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.