As Pres. Monson announced the age change for young women, I screamed and fell to the floor. I then began to cry because I knew that this was exactly what the Lord wanted me to do; I knew that this was the answer to my questions of how I could serve a mission. I called my mother after the announcement was made and we talked for a brief moment and she told me to calm down and to think about it for a while before doing anything drastic. As the day went on however, I couldn't lose the feeling that this was my Heavenly Father's plan for me at this time. Every concern that came to my mind was answered and accounted for; I was ready to go. After talking to my family again later in the day, I made my appointment with the bishop. I finished my papers, except the medical physical, within the week. Due to financial strains, I had to wait to submit my papers until late Nov/early Dec. When that time came, I found that due to some previous health problems, my papers may be flagged and may take further review.
After further review and after jumping through extra hoops, I was told I had to wait until Mar/Apr to re-submit my papers. And even then, there was no guarantee that I would be approved to serve then. Those first few weeks were by far the hardest weeks of my life because I had given up everything so I could go and serve the Lord. However, after receiving wonderful advice from friends and family I was able to pick myself up and take advantage of the time I had preparing even more for my mission. By the time came to turn my papers in again, I was very nervous, excited, and anxious. This was 4 weeks ago, then last week, I had the opportunity of opening that giant, white envelope that was addressed to Sister Cottam.
I can't say that the road up until now has been easy or sure, but I can say that I have grown and learned so much through the experiences that I've had that I wouldn't change anything. The Lord has a plan for each one of us. He knows us individually and knows how best to teach us the lessons we need to learn. He also knows how to support, console, and love each and every individual. I know that He lives. And I know He loves me and each and every one of you.