I thought most of the pre-mission anxiety would be when I put my papers in and was waiting for my call. Nope. It’s been the weeks I’ve been waiting for my ID from Virginia (which, by the way, is not technically a state, but a commonwealth… go figure). It’s the only thing I’m waiting on. My dental papers and medical papers have both arrived from the respective offices in Connecticut, Dain took my portrait for the application, and my ward sponsorship has been all sorted out.
The only thing between me and the ‘submit’ button is that ID.
I’ve been bugging the people working in the mail center enough that they just shake their heads with a sad look on their face when I poke my head in. Every time I walk in the door, anyone at the table in the dining room asks, “did it come yet?”
It’s been nerve wracking and has made me second guess myself and my decision to serve. I’m so thankful for my dear housemates who remind me that it’s what I’m supposed to be doing, and that everything is in the Lord’s time, and that no, Satan is not in control of the postal service.
Katie, especially, has been great. A few weeks ago, she had issues with her visa and we worried that she would have to wait a transfer (6 weeks) before entering the MTC, and in turn, getting to Bulgaria. I told her that everything would be okay – it was just that someone in Bulgaria needed her a transfer later.
…And if ‘Cectpa Swens’ didn’t turn my own words onto me a few days ago.
“Meg. Someone in your mission just needs you later.”
It wasn’t until last Thursday when I ran into my friend and role model, Esther. Esther is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met, and she served her mission in Virginia Beach to boot. We got to talking missions, and she said a few things that really struck me. She reminded me that the Lord’s time isn’t my time, and that when preparing for a mission, the timing is just as important as where you serve. There are people the Lord needs you to meet at a certain time. Your mission president (each serves for 3 years, so some missionaries have 2 presidents in the time they serve) has something important to teach you. You have a companion that needs you later in your mission rather than earlier, or vice versa.
Between Esther, Katie, my mom, Brother Rasmussen, and other housemates, I’ve been reminded that everything comes in it’s own time. Last night I was in need of some comfort from the Lord, and was looking for the passage referring to time and purpose. Usually I hit the nail on the head when looking for a passage in the Old or New Testament, but this time I was off. I somehow switched Ephesians and Ecclesiastes. You know, just a few hundred years between the two!
Anyway. I finally found the verse I was looking for in Ecclesiastes. Chapter three, verses 1 through 8, as well as verse 11.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of love… He hath made everything beautiful in its time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
I have loved this passage of scripture since I was a little girl. The first verse is highlighted twice in my copy of the Old Testament – once in pink, and once in pale blue. Right now, the verse about “a time to get” is what has been keeping my mind occupied, as I’m waiting to get my ID, and get my papers in. But I realized, thinking about it as I lay in bed, that what I’m not getting is that the Lord’s time and my time aren’t in alignment. His is obviously perfect – just look at the note I made in the margin of that chapter: “trust in the timing of the Lord: it is perfect.” Mine is very imperfect, and is impacted by my little mortal mind, wishes, and desires.
Beside verses 5 and 6, seminary-aged Meg had scrawled a crooked cross reference to 1 Nephi 9:6. Institute-aged Meg thought, “why not?” and flipped from the Old Testament to the Book of Mormon, and lo and behold, I had gone into a highlighting frenzy there too. In bright orange, the only verse marked on the page, I had highlighted these words:
But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words.
The Lord knows I often need things repeated. I can just imagine Him sighing if I were to tap my ear with a frown the way I do when I can’t hear something that my housemates have said. So Nephi was my ‘repeat.’ I can be a little thick-headed at times, apparently, so the Spirit basically told me to turn back to the first scripture I head read.
The one I thought had nothing to do with what I was looking for.
Yeah, uh huh. Wrong again!
Look at what I found in Ephesians 1:12-13…
That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.
I’ve learned my lesson(s).
1) Satan does not control the postal service.
2) my time is not the Lord’s time. His is way better.
3) when I get my call will be the exact right time for me to receive it.
4) same goes for entering the field and meeting my mission president.
5) trusting in Christ means trusting in His timing. I’m going on this mission because I trust Him. I have been promised a call, and it will come.
6) you’re a lot closer to the Lord when you’re on your knees.
7) seminary-aged Meg was a smart chickie with her cross-references.
8) I really need to work on my patience.
9) timing is everything.
I’m really thankful for this learning experience the Lord has given me – I know that it’s key to my preparation to become a full-time missionary, and by the time I hit the field, I will have earned the right to wear that little black badge with the name of Christ emblazoned across it. I’m also thankful for friends and family that remind me that my idea of time is extremely screwed.
…Thank goodness for eternal perspective.