I'll be honest when they lowered the lds full-time mission age for girls I was annoyed. I grew up wanting to serve a mission, but it just wasn't the path that the Lord planned for me. I knew in high school it was not going to be in my future, but I didn't actually want to trust the Spirit. There were times the Spirit told me very directly I would not be serving a mission at 21, it annoyed me and I ignored it. I planned my future around going on an LDS mission, I told people this was my plan. As a freshman in college I told my future husband I had plans on serving a mission in two years. Well months later we started dating, and over a year later we got married. I didn't serve a mission when I turned 21, instead I became a mom. By the time I started my sophomore year in college, I had finally accepted the Lord's plan for my missionary work, but that didn't mean I was always happy about it. I was happy to have my husband and children in my life, but from time to time I was upset I didn't get the opportunity to serve.
In October 2013 when they lowered the age. I wasn't too trilled, because I was jealous, but it made me realize a lot of things so it was good for me, and I'm happy for all the sisters who do get to serve. I enjoy them in my ward. I have lived in a few wards (congregations) where teachers would say, "by a show of hands who all served missions, can you tell us...." That drove me crazy! I am not a bad person, because I didn't serve a mission, and I felt like all those teachers were telling me I was. I listen to the spirit, the Lord didn't want me to serve at 21. He had a different plan for me. I understand I can't share a story of my full time serve since I don't have any, but there is a different way to approach the subject if you want a full time mission story. I know in some instances those stories are what a teacher is looking for, but you don't need to draw a line in the sand.
A few years ago I had a friend who served a mission, and she told me something to the effect of, "nah, I think you girls who didn't are stronger, I needed my mission to help me see how I needed to raise my kids. But my sisters who didn't serve, they have been tested in different ways and they are such strong mothers." Now, I don't really think one set is better or stronger than the other, but I appreciated her support. I have often felt like a second class citizen for being a young mom who didn't serve a mission, but what I realized when they lowered the age was, the Lord has never thought of me as a second class citizen. The church is made up of imperfect people who do the wrong thing all the time, that is why we have the atonement. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ I believe in, not the imperfect people that the Lord has to work with (see quote below). I also realized my path in life was to get married to Brent and to be Josh's mom. Even if the mission age was 19 when I was 19, I don't think I would have gone. It just wasn't what I needed to do.
So be kind regarding human frailty—your own as well as that of those who serve with you in a Church led by volunteer, mortal men and women. Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it. So should we. And when you see imperfection, remember that the limitation is not in the divinity of the work. As one gifted writer has suggested, when the infinite fulness is poured forth, it is not the oil’s fault if there is some loss because finite vessels can’t quite contain it all.10 Those finite vessels include you and me, so be patient and kind and forgiving.Elder Holland, April 2013, "Lord, I Believe"