In the Missionary training Center I faced some difficult medical problems and was advised to return home. I remember asking the MTC doctor if he thought it was possible for me to serve a mission without returning home. He said it would be difficult and painful, but if I was willing to do it it was possible.
All I needed to hear was possible.
A few days before I left the MTC for the field we did a role play where my companion identified my needs and taught me a doctrine which would help me resolve my concerns and fulfill my needs. She quickly discerned what was almost obvious, I needed to slow down and go at the pace my body was capable of going or I would overuse and ruin it. My teacher joined the practice and shared with me the following scripture,
“And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.” (Mosiah 4:27)
He then asked me this question, “What is the limit of your strength?”
My whole mission I have not been able to understand what the limit of my strength was. I was confused because are we not supposed to be able to access the strength of The Lord and be able to do all things? Could I not go and go and go in His Strength? I was frustrated so many times because my body would break down worse then my Volkswagen in high school and I would be left stranded.
These past few weeks my body has truly reached a new level of exhaustion. The constant stress I put it under combined with chronic medical issues leaves me broken and beat everyday. I will not lie…I have woken up many mornings and dreaded the day ahead.
Yet, I know with God nothing shall be impossible and through faith, prayers, blessings, and a lot of medical care God has carried me through each day and we have found success and joy in the work! I was determined to finish my mission on October 19th and return home having proven that in His strength we can do all things.
Then I got hammered physically, mentally, and emotionally. Then I had a dream. Then a conversation with a good bishop. Then a prayer. Then a conversation with my Mission President and I learned a very humbling truth. God will never REQUIRE us to do more than we have strength to do. Now that doesn’t mean we will feel capable of accomplishing every task placed before us, God knows our strength better than we do and he will ask us to do hard things! But he will never ask us to ” run faster than [we have] strength.”
God has granted me the blessing of finishing my mission at the point in which my strength is finished. He is not asking me to run for another 5 weeks. So I will be returning home on September 14th. I know I have finished the work He gave me to do. (John 17:4).
“The time of my departure is at hand.”
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith”
(2 Timothy 4:6-7)
I finally know there is no limit to my strength with God, because truly all things are possible! But God cares enough for me to be merciful and gracious. He does not want us to undergo unnecessary hardship and struggle. He wants me to have “peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.” (D&C 59:23)
He is not as hard and demanding as I once thought He was. Truly He has “all the feelings of a tender parent” (1 Nephi 8:37) and wants us to return to Him not beaten and broken, but fill of truth and light and at peace with all we have endured.
I am so grateful to be coming home. I truly have nothing left to give. He has my heart, my mind, and my strength and as I have given myself to Him, He has finished me. “For what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?…For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 16:25-26)
I love you all.
Love, Sister Johnson