seemed like such a crazy far off notion. I certainly wasn't old enough or done enough cool life things first. 

He was supportive, kind and we were absolutely in love with each other, but we both felt that a mission was something I should do and so the Lord comes first (always) as we knew his desires for us will bless our lives and mould us into the best versions of ourselves. 

The call took much longer than expected to arrive (ten weeks) and I know that the Lord was giving me time to reconsider and feel direction through the Holy Ghost. I began to feel paralysed at the thought of leaving, unhappy, confused, conflicted and lost. Before my call even arrived. 

I was so confused, I was living the commandments, trying my best and working towards a righteous goal. I wanted to give up 18months of my live to help others and do His work. Why didn't I feel that peace or excitement anymore? 

My call arrived, with a departure date that was 4weeks away!!

I couldn't do it. I kept going back and forth with my decision and that almost torn Bernard & I apart. 

I was giving him the option of a future together now, or leaving. 

Long story short. I stayed.
(Read about the horrible month and insane decision making process here: "My Mission Call Arrived and I'm not Going")

We went on to get married and were able to go through the temple together. 

With Bernard being an 'older' convert and this whole experience, neither of us have served a mission and for a while I was terrified that our family would suffer because of it. That somehow we would be doing our future children an injustice. A fear that ate at me while I tried to decide what to do. I felt a sense of duty to them. But we followed what we know to be true. 

So many prayers, fasting, heartbreak and love went into that choice. That even now, I feel it everyday. 

So often I am reminded of what I have missed out on that it is easy to look past what I have gained. I have an incredible husband who puts our family before anything else and loves God. We were able to experience going through the temple together for the first time and that was so sacred and special, I cannot imagine having had that experience without him. 

While practicing taking our vows at our wedding rehearsal, I looked across at him with tears in my eyes so incredibly full of the Holy Spirit. It was so unexpected. I know that Heavenly Father has blessed our union and that we made a choice that will bless us and our family to come.

Going through such an experience only made us stronger as individuals, as a couple and in our testimonies. 

One year on I struggle with everyday fulfilment, I certainly don't have a graduate job and I've lost a lot of confidence. But I am happy in my marriage which I know will last forever and I am immensely grateful to get to experience this kind of love.

At times I count the amount of months I would have currently been on my mission for, which is silly and painful but I almost want to compare what I have done with my time vs what could have been. It is so easy to ponder on what could have been and feel that painful twist of the knife and take for granted my wonderful husband and our very happy marriage. 

The biggest emotion that stopped me from serving was the literal heartbreak and physical pain I felt at leaving him. I knew I could suffer through it if a mission was one million billion percent right but the Lord gave the choice to me and I physically could not go.

It's been a year of emotions. 
The biggest sorrows I have ever felt and the biggest joys. 

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