When You Know, You Know

We've all heard that saying at one point or another, usually related to relationships, and I've always believed it. I believed that when somebody found their significant other, they just knew. People can’t explain it, they can’t make you understand what that really means, but you can tell that they truly do just KNOW. Although I always believed, I never expected to find out what it felt like in the way that I did. And no, it wasn't with a significant other; I found out with my significant calling.

It was a slow Thursday at work. I’m sitting on the stool behind the counter, looking at the blue sky on the other side of the window. Oh, how I wished I could be soaking up the sunshine that was out there! No one had come in for a few hours, making each minute that passed seem like a lifetime. My mind was clear, which was unusual because I was usually drowning in my own thoughts. I closed my eyes for a brief moment, taking a deep breath, telling myself I could get through this day. That’s when it happened. It was a moment that changed my life. It was unexpected, and terrifying; so clear and so humbling. The words struck the deepest part of my soul, and my eyes clouded over with tears.

“It’s time to serve a mission.”


Back in 2012 I sat in my basement all alone watching the Fall session of General Conference, the rest of my family scattered throughout the house listening. I had closed the door and was wrapped up in a blanket with my journal and pen in hand. The announcements had always been one of my favorite parts of conference. New temples, new leaders, the sight of the church growing, I loved it! President Monson began, “I am pleased to announce that effective immediately, all worthy and able young men who have graduated from high school or its equivalent, regardless of where they live, will have the option of being recommended for missionary service beginning at the age of 18, instead of 19…” Excitement and shock rushed through my veins. Those were my friends he was talking about! This was my age group of boys! We had just graduated high school a few months prior to the session, and they could leave right now! With the adrenaline and excitement I was feeling for my boys, the thought hadn't even crossed my mind that the young women might be in this age change too. President Monson continued, “As we have prayerfully pondered the age at which young men may begin their missionary service, we have also given consideration to the age at which a young woman might serve. Today I am pleased to announce that able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at age 19, instead of age 21.”

I froze.

In the middle of high school I had had the thought that a mission was something I wanted to do. If it was the right thing for me by the time I was 21, I would go. Missionary work intrigued me.  It was something exciting to think about and to talk about. Then the age change was made, and I wasn't so sure anymore. I could put my papers in. I could serve a mission RIGHT NOW. Life got real, and it got real, real quick.

Many girls I knew had called their bishops right then and there, some the day after. They KNEW. But I did not, and it bothered me. I had always planned on it, but now that it was here? It was a huge thing! Do I register for school? Do I not? Do I put my papers in? Do I stay? I prayed and prayed and prayed. I don’t think I had ever prayed so much in my life. And you know what? I never got an answer. This caused me to stress out big time. I mean, registering for college is kind of a big deal. You've got to get it done soon if you wanted to get into the classes you needed. I had to know! I talked with my bishop and one of my closest Institute teachers as to why I wasn't receiving an answer.  They gave me amazing council and kept reminding me that the Lord’s timing is what matters. I just had to be patient. Much easier said than done…

Life went on, I attended Institute, made the greatest friends, began attending the singles ward, and I knew that I wasn't supposed to serve a mission. My answer came, slowly, but surely. My dad and grandpa would always say “When you get your call…” Or “When you turn in your papers…” or “You’re going to serve here…” and at times it would really bother me. I had previous bishops, family friends, random people that would say “Lex! I thought of you specifically as soon as they made the announcement!” How was I supposed to tell them I wasn't supposed to serve? That maybe my mission was here at home? And then the flood of young adults began to leave. One farewell after the other, elder, sister, elder, sister, and all my friends had gone. There I was, stuck in life, not knowing what to do next. I wasn't huge on school, so I worked, floating in limbo.

Fast forward almost two years. I would write my missionary boys every week. Email after email flying into my inbox. Monday’s had become my favorite day of the week. I could just hear how happy they were, how much they had grown, how much they loved, and it inspired me. I would feel every emotion through those emails. I’d laugh out loud, shed some tears, miss them to the point it hurt, and be oh so happy for them all at the same time.  Their stories were amazing, the work they were doing was beyond incredible. The topic of a mission had floated around conversations, and I never was able to tell them I was going. And they respected that! They knew I had a purpose where I was in what I was doing.


So there I was at work, on a slow Thursday. Those words flying into my thoughts like I had just been hit with a brick. Every emotion ran through me in the matter of seconds. I didn't think it was possible, but I’m here to tell you right now, it most definitely is. I prayed right then and there, in my empty little store. I didn't even get all the way through my prayer, and the most comforting feeling overcame me. This was it. This was what I was supposed to do. I quickly set up an appointment with my bishop for Sunday. It was the longest three days of my life. Nobody knew except for me and my sweet Heavenly Father. Not only was it the longest few days of my life, but it was an emotional roller coaster too.

My family was going through some really tough things, and I didn't feel like I could just leave. Right now wasn't a good time to do that, but the thought of serving had never seemed so right. And like two years before, I had to remind myself that my timing isn't what mattered. The Lord knows what I need, what the people I’ll be serving need, and what my family needs. If I was supposed to be here with them, I would be. Not only that, but my friends had started coming home! Leaving right as they were all preparing to come home really hurt me. I had missed them more than I could ever explain. The thought of not seeing them for another year and a half was just something I had to push out of my mind. But staying home was not in the grand plan. I needed to be somewhere else, showing people the love their Savior has for them.

Finally, Sunday rolled around. I woke up, got ready, and headed straight to the church, praying the whole way there I wouldn't chicken out. I know I know, bad, but I seriously was in full panic mode. It was the greatest meeting I had ever been to though. I could see my Savior in my bishop's eyes, I could feel His love. I had every bit of excitement the universe could put into the little atmosphere of the bishop’s office. We laughed and we cried, and my journey began. I had never felt so sure, so confident about anything in my entire life. It was liberating! When I told my bishop my story about the Thursday at work, the first thing he said was “You know it’s the right decision when aren't doing anything and the words are spoken.” And that’s when I realized, I just knew.

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