This is a topic that has been on my mind for the last couple of months, and I thought: Maybe I'm not the only one dealing with these emotions. So here is why it's okay to be a girl and NOT serve a mission.
Since I was a little girl around the age of 4 I remember telling my Mom that I wanted to serve a mission, and when I got old enough I was going to. People at church would randomly ask me if I was going to serve a mission and I would always answer, “YES”! I thought it was perfect; I would go and then come home and then be married by 23.
Well when I turned 16 and was allowed to date, my mind changed a little. I still wanted to go, but I was starting to understand why you would want to get married instead of serving. Life happened and by the time 21 came around I wasn't in a position to go. I was fully supporting myself and had been since age 18. And these days it’s really hard to save up the 8-10,000 dollars you need to go. Also life was crazy and I had some things I needed to figure out.
Eventually I started to really consider it again. I have always had a desire to share what I knew with other people. The greatest joy I had ever felt was teaching my best friend about the gospel and watching her accept it and be baptized. I have never felt anything more fulfilling than being a part of that.
I prayed and prayed. I wanted the answer that I should serve. That I should start my mission papers right away, and go and do as the Lord commanded me. I never got that answer. It was hard for me to accept that. I had always wanted to go; I knew I would be good missionary. Why did I not feel peace when I asked to go?
The answer I received was this: You can serve right where you are, I need you here.
That has been comforting for me as I've gone through feelings of regret and guilt. But I know that the answer I was given was true. He needs me here, and that’s okay. And it’s just as okay as those who choose and are called to serve officially as a missionary.
So for those girls out there who with this new lowered age change for serving are struggling with feelings of guilt for not going on a formal mission. Say a prayer to your Heavenly Father, he will answer you. He knows where he needs you and maybe it is on a mission. But maybe it’s right there where you are.
And that’s okay.