Tuesday, March 19, 2013

My boys on missions?

It's no secret that I'm a convert to the LDS church.  I'd been a member for so long when I got married it seemed like old hat, but then I had children.  We are blessed with the 2 most beautiful, most intelligent, most funny boys in the world so naturally you'd think this LDS mommy would ecstatically prepare her boys to serve missions one day as all good, decent LDS moms do.  Yeah.  Well, that wasn't the case for me.  Even though my oldest is only 4 and my baby is not quite 2 *but almost* I think about their futures, plan for their futures, and encourage them to look ahead, so I've thought about this for quite a while.  And when I say I've "thought" about this for quite awhile, that's really "Raylene-speak" for I've WORRIED about this for quite awhile.  I can't imagine letting my two precious baby boys into a world where they'll be ridiculed or mocked even if it is to bring the gospel to people who need to hear it.  In my mind and heart I thought why not let all the other LDS children do this job, let all the "good" LDS moms send their babies into foreign countries alone to preach the gospel while I keep my babies here close to my heart where they're safe and where I'm comfortable.

Let me take a moment to explain what has gone through my mind as an LDS mom the last few years.  Remember, even though the church seems old hat and even though I had a loving family who taught me right and wrong, and who raised me to be a decent human being, I still know nothing about raising LDS children.  I don't know primary songs, I don't even know what goes on in primary.  I don't know how to prepare a child to give a talk; and what the flip is "sharing time"?!  I don't know the Articles of Faith off the top of my head.  I don't know which scriptures are the best to teach first.  When people say we all know John 3:16 or 2 Nephi 2:25 I want to scream, "NO!!!  No, we don't all know (insert widely known scripture here)!!".  I feel just as lost now as I did as a new convert 15+ years ago, except now it's not just my salvation that I'm shaping but my beautiful boys' salvation as well.  I don't know how or what makes a good FHE.  I don't know what they should know at what age.  I don't know what to focus on first- Christ, the plan of salvation, the BOM, the bible etc. etc..  I'm just kinda winging it and praying A LOT that I'm not messing everything up.

Anyway, with that explained, I'll continue-  I could not fathom my children being without me for 2 years and only hearing their voices a couple times a year.  Could.  Not.  Fathom.  When we started teaching Jackson how to tithe and save his money I did not even make a mission fund jar (like all good LDS moms should) because it wasn't an option for me at that point.  Then, on an online forum for LDS moms I saw pictures of a mom welcoming home her son from his mission and I couldn't hold back my tears.  She has 15 children and it was her oldest child that had just come home and this mom was so happy, joyful, proud, and grateful- and I could clearly see this just from her pictures.  I don't personally know this woman, she's just another LDS mom in this LDS forum who was sharing her story and her pictures, but the spirit opened my heart and my mind to the possibility of sending my children on a mission.  From there I started praying and praying and praying.  I've learned that when the time comes, if they are worthy, if they desire to go, and if the Lord has need for them then I will gladly, proudly, but still reluctantly (because they're still my precious baby boys) let them go.  I'm adding a mission jar to their tithing and savings jars and I will begin teaching and preparing them for missions the best I can.  I still can't fathom being without my babies for 2 years, but I feel pretty sure that that's how all LDS mom's feel even when they're saying good-bye to their precious babies at the MTC.

How grateful I am to that woman who shared her story and pictures on the LDS forum because she changed this family's lives.  Literally.

4 comments:

  1. Raylene, my momma heart aches right along with yours at the thought of sending my boys out there, where I know they will be mocked and ridiculed. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that every LDS mom's heart does the same thing. But I also know exactly what serving a mission meant to me as a missionary, and I would never, ever, never, wish to take that experience out of my life. It was more influential than ANYTHING in my life up to that point. So of course I want for my boys to have that, because I know that they will have to be strong for this world and that will help them be strong, along with about a million other reasons.
    As to not knowing things about how Primary operates and the Articles of Faith and all that stuff, I totally wouldn't worry. You are already doing the important things, and more than most moms, that's for sure. If you feel like you need to know all the details, you can pick Jim's brain, find pretty much all of it on the church website, or even "volunteer" to help with Primary on any Sunday.
    Isn't it amazing how one person's decision to share can totally change us? I think that is one of the miracles of the internet and why it's still around, because there's so much junk that there must be some redeeming factor. And if you found peace with this, then that totally makes up for so much. :)

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  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Raylene! I hadn't really thought much about what it will be like to send my son off into the world for a mission, so this gave me something to think about. I'm glad we all have so long to get used to the idea - and maybe by the time they're teenagers we'll be ready to send them off for two years ;)
    Also, don't feel bad about not knowing stuff about Primary. I went to Primary and can hardly remember it anyway! When we sing Primary songs, I often can't remember the words, or the tune, and half the time start singing different words than my husband. I figure one of these days I'll get a CD of Primary songs or actually look at the Children's Songbook.

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  3. Sending boys on missions is amazing, it expands your faith just like blowing up a balloon. You feel all faint and dizzy after he leaves, and you watch him go up and up. I thought a mission would be just about the one going, but really it made me trust in God more, made me exercise my own faith, and feel what true sacrifice is. It is a sacrifice for the family, for the one going, and so much for mom. After doing it three times, I watched their lives change for the better, their testimonies changing every future decision to put God first, forever. What momma doesn't want that? You can do it Raylene, you teach them well, then just put them right into the hand of God. :)

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  4. Thanks for the words of encouragement ladies. I'm glad to know I'm not alone, Missi and Amy.

    Melinda- Thank you for your sweet words. They really hit home and made me a little excited for the experience. I hadn't thought about how it would expand my faith as well as their's. I know when the time comes I'll have better understanding. Right now I can't get passed how much they need me because they do, they're still so small. It's hard to imagine that they won't need me as much in a few years. ;)

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