When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned: Ally

I have recently talked to some people who are very near and dear to me about righteous desires not always being granted, being put on hold, or not going as planned; be it infertility, divorce, coming home early from a mission, being single, and those who live with/are married to someone who suffers from a mental illness. So I decided that I would expand this blog a little bit to include those things and share from those who have gone through such moments in their lives.

“In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can’t see.”
– Hymn 220

I apologize if you are sick of hearing from me about my experience, but I wanted to go first and share my two cents on the topic. Because even though we all have gone through different experiences, we can relate to one another by not getting what we want(ed).

Photo by Moments by Ally Photography
The Texas McAllen Mission was bilingual so I got to teach in both English and Spanish.

I had a desire to serve a mission since I was in primary. I used my Mom’s mission scriptures and I thought it was the coolest thing ever to see her notes and know that she had the set I was now using as a missionary. I decided way back then that it was something I wanted to do. Before I received my Patriarchal Blessing I was told that if there was something that I desired to know or hear during this blessing that I could ask for it, remembering to keep in mind the will of God. Immediately serving a mission came to mind. I prayed that Heavenly Father would let me know about this desire in my blessing, and He did. I was told that I would serve a mission… “when the time is right.” I was 17 at the time and so I was a little confused about what that could mean. Did it mean that I’d have to wait ’til I was older and go with my husband? Or did it mean something that I couldn’t comprehend yet? Well FINALLY, about 6 months before I turned 21 I started working on my papers and submitted them 4 months before my birthday.

I received my mission call on July 6, 2011, and was called to serve in the Texas McAllen Mission preaching in the Spanish language. I reported to the MTC on November 16. I can now see that I started developing some early signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression in the MTC but they didn’t fully rear their ugly heads until my second and third transfers.

(I’m going to skip over the details of what happened after I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression since I’ve already written about them, and focus more on how I was feeling as I went through the remainder of my mission and coming home.)

After I was diagnosed I was not a very good missionary. I couldn’t sleep very well at night anymore so when 6:30 AM rolled around I wouldn’t always get out of bed. I would have to stay in the apartment sometimes for part of the day or the whole day because I felt so sick and so exhausted and I had no motivation or care to do anything. Little things like this made me feel even worse. What was I doing here? I had this righteous desire for more than half my life and here I was struggling with it, failing at it, having moments of not even caring about it.

That’s when I started thinking about going home. Cause honestly, what was the point anymore?! So eventually it was decided that’s what was going to be best for me. Home. I felt a relief at first but that didn’t last very long. Because once I was back home I was constantly reminded of my failure – from other return missionaries, from people asking about why I came home, from this new illness I was still trying to understand and resolve.

I became bitter and resentful. Why was this happening to me? Why did Heavenly Father instill in me such a strong aspiration, this life goal, to serve a mission and then take it away? I know that’s not really what happened, but that’s how it felt. And it hurt. It hurt badly. I stopped reading my scriptures, and the only “prayers” I said were angry ones. I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning. I didn’t want to do anything. I didn’t want to be around people. I hated life. I hated my body and all the crap it was going through. I was in a horrible place and I had no idea how I was going to get out. But somehow I did.

It took a lot of time (we’re talking years) and prayer and reflection and learning and therapy and love to turn my wound into a scar. Looking back at your trials is usually easier than going through them because in the midst of them it’s the worst thing ever and it’s hard to always remember that eternal perspective. I can now understand a little bit of the why and I never would have created this blog if it wasn’t for the burden of mental illness, and this blog has been a huge blessing to me so I’m grateful for what has come from what I went through. I am grateful for the new perspective I have gained and a better understanding of mental illnesses. I am grateful for those who have shared and will share their stories, you have changed my life and the lives of others.

Heavenly Father loves me, even though His plan for my mission wasn’t different than my own. He loves His children, even when He doesn’t grant the desires of their hearts. One day all the questions will be answered and everything that was unfair about this life will be made right. Until then, I try to have faith and remember that He, my Savior and Redeemer, knows exactly how I feel. And that is all that matters in the end.

Love, Ally


P.S. I am really excited to be able to relate to more people who need it and hopefully bless more lives. In the past week, I met some amazing people who are willing to share so please feel free to follow my blog and keep an eye out for those future experiences!

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