A friend of mine told me of her nephew who had returned home from his missionary term after one day of being gone. He was too homesick, and it was preventing him from continuing in the work. This was my letter to him, and I publish it with the intent that it may help others who are struggling with homesickness, or any other weakness, as they strive to serve God. I understand that people struggle in ways that we don’t fully understand, and others who sincerely want to help want to be able to identify what the problem is in order to know how to deal with it. I don’t know if we’ll ever fully know what goes on in the mind and heart of the one struggling, but I know this: the Lord knows just what we need to draw us closer to him…whether by using our strengths, or by what we think are our weaknesses. And when we discover who we really are…from this life and even the life before, we can be an instrument of Good in His more capable hands.
My young friend….
We don’t know each other personally, but I heard of your circumstance in speaking with [my friend]. From what I understand, you came home because of what could be termed as “extreme homesickness”…that you just want to be home and stay at home. Do I have that right?
I don’t know why your story crossed paths with me, but I feel like the Lord needed me to hear it. Why? Because I know of a couple of young men who also have the same gift.
Gift? But isn’t that a weakness? Some “mental” condition? Other people would see that as “there’s something wrong with this kid.” They would see it as a problem, something to overcome.
These two young men that I know, they’re brothers. Both of them have a wonderful spiritual insight. Both have a love for the scriptures and the gospel. Both are still learning and growing in their testimony of spiritual things. But both have a difficulty leaving home. The younger one could not leave home to go camping 30 minutes away and had to call home a few times once he was finally out there. And this happened for any kind of a trip that took him away from home. The older one discovered he couldn’t leave home either once he left to go on a mission. He came back home, but was able to finally serve a special mission for the Lord that tapped into his other skills and talents. He served that mission for the full 2 years and is now back.
I’ve spoken with the younger one about his “weakness”, and I discovered something in my conversations with him. This “weakness” is actually a spiritual gift. It’s a weakness in the world’s eyes, maybe because they can’t explain it any other way. It’s like a mental or psychological condition that needs to be treated. I don’t think it is. Sometimes we just need to see it differently–with spiritual eyes, perhaps–to understand.
You don’t want to leave home, be far from home, and you’d rather stay home. Have you ever asked Heavenly Father, “Why do I have these tendencies? This attitude? This mindset?” You have an extreme connectedness to “home”. Some would say “extreme homesickness”. I would say it’s much deeper than that…it’s “Home-anchoredness”. And that’s with a capital H-ome….meaning, your Heavenly Home.
And this is one of the gifts that Heavenly Father gave you.
Before you were born to this earth at this time…the last days before the coming of the Savior…you had a personal interview with Heavenly Father to talk about what you would do while on Earth. I don’t know what would have been said in yours, but I’m sure you had questions as well as excitement to be born to a family where the gospel was already in place. That would mean that you’d come down to earth….running and ready to go! Heavenly Father may have told you something like, “I’m sending you down to earth, and I’m sad that your brothers and sisters are forgetting me and my love for them. I’m saving the best of my children for the last days. You are one of my strongest, most helpful, most hard-working, most loving sons, and I need your help. Will you help me bring back your brothers and sisters? Help them remember me? Help them come Home?”
You may have replied, “I want to make sure I come back HOME to you, Father, and I want to help you! But how can I do that when the temptations to forget you are so strong? There’s a lot of deception out there, and Satan’s so good at what he does. We can see it from here in Heaven, but it’s so hard to see it when you’re on Earth, especially with a body and mind that forgets You, Father. I don’t want to forget you, but I know I will. How can I help you even though I’ve forgotten you?”
And so, Heavenly Father gave you a gift of Home-anchoredness. It’s a strong pull, an unbreakable anchor, to Home….Not your earthly home….but your Heavenly Home. But because you’ve forgotten everything, you’re just connecting these “homesick” feelings to your earthly home.
In Ether 12:27, the Lord teaches us:
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
Sometimes, what we think is “weak” is really something that is “strong”, and we just have to open our eyes to it. It’s the Lord who opens our eyes to see how our weak condition is really something that is strong. We just have to be humble enough to look. Humble, because sometimes, we’re so used to seeing with our physical senses, that it takes our heart some strength to close those physical eyes to see with spiritual eyes. It’s also called Faith…to trust that eventually, we’ll see what He sees.
Is it possible that because you have this gift of Home-anchoredness, that you are actually strong enough to leave your earthly home to go search for your brothers and sisters who’ve forgotten God…as a missionary…and later on…and help them back to find God again? Is it possible that because you’re so connected to our Heavenly Home, that Satan would try his hardest to get you to forget…and let go…of HOME? Because that’s what people will tell you to do…leave home. You can do it. I say, Don’t.
I’m saying that you can leave home without leaving Home. You can leave your earthly home and keep your Heavenly Home connection with God, and use that as your tether, your lifeline, your rope and life preserver, your iron rod…to be used to help others come Home. You can go and serve as a missionary anywhere in the world, and know that your connection to your Heavenly Home will keep you connected to God…and that He will maintain His connection to you. You will feel His Love through His Son and through the Holy Ghost. And you’ll be able to help others who’ve forgotten Him feel His love. And you’ll be their anchor to Home…because you were anchored to Him.
So, go…in faith, my friend. Trust God with your gift, because He entrusted it to you. Go, use your gift of Home-anchoredness, and be the Help that Heavenly Father needs you to be in these last days. We’re here to prepare the world for the coming of His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Lord needs our help in that work. Serve as a missionary, not FOR the Lord, but WITH the Lord. He’ll be by your side. He’ll be your Anchor…now, and after the mission term. Now, go and be an anchor for others as well. And great will be your joy!
With much love…
The LDS Lamplighter