learning to deal with the contingencies of life.

Here I am, twenty-two years old, a fairly recent return missionary, single, in my second year of college, and living with my parents. I feel like I am the epitome of a loser. Just recently, my own grandmother asked me what I was doing with my life.

I had this vision of how my life was going to go when I was coming home from my mission. It started with a flawless flight home. I would walk off the plane and through the airport like I owned the place. The world would be my stage and people would see a confident, relaxed, mature sister missionary greet her family after eighteen months of being separated. I would shed a few light tears just for effect (also because I'm a cryer), but they would make my eyes look a little bit brighter. My hair would be curled just right to give it that classy looking beach curl. And then I would get released and transition smoothly into the next phase of life. I would then date casually for a few months before finding my eternal companion and best friend. We would date exclusively for a few months, get engaged and be engaged for roughly two months, and then we would get sealed in the Salt Lake Temple and have a Pinterest perfect wedding reception that evening. And then we would continue to live faithful lives in happy, wedded, family bliss for the rest of eternity. Yep, my future was locked and loaded, and it was going to rock. And I banked on that. Until my flight home from my mission was delayed by the rain.

It all started with the rain.
After a forty-five minute downpour at 2pm in St. Louis, I knew there was no way I would make my connecting flight. Or at least I thought. We entered the Salt Lake Valley with ten minutes to spare-- I had ten minutes to run (and I mean RUN) from Gate C to Gate E. As I was running I mentally scolded myself for not having worked out as diligently as I should have the previous 18 months. After what felt like the pain that comes from running a four minute mile (I actually wouldn't know what that feels like, but I'm just guessing it would be similar to the burning I felt in my legs and chest.), I made it to my gate. I slammed my hands on the counter, exhausted from my most recent workout and asked the lady behind the counter if I made it in time for my connecting flight. To which she responded with a flat, "No." 
And then the water works began-- and nothing like I imagined. I looked more like a train wreck than a confident, bright-eyed sister missionary.
"Let me see when the next flight to St. George is... Oh, what's five more hours?" she asked ignorantly... I mean politely.
Somehow I managed to respond. "Actually, it's a lot."
"Well do you need to call someone?"
"Yes, but I don't have a phone." I sputtered.
I must have really looked like a train wreck because the people around me could not look away.
The lady behind the desk pushed her phone toward me, "Dial 9 and then the number."
I followed her direction and punched in my Dad's cell phone number. 
No answer. Cue more tears.
I hung up, and tried again. This time using my Mom's cell phone number.
"Hello?" I heard my mom's voice for the first time since Mother's Day, three months earlier.
The tears continued, "I missed my flight, Mom."
"It's okay, Sadie. We will just see you at 11. We will wait."
I cried some more and it seemed as though every person in Gate E had their eyes fixed on me. "Okaaaaay," I said slowly-- hoping there was something else that could be done so that I could get home sooner, "I love you. I'll see you in five hours."
"Love you too! See you soon!"
It took everything I had to compose myself as I set the phone back onto its hook. I looked at the lady behind the desk and thanked her for letting me use the phone and asked her to get me on the next flight. So far, going home was not all that it was cracked up to be.

My Uncle was able to come to the Salt Lake airport and he and his wife picked me up and took me out to eat at Costa Vida. Part of my vision for coming home was eating those delicious sweet pork nachos that I hadn't indulged on in over 18 months. After my long-awaited Costa trip we headed to my Grandmother's house where I was welcomed "home" by my grandparents, cousins, and little brother. Hugs and tears were shared. I was so happy to see everyone. 

Five of the longest yet shortest hours passed and I boarded my flight for St. George. I was holding onto the small amounts of hope I still had for the rest of my future plans to be flawless. I gave myself a pep talk on the flight and reminded myself of the few tears I would be shedding and the confident way I would walk into the baggage claim. I was going to restart my flawless future once again and this time I would stick with the plan.

My plane landed in the St. George Municipal Airport at 11:07pm. I was so tired, but with my plan at the forefront of my brain, nothing could bring me down this time. I stood up from my seat and walked briskly off of the plane. (I was a little excited, I couldn't help it.) I could see my family through the airport windows and my excitement started to get the best of me. I quickly reminded myself of my plan..... And then the airport worker opened a side door for me so I could get to my family quicker. All bets were off and I was sobbing again. I ran through the doors looking much like a T-Rex because I also needed to go to the bathroom and I yelled out, "Where is my mom?!"

So much for the confident, relaxed, and mature sister missionary. Instead, I was a T-Rex, train wreck that couldn't control her tear ducts.

After all of the first initial hugs and we grabbed my luggage, we got into the car for the 45 minute car ride home. I was exhausted in every sense of the word, but everyone wanted to talk to me. Around 3:00am St. Louis time, I was finally able to go to bed. I was ready for a new day. And I hoped that a new day meant my flawless future would come sailing in smoothly.

Well team, I'm here to tell you that my plans for a "flawless future" are a joke. In the last nine months, I've learned that there is no such thing as a "flawless future". Part of this life means making mistakes and struggling. In the most recent Women's Meeting, Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson said two things that I think need to be shouted from the rooftops: "We need to teach our daughters to aim for the ideal but plan for contingencies." & "If it is the Lord's plan, it should also be our plan!" (Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Defenders of the Family Proclamation, March 2015)

Let me show you some of the contingencies blessings that have happened since I came home:
seeing my little brother for the first time in 18 months. (he wasn't going to be at the airport when i got home)

seeing all of these people.

seriously, seeing clank was a huge blessing.

the long awaited hug from my momma.

and hugging my dad.

dating. dating is a blessing and a curse. lucky for me, i have this sweet self help book. (hahahaha. just kidding. i haven't even read it. maybe i should.... bahahaha)

em coming home was definitely not part of my plan (or hers either, i'm fairly certain) but her coming home was a HUGE blessing for me.

moving home was NOT a part of my plan. but i wouldn't change it for the world.

moments like these.... they definitely were not in my plan.

becoming friends with sash. i'm so grateful for this girl. she helped me SO much. and now she's killin it as a missionary.
the Lord's plan is so good. it requires struggles and contingencies. but it always comes through with joy and peace if we will let it. that's the key part: if we will let it. we have to allow joy and peace to enter into our lives. they won't bust down the door or yell and shout at us. they will patiently wait for us to allow them to enter into our lives. 
i'm grateful for my struggles. i'm grateful for the contingencies in my life. they've helped me see things through different eyes. they've helped me see what's truly important in my life. i'm still learning-- i seriously learn something new every day about how to live so the things that are truly important stay at the forefront of my mind. {i'm open to suggestions at how to do this more consistently! how do YOU remember the things that are the most important?} 
but most of all, i'm grateful that there is Someone who is steering my ship alongside me. i'm grateful that instead of taking over, my Captain lets me learn but yet still has a calm hand on the steering wheel. i'm grateful that i have an Anchor who steadies my life when the storms seem to just keep coming. i'm grateful for the guidance and direction i receive from the Maps and Compasses my Captain gives me. i'm grateful for the sailors who have gone before me and left a legacy of faith and success to help me keep going when all i feel is failure. trust in the Captain-- He can see the icebergs & He's ready for them.
it's crazy how things come full circle... this is from this post 3 years ago.

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