Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Out Beyond This Home So Dear

Perhaps my first significant experience in receiving personal revelation occurred when I was a Senior in high school and I was trying to decide where I should go to college and what I should study.  For weeks on end I fasted and prayed.  I asked the Lord to tell me which school I should attend and in which program I should enroll.  When I didn't receive an answer, I became frustrated.  One night, in near desperation, I poured out my soul in fervent prayer.  I told the Lord that I needed an answer, and that I wanted to do what was right.  Suddenly, my cries were quieted by a gentle, yet overwhelming thought: "I trust you to make the right decision."

My life changed that night when I realized the power that I have over my own life.  So long as I am immersed in living the life of the gospel, in consecrating my time, talents, and efforts to the Lord, I have the right and the power to chart my own course, and the Lord will protect me from any major wrong decision.  And when I take the time to include Him, He takes the time to show me the way.

The next remarkable thought came to me shortly thereafter.   I had been called, that summer, to be a primary teacher in my home ward, but I felt like I ought to attend the singles' ward.  Torn, I took to fasting and praying (and having my mom teach my class so I could attend the other ward).  Then, one fast and testimony meeting, as I again poured out my heart in prayer, a veritable tide of testimony bearers swept onto the stand simultaneously.  The Spirit of God burned within me, and I had my records transferred that day. (And to prove that God has a sense of humor, my first week in my Orem ward, the same thing happened.  I thought, "Ha, ha. Okay, I get it.  I'll have my records transferred.")  I felt or heard, "This is where you belong."

Then again, when I wanted to know whether to Book of Mormon was true, a quiet thought replied, "Haven't you had hundreds of witnesses? Haven't you felt its truth taking hold, working in your life?"  And when I wanted to change my major it was, "If you want to tell your mother's story (and you need to tell your mother's story), you need to change your major."

So when I sat in Sacrament meeting several months ago and sent an ardent petition Heavenward concerning my sincere desire to serve a mission, the thought came, "Those experiences are not yours to have."

That thought made me so sad.

But I couldn't let it lie.

I took that prompting to be my answer, and if God didn't want me to serve a full-time mission, I asked Him to point me in the direction of the alternative one I was to serve.  Yet every conference talk I listened to on the subject, every homecoming I attended, and every scripture that mentioned missionary work brought to my mind an irrefutable sense that I belong in the field.  I wrestled with these two disparate answers to the one weighty prayer I've had in my heart for so long; if those experiences were not mine to have, why do I feel the Spirit so strongly when I listen to talks about missionary work?  If my mission is here, how come I want to talk to the bishop about putting my papers in?  Despair, discouragement, and confusion clouded my mind.

My dad told me that I would make a great missionary.  My bishop insisted that I will never regret serving a mission.  My sister expressed the greatest confidence in me.

The prophets have said that I ought to go.

My most recent experience in receiving personal revelation occurred Sunday afternoon when I answered the call to bear my testimony: "Despite my shortcomings, I can be a great instrument in the hands of the Lord in building the Kingdom of God."

I don't know what these next two years will bring.  I don't know why the mission was wrong for me in May, and is so right for me in November.  I'm terrified out of my mind, but I have heard and felt the call to serve, and knowing how much the Lord loves His children, I must answer.  The Lord has provided all things for me in the past, and as I rise to the occasion and give of my time, talents, and efforts, He will protect, guide, provide for, and love me in ways that I can't comprehend.

I used to always hope they'd call me on a mission, and now the time has come for me to receive a white envelope addressed to Sister Aubrey Anne Warner, to report to the MTC, to say goodbye to my family, and to experience the best (and hardest) two years of my life.

1 comment:

  1. I felt the same way. When i wanted to serve a mission it was not the right choice and then suddenly now is the time and here i go! Just trust the Lord, He will be your guide and protector. If you are truly to serve a mission he will prepare every needful thing. Good luck! You better let me know where you are going!