Leaving my hometown of Gardnerville, NV and heading somewhere totally different and making a new life for myself was what I had always dreamed of. But when the tuition was too expensive and the money didn’t come through, my plans had to change. This was,unknowingly, the first of many changes in my plans that would take place over the next three years. I ended up going to Utah State University Eastern, a little shootoff of Utah State University, located in Price, UT. I met good people, and I enjoyed the first semester, but I didn’t feel like it was right for me. When spring semester came around, I had moved to Salt Lake City and was attending LDS Business College. The second change. This semester was really good and really hard all at the same time. I met friends that still remain some of my closest friends today, I had a really good job as a nanny, my brother and sister-in-law lived 15 minutes from me, and I did very well in school. Yet despite these truths, I felt alone. And little did I know, that feeling of loneliness would linger for the next few years. The next semester I began attending the University of Utah, still in Salt Lake City. This was my plan all along once I decided to move to Salt Lake so we won’t count this as a change. This school was good to me. I found the major I was interested in, found good people, and I learned a lot. Yet outside of school, I still felt lost. Fast forward to the end of 2014 and I am applying to transfer to a different school in Utah, but I end up staying at the U because things weren’t working out with the transfer. Go six more months down the road and I decide to live at home for the summer, the first time I’ve been at home for more than a week in three years. 3 more months go by, I’m living back in Utah and I decide Im going on a mission. Change number 3. One month later, I decide I’m not going on a mission, I’m transferring to Brigham Young University-Idaho. Change number 4. I move home again, find out I am accepted to BYUI, accept the offer, and here we are today. January 2013 through October 2015 have been the hardest years of my life. The constant longing for change and for the feeling that I belonged and that I was wanted resulted in moving houses 5 times, attending 3 different schools, meeting a ton of different people, and spending many nights crying out to God to help me feel OK. I’ve never been one to show any emotion. My roommate actually sometimes reminded me that I needed to learn how to show emotion and share my feelings (I’m still trying to figure that out). But when the weight of everything feels too heavy to carry any longer, I couldn’t help but let the tears fall onto my pillow as I begged for these trials to be removed from my life. For my entire life I’ve been taught that there’s a God in Heaven who hears my prayers, who loves me, and who will answer me when I pray. But why was I continuing to feel this way? Why did all the plans I made for my life, even though they were good things, never seem to workout? Why did I fight so hard to make lasting friendships when they slipped away so easily? Why did I work and try to save money, but my bank account was dwindling anyways? Why was I not being blessed with opportunities to date and find “the one” like so many other people were, and like I’ve been taught that I should? So many questions filled my mind and sorrowed my soul for so long. Yet in these moments, and throughout these years, my questions were being answered, my plans were being bettered, and my heart was being strengthened. I would never wish to once again feel that pain for such an extended time, but I will forever thank my Heavenly Father for placing his hand in my life. From these three years I can pinpoint exact times where I learned the lessons that I need for the rest of my life.
January 2013: I learned that my Savior, Jesus Christ, is my friend. He stayed with me when I had no one else, and he stayed with me when I was surrounded by people.
August 2014: I learned that the atonement of Jesus Christ is real. Making mistakes is an inevitable part of our mortal existence, but being forgiven for those mistakes is possible. I fought long and hard to learn this lesson, and I continue to see the grace of God work in my life as I strive to become better.
June 2015: God knows what we need more than we know what we need. Coming home was exactly what I needed, and I was able to return to Utah with a new attitude and outlook.
November 2015: There is a plan for my life, and it is perfect.
I think oftentimes our minds are blocked by our own pride. We believe we know all things, and we don’t need the help of anyone else, much less from God. Yet in those moments of frustration and sadness and loneliness it is to God that we cry out for. We so badly want Him to help us in our low moments, but forget Him in our good times. I’m grateful that He is an unchanging God. That despite my imperfections and my struggles, He loves me. That even if I run away from Him and distance myself from His spirit, He continues to place his hand in my life and lead me back to where I need to be. The grace of God and of His son, Jesus Christ is the power through which I continue to be OK. I’m trying to be good, but I strive to be better, so that the power of Christ can work more fully through me and I can help others find that same power in their own lives. I don’t know what change is going to occur next, but I know I can trust God to lead me. I know He loves me. I know that He will never leave me. Maybe my plans never workout, but maybe that’s the best thing to ever happen to me.