My college years were a time of huge growth. I had new callings and new experiences. But the hardest part was making big life decisions all by myself. I will never forget how hard it was for me to transfer from BYU-Idaho to Southern Utah University. At the time, BYUI was called Ricks College and it was only a two-year college, so transferring was required if I wanted the four-year degree I had been working toward.
I described in a previous article how the Spirit told me that I NEEDED to be at SUU. But going to Utah for any reason, aside from visiting relatives, seemed so outside my comfort zone. I had grown up listening to people talk about “Utah Mormons.” For anyone not familiar with that phrase, it typically means being a hypocrite and a Sunday-only kind of member. They talked about how different people from Utah were. I was really sure I would never fit in there, and dreaded relocating.
I dreaded the move so much that I took an extra year to do it. I became the only non-student RA that Ricks College has ever had. I found a couple jobs, and just goofed around and had fun with my roommates and friends. As I mentioned in the previous article, the Lord had to remove several of those blessings before I could move on. After I finally found the courage, (or more specifically, after the Lord hedged up the way so that I would finally get over myself and do what I knew I needed to do!) I moved to Cedar City, Utah.
I will never forget the day I moved in. It was warm and sunny, my roommates were welcoming, and this cute little city in the state that I feared quickly melted my heart. I had no idea that southern Utah was so beautiful! The red rock mountains, and the rivers and hills… I felt so at home there. But the Lord had another surprise waiting.
As I walked around my apartment complex to get familiar with my surroundings, I met a really cool girl named Amy. She was the type of woman that drew people to her. She just radiated confidence and joy and I knew I wanted to be her friend. The crazy thing was that she seemed to know me, and told me that she had been waiting for me. I had no idea what she meant, but loved having my ego boosted.
The next Sunday I was called into the Bishop’s office and asked to be the Relief Society first counselor. For those not familiar, in each congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’, every president of each organization will have two counselors and a secretary. It eases burdens because the duties of the presidency are spread across four members instead of being shouldered by just one. But typically if there are missing members in a presidency, they will have a president and a first counselor and secretary. It is rare for that first counselor spot not to be filled.
I soon learned that Amy was the Relief Society president, and that she had tried to find a sister to fill the role of first counselor when she was called four months before. But the Lord kept telling her that her first counselor was coming, and she should be patient. Suddenly what she told me on the sidewalk the day I arrived, that she had been waiting for me, made sense. God had held my calling for me while I sorted out my life and finally found the courage to go where He wanted me to go.
Finding My Place
I learned SO much serving with Amy and the other girls in that Relief Society presidency. They were such inspiring women to be around. I had rarely met returned sister missionaries before, because back then sisters only served a mission after they turned 21. And at a two-year college, most girls waited till they graduated before going on a mission. So this was a whole new experience for me. I was not quite 21 myself, and after seeing the confidence these ladies had in their ability to serve the Savior, I knew I wanted to serve a mission too.
I remember how often I beat myself up over my failure to leave Ricks College when the Lord told me so firmly that I needed to be at SUU. But after meeting Amy and having such a wonderful experience where the Lord confirmed that He had been waiting for me, I stopped feeling guilty. I realized that our Heavenly Father loves us so much that He has blessings waiting for us at every turn. Sometimes we struggle to make the changes He asks of us. But when we do, He is ready and waiting with more blessings.
Keep Going Forward
I have moved many more times since that fateful move to Utah. I learned that “Utah Mormons” aren’t really a thing. The people who described them to me really hadn’t understood the LDS members in Utah at all. I eventually found my husband in Utah, and fell in love with his whole extended family — all of whom are from Utah.
I can see now that the Lord wanted to guide and shape my life by encouraging me to move to a new and scary place. And once I got there, there were so many things to love that I never looked back. My life would be so different today without having attended SUU. I am so grateful that the Lord helped me to get there.
What new and scary things are you facing in your life? I assure you that God will give you strength to get over any hurdle, and that He has even more blessings waiting for you on the other side of this trial. One day I hope we can sit down and share stories… I know we will be in awe of all the things that God has going on behind the scenes as He prepares us for our future.
Patty thrives on all things creative. You’ll often find her in the garden pretending she is a suburban farmer. She loves meeting new people, and is devoted to her friends and family. In her heart she is a Midwesterner even though life has moved her all over the country. She believes in “blooming where you’re planted” and has found purpose in every place she has been. She has a deep and abiding love for the Savior and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And she loves editing LDS Blogs because it is a constant spiritual uplift. Not many people can say their job builds their witness of the Savior.