Monday, July 22, 2013

The amount of men who come to the door in underwear or stark naked is astonishing.

But really. France is cray. Sister Rhondeau and I have lost track. She turned to me yesterday on the bus... "We just passed a man... standing in his window...naked." hahaha Oh, France.
Boba drinks for weekly planning! right by our house. I'm in heaven.

Also... I have always been a rather loud sleep talker. And passionate. I'm not one of those cute quiet people who whispers funny things. I'm the crazy one who will groggily stand up for each and every one of my opinions with a fiery passion. Countless roommates tell me I'm a sleep pep-talker ("TAKE A RISK! TAKE A RISK!"). A loud laugher and a flirt. (I don't even want to know what that sounded like...) and now I am a very very loud TESTIFIER. That's right. Sister Rhondeau looks at me several times a week and says "You were testifying in your sleep last night..." hahaha In French. Practically yelling the truths of the restored gospel. Oh dear, I am never getting married. Or my husband needs to sleep like a log.

And Sister Rhondeau loves the movie strictly ballroom. WHAT?! Our families are like long lost twin families. I've always loved great film because anything inspirational shapes my character, and Sister Rhondeau agrees. Thus we are basically the same person. :) We plan to live together when we get back.
The Elders found Dr. Pepper. I don't know how, I only know God loves us.


Well, this week was hard. Not because of naked men. haha I've heard people tell stories from their missions a thousand times about how the Lord completely tears you down to zero and then begins to build you into what he wants you to be. Heard it, thought I got it. But have you ever thought about what it must feel like to be at zero? Well... now I do. The saddest and the best thing that has ever happened to me. Wednesday night I was writing in my journal when I started just thinking about my life and what I have become... and I realized I had no idea who I was. I had never admitted it to myself before, and it was frightening. I just felt sadness wash over me and sat back in my chair and realized I was at zero. I had no idea who I was. I felt like I didn't even have a personality. I tried to think of things I knew about myself. And then realized I knew nothing. And the tears came.

But luckily God knew the only way he could put me at zero and then build me back up was to give me a companion like Sister Rhondeau. Sister Rhondeau walked into the room and looked right at me and with more love in her eyes than I can describe she just asked "What's wrong"?

And I told her everything. I had received so many messages of what a missionary is supposed to be and how a missionary is supposed to act that I had lost myself somewhere along the way. But not in a good way. I had lost myself to the work but had also left my personality in California. And I realized that losing yourself to the Lord is not losing your personality. The Lord called you to serve in the place he knew you were needed. Your personality could benefit the people there! There are some parts of your personality that maybe need to change, but that doesn't mean you leave it behind and be a robot for 2 years. Instead bring it all with you... and then change the bad parts but keep the YOU parts! Jane Austen put it far better than I ever could -- "One man's style must not be the rule of another's." Missionaries are not mindless identical robots who all act exactly the same. We're all just human beings! AND THAT'S OK. 

For too long I had taken thinking about my strengths and talents as pride. Instead of reading my patriarchal blessing or letters from my Mom and thinking "This is who I am because God knows this is who I am" or "My Mom knows me and knows I am good at this, so I am" It was "That's nice they think that... but I guess they don't really know me." THIS IS NOT HUMILITY. THIS IS CALLED THE DEVIL. It is good to recognize your God given talents and abilities! I am not talking about bragging or boasting, I am talking about recognizing yourself as A BELOVED DAUGHTER OF GOD WHO HAS DIVINE GIFTS AND TALENTS THAT YOU MUST CULTIVATE TO FULFILL YOUR PURPOSE HERE ONE EARTH. I am talking about recognizing your worth, and hand in hand with that, recognizing others worth. I am talking about waking up every morning and saying to yourself "I'm a catch." BECAUSE YOU ARE! Not because of anything you say or do, but because you are a well known and well loved daughter of God and therefore you have worth. GOD SEES YOU AS THE GLORIOUS GODDESS YOU ARE CAPABLE OF BECOMING. God loves you because you are his daughter. The end. No proving yourself. No earning affection. JUST LOVE. 

Sometimes I'm really shy about admitting this stuff to the world. I feel vulnerable because now everybody knows I'm not as bulletproof as I appear. But you know what, I couldn't care less anymore. Guess what? I'm a human being. You're a human being. Life is hard sometimes. And that's ok! :) 
Best day of my life.

So, here I am...rebuilding my personality. And this is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Everybody deserves to have their personality destroyed and then rebuilt around someone like Sister Rhondeau. Because Sister Rhondeau is probably the most Christ-like person I have ever met. Sister Rhondeau just lets people be human. You don't have to prove anything to Sister Rhondeau about your coolness or your hilarity. You can say nothing and just be boring because you don't feel like talking right then... and she still just loves you. If the only reason I came on a mission was to meet Sister Rhondeau and walk around for 18 months and not a single person got baptized despite my hardest diligent efforts, I would say it was enough.

Well, this has all been pretty dramatic. Sister Rhondeau and I have come to realized that we are pretty dramatic by nature, and turn to each other about 50 times a day and say things like "I don't mean to be dramatic... but this is the best day of my life... because that lady smiled at us." haha We are kindred spirits.

If you ever feel like God is distant or like your prayers fall on deaf ears, I promise you that God is there. I know it, I know it, I know it. All is well. God is alive in the heavens. Christ already performed the atonement. ALL IS WELL. God loves you. He hears your prayers. And the armies of heaven rush to your side whenever you call upon the name of the Lord. 

So much love my heart hardly fits in my chest, Soeur Autumn Bradley

1 comment:

  1. I'm not sure how I came about your blog, actually I googled feeling distant from my friend in Texas as where I am in Maine. I became baptized in 2012 after chasing down 2 missionaries in a Tim Hortons ice cream\coffee shop. I had a burning question that always eluded me that How can a loving God who created is, be such a punishing God. I never ever believed that was true. I was determined to find out what their answer was, and it was what I had Lways believed in my soul to be true. My family of 5 was baptized 5 months later. I am inspired by some of what I have read, and I say this. Thank you. For sharing. And the man who attacked you in French, you should have left him a Book of Mormon:)