I've come out of my blogging hiatus to share some things that have been on my mind. I'm not sure why I'm feeling like I should share this, but I'm hoping it benefits someone who needs to hear it. I've felt the need to blog about my experience here, but if I am being real, I've been lazy and haven't wanted to take the time to do it. I think the timing, though, is perfect, because I only have about a week left in London, so I've been reflecting a lot on my time here, and how I got to where I am. God. Is. So. Good. Wow.
I was accepted to go on a study abroad to London for the fall of my junior year at BYU. As I was preparing to go, I felt sick about it. I ended up deciding not to go. I was really upset, because I felt drawn to London but knew that the study abroad wasn't right. Fast forward 6 years, and I decided to go visit my angel friend Hannah Kroes in London. At first I was going to go in August, and then it ended up working out to go in October. The timing of that trip could not have been more perfect for so many reasons. I had the most incredible time. While I was here, I felt like I lived here. I felt like I was supposed to be here, and it was even pointed out to me that it seemed like I belonged here. I was a little frustrated because in that moment, it didn't seem like there was any way for me to come back, but I felt so drawn here. When I got back to Utah I was in a funk and felt stuck. Well, two weeks after I got back, I was offered the opportunity to travel here and stay for six months.
I had a little freak out and wasn't sure if it was the right decision for me. It almost seemed too good to be true. I kept going back and forth about it. I decided I was going to move forward as if I was going and took the matter to the temple. Catherine and I wanted to go to the temple, but weren't sure which one we should go to. We made a decision then headed to the temple. As I was sitting outside the sealing office of the Provo temple with Catherine, my cousin Adam and his wife Emily walked down the stairs in front of us. Adam and I have always had a special friendship, and I knew I was supposed to be in that exact temple at that time. It hit me so hard in that moment that I was going to London. Then my aunt, uncle and my grandma came down the stairs. I told my grandma how I thought I was going to London and my brief conversation with her confirmed it. I'm learning over and over again how important God's timing is.
About a month later, I made my way to London and only freaked out when I was on the plane and was like "what am I doing???" I had never been away from my family more than a month and always had friends around me. It did help that I knew people already from when I visited in the fall, but for the most part I was heading to a place where I didn't have much of a support system.
I arrived where I'd be living for the next six months, and instantly everything I was nervous about went away. I immediately felt comfortable where I was staying and had an instant connection with the family friends I was moving in with. I am so grateful for them and the relationships I've built with them. I have been blessed beyond measure by Heavenly Father with the friendships I've made here.
He is so aware of all of us. I've learned that here more than ever. It's funny, I used to (meaning like a few months ago lol) feel so stressed out about my future, and how I still didn't know what exactly I want to do with my life. It was a big insecurity of mine, and I HATED talking to people about it. Going on dates was the worst, because I was always embarrassed to tell guys that I had graduated from BYU, but I was nannying. Now, however, I am so thankful for that path and can see why I haven't quite reached my career goals yet.
About a month ago I was able to chat with my bishop here. I had been wanting to meet with him for months but always ended up canceling my appointments, because I felt silly. Again timing is EVERYTHING. In our meeting I was able to discuss with him things I wanted out of life and a career, and he offered suggestions to me that I hadn't considered or even thought possible for me. Meeting with him gave me a lot of confidence in the direction I'm moving toward.
In the last few months I have felt like there is something very specific that I am called to do and I KNOW I will figure it out in the Lord's timing. There are several options I'm exploring, but I know that when it comes down to having to make a decision, I'll know what to do. I just think it's so cool that what used to be my greatest insecurity has become a tool for my own personal growth. Though I don't know where I'm going or what I'll be working toward specifically, I have learned to rely on the Lord and trust in His plan for me when I can barely see one step ahead. My faith has exploded the last little bit, and I know it's because I've let go of my own will and have started to truly trust in God's plan for me.
I feel like I'm picking up little pieces of information along the way, and as I've continued to go along, it has all started to make sense. If I had figured out what I was doing even a year ago, I wouldn't have moved to London. I wouldn't have had the chance to grow in the ways that I have here. I wouldn't have met the people here who have strengthened me. I was in a spiritual funk for a while. I had doubts and didn't fully trust in God. There were times where I was pleading with the Lord for direction and didn't feel like He was listening.
I wanted to get out of the funk I was in but wasn't really sure how to. Every Christmas my mom gives us a meaningful gift and gives us a little devotional to explain it. This last Christmas she gave us each a journal and issued a challenge to us. Each day for a month we were to write down a question we had. Then we were to say a prayer thanking heavenly father for the scriptures and to tell Him our question that day. Then we were to read until we got an answer. When we first were issued this challenge, I wasn't in a place spiritually where I wanted to do it. I was going to the temple and doing other "good" things, but my testimony of scripture study wasn't great. I would maybe read a couple verses a day, and I got to a point where I didn't even think to read my scriptures some days.
It wasn't until I was in London for a while, that I felt ready to seek change and to try the challenge. I decided to start at the beginning of the month of June. On the first day, one of the impressions I got was to seek out answers to the things I have a hard time with and to be ok with not knowing the answers to everything. A lot of my answers for the first few days of journal keeping involved strengthening my faith and trying to overcome my doubt. I was reading back on my journal the other day, and I was amazed. I feel like I am in a completely different place now, compared to where I was when I first started. The doubts that I had when I started the challenge have since completely gone away. I didn't get any new answers to them, but I have gained a new perspective and have increased my faith in God's will.
I've had some experiences here that have increased my desire to be aware of other people and to reach out to them in kindness. There have been a few people here who haven't been the nicest to me. At times I've felt really brought down by the way that they talk about other people and from the way they interact with me. Thankfully, I'm at a place where it hasn't affected my confidence, but it made me think of other people who may be feeling hurt by these people or by others. It built within me a desire to know who I could help and who needed my friendship specifically. In those moments, it turned out to be people, who in return, have blessed me and become dear friends to me. Some of these friendships have resulted from promptings I've received that have pushed me out of my comfort zone. Somehow my introverted self has become comfortable starting up conversations with people. These have turned out to be completely inspired experiences. The Spirit works in the coolest ways, because I know that the thoughts to talk to them and be outgoing weren't from me. You guys, God is the best. He can make our weaknesses our strengths.
I get giddy thinking about how God has blessed me over the last six months. I love that no matter where we are at, or what we are going through, if we turn to God he will help us adapt. We can do hard things!
Emilee shared this poem with me today:
It may be that when we no longer know what to do,
we have come to our real work
and when we no longer know which way to go
we have begun our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.
I don't know where I'm going or what I'm doing, but God does. He loves me. He loves you. He loves my cranky neighbor who yells at the construction workers on my street every day. God is good, and I'm so thankful for the blessings he's poured on me. Seriously I feel like I've been punched in the face with blessings.
That was a bunch of word vomit, but I feel really passionate about all of this, and that I was supposed to share it here. I just want everyone to know that God is waiting for us to reach out to Him. As we do that, He will direct us. K I will shut up now byeeee