the best 18 months of my life

18 months ago, i stepped off a plane at the st. george municipal airport "ready" to begin my new journey as a return missionary. i had recently had a very long day and was ecstatic to see my family after being away for 18 months. i greeted my family and then we drove home. we stayed up talking but it was really late so we all went to bed.

the next morning i woke up. i was in my bedroom at home, with no companion to speak of, and my days of being a full-time missionary were coming to a quick end as i would soon be getting released from my beloved calling. 

i specifically remember feeling as though my mission had just been a very vivid dream. if it weren't for the facebook friend requests, welcome home posts, messages, and posters all over my house i might have believed that it was all just a dream. i didn't want to believe that it was just a dream because i loved the people i had met, the places i had served, and the mission that i was called to. 

and then i panicked. i didn't want to be home. i didn't want to have to take off my name tag for good. i didn't want to be able to go anywhere i wanted by myself. i didn't want to start dating. i didn't want to go back to college. i didn't want to be released. i wished that i was back in missouri or illinois.

but before i knew it, i was in a car with my parents, on my way to report to my stake president and get released. we sat down in my stake president's living room and he asked me about my mission. i kept it together until he looked me in the eye and asked, "did you love the people?" my heart burst as my mind sped through my entire mission-- all the faces of the people i had come to love so dearly flashed before me. uncontrollable tears started spilling out of my eyes as i nodded and choked out, "yes." and again i wished i was back on my mission.

the next few months were difficult. i struggled with loneliness-- even when i was surrounded by people. dating was hard and almost non-existent. i jumped at every single opportunity to talk about my mission or the gospel. i went out with the sister missionaries as often as i could. i faked being happy. i felt like i had lost my purpose. i wished more than anything that i could be a missionary again.

then one week, one of my converts from my mission came to visit me in salt lake. we toured the city, drove to my hometown in nevada, i showed her and told her about all of the special things that the west had to offer. in that week, my perception of being home changed. and i actually felt happy.

i noticed that when i actually felt happy about being home, making friends was easier. talking to people wasn't a chore. and boys actually wanted to ask me on dates. 

i realized that i had countless opportunities in front of me. i realized that with some planning and preparation i could literally go anywhere i wanted to. i realized that school was necessary to help me get to where i needed to be later in life. i realized that it was necessary to put myself out there in order to meet the people that i needed to meet at that time. but most importantly, i realized that God still had a plan for me; a plan that included me being home mentally. for about four months i had been home physically, but my mentally, i was still in the mission field. and i had been miserable. 

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." [Ecclesiastes 3:1]

this scripture ran through my mind more times than i can count. i feel like it was Heavenly Father's way of reminding me that He had other things for me to do. i searched through my Patriarchal Blessing for my "new" purpose-- the purpose that God had given me many years ago. i felt a need for obedience and also to find out who I was. as a missionary, i had learned who Sister Leavitt was, but upon coming home i learned that i needed to find out who Sadie was.

i moved home and began adventuring. i saved money to take a big trip to hawaii to visit one of my best friends. i went on lots of little adventures to zion national park, kanarraville falls, california, utah, and so many other places. i met new friends and reconnected with old friends. i took classes online. i practiced old hobbies. i learned new hobbies. i threw myself into life. and i was happy. i felt good about who i was and where i was going. don't get me wrong, i had quite a few setbacks within this time. but something was different-- i felt like moving forward.

after 3 months of adventuring, working and taking classes online, i decided to transfer schools and go to class on a campus again. i began researching schools for the field i wanted to work in and started applying. i applied for isu and started the application for uvu but never finished it. but while i was in hawaii, i received acceptance letters from both isu and uvu. after a lot of prayers and finally just making a choice i decided to go to uvu. which leads me to parker.

parker and i met on our missions. i knew him for about 80% of the time that i was in missouri and illinois. i am incredibly grateful for the way and place that we met. however, we both needed to be home in order for our journey together to begin.

 a few days ago, parker and i were talking about how we felt as though we wouldn't have gotten married if we had dated soon after i came home because we both weren't ready for that. i always tell people that parker had to get his stuff together before we could start dating, but that's not true. I also needed to figure out who i was and where i wanted to go and what i wanted to become in this life. and i couldn't have done that without coming home mentally. coming home was one of the best decisions i have ever made. 

i'm grateful for my mission. i'm grateful for the experiences i had as a missionary. at that point it was the best 18 months of my life. but now, i'm grateful that i am home. i'm grateful that i've been blessed with a wonderful family. i'm grateful that i get to marry parker TOMORROW in the temple. i'm grateful for the blessings i've received as a return missionary. these last 18 months have been the best 18 months of my life... thus far. 

but as Sister Morgan always says, "the best is yet to come."

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