January marked my 5 year anniversary from staying home from my mission to get married. I have a cousin who just made the same choice and we talked on the phone a lot about my experience and how and why I did. So it thought I would share some of my thoughts and what I have learned from staying home.
I think one of the hardest things to learn in life, at least for me, is to get out of my own way and let the Lord do the directing and follow His way. The scriptures tell us that what Heavenly Father really wants for us is that we might have joy (2 Nephi 2: 25). And the Lord’s plan is the Plan of Happiness, so it would make sense that the direction He gives us, like to get married, is the option that will bring us the most happiness.
(me receiving my mission call. pretty darn happy)
The Lord’s life plan for me
When I started college my plan was to go to school, go on a mission, finish school, then whatever the next step was; graduate school, marriage, I was open for suggestions and opportunities. I wanted to go on a mission with all my heart for as long as I can remember. But my plan was clearly not the Lord’s plan for me. I spent a lot of time on my knees and in the temple seeking God’s will and he changed “my plan” a lot. My plan went from going on a mission to “Not Yet… Apply to Law School” So I prepared everything to apply to law school. After I was all ready to apply He told me to go on a mission and drop going to law school. Confused but eager I turned in my papers and recieved my mission call to Raleigh, North Carolina. Then I received the revelation to stay home and get married. The crazy road map of my earliery twenties gave new meaning to Isaiah “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways” (Isaiah 55:8–9). Do you trust him enough to walk with Him?
Time makes everything better
When you seek to follow the Lord’s plan for your life, your decisions may shock or upset your family and friends. You may be like me, and be slightly resistant to the promptings you receive because it’s not what YOU wanted. Or also like me, I didn’t want my family to forever see my boyfriend as the reason I stayed home. The good news is life moves on. Potential tense family moments that surround your decision will fade. Your boy will not stay as “the reason you stay home” he can become “the reason of why you are so happy.” Choose to let your life to move forward after you make the decision to stay home- embrace new additions to your identity -For me: wife, partner, student, breadwinner, mother, etc. There is this weird perception that your life ends after marriage, and whatever you could have gained on a mission, or being single in college is now shut to you like learning languages, traveling the world, and strengthening your testimony. THIS IS FALSE. You can learn to speak another language, learn professional skills, travel to far off places and gain tender sacred spiritual experiences with the eternal companion you choose, AND YOU SHOULD! You have your whole life ahead of you.
(me getting married. very very happy)
Bloom where you are planted
For me, once I made the decision to stay home, I made a promise to my self and to Marc that I would never look back on it. I never would say, “oh I wish I had gone.” or hold it against him. I made the decision to stay and no one forced my hand. I stayed because I love him and that was the direction I received. You should be marrying your best friend, and know that even though not every day easy, you can choose to be happy and love the life you choose.
A different kind of life experience
Missions are wonderful and they provide great life experience. But the experience is not a requirement to have a great life. And I really believed that the life experience that a mission provides was imperative and totally necessary for me to be able to be a good and successful adult, wife and eventual mother. The truth is, that is not true. Marriage is nothing but life experience. And you can grow up together and learn how to grocery shop, budget, pray, teach each other the gospel, forgiveness, love, and so much fun.
(me with my little family. most happy)
Additional scriptures and talks
- 1 Nephi 17:13: “And I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led.
- Hymn 164
Silently we pray, for courage to accept thy will, to listen and obey.
We love thee Lord; Our hearts are full.We’ll walk they chosen way
- The Lord’s Way by Elder Stanley Ellis.
- Abiding in God and Repairing the Breach by Sister Neill Marriott.
- The Adventure of Mortality by Elder Uchtdorf and Sister Harriet Uchtdorf (she is SO cute. If you don’t already love her, you will after listening to this talk.)
The decision to stay home has been the best decision I have made. I had no idea then, how lucky I am to have Marc. He is my best friend and I love him with all my heart and we are so happy together.
If you are considering staying home, I would give you the advice I got when Marc and I were sealed, “if you have questions or life choices to make do not take them to your parents or your friends they all have biases for what they want for your life. Spend time on your knees and in the temple and the Holy Ghost, who has no bias, he will help you know what the Lord’s plan is for you. And the Lord plan will bring you the most happiness.”
*Disclaimer- I think missions are amazing, but they are not for everyone. And staying home is not for everyone. This is simply my story.