Thursday, November 19, 2015

Missionary Mom Reflections

I have heard so many people tell me over the last several months that there are countless blessings that come from having a missionary serving in the field.  And I've been looking for them.  But it wasn't until the email Savannah sent yesterday that I realized we're actually experiencing tons of them, and I've just been missing it.  

I won't elaborate on all of them because there are too many.  

But one of the noticeable ones for me is that I have been surprisingly emotionally stable this week.  So far, there have been no meltdowns, I've been not only functional but productive, and I didn't cry or carry around any of Savannah's stuffed animals yesterday when I read her email!  That is miraculous.  Last Wednesday, I had honestly resigned myself to being hopelessly sad and inconsolable once a week for the next 18 months.  I'm sure there will be more of those days, but I am so grateful to know that it's possible to also find joy on p-days, too.  

The other miraculous blessing was in her email.  Did you read it?  

I'm sure I don't have to tell you how much I adore my oldest daughter.  She is magnetic, smart, determined, hilariously witty, amazing and beautiful, and you can rest assured that very few of her talents and gifts have escaped me after 19 years of being her mother.  But I also know that she isn't perfect.  She struggles with things that frustrate me and that I know will cause future challenges down the road if she doesn't get a few of them under control.  During those three months she was at home preparing to leave for the MTC, a handful of her noticeable flaws were a huge concern for me.  I worried that her stubborn pride and strong opinions were going to be hard for some companions to live with.  I worried that her need for constant perfectionism (and her very vocal complaining about things that were only slightly imperfect) would be a huge impediment to the Spirit and the compassion she would need to have as a missionary.  She is also notoriously late everywhere she goes because she insists on seeing perfection in the mirror before she feels comfortable leaving it.  After 19 years of watching a tiny, strong-willed perfectionist become a grown up, strong-willed perfectionist, I spent a lot of time between August and October worrying about her mission experience.  I was a little bit consumed with guilt that I hadn't caught those things earlier.  I was a little bit frustrated that I couldn't figure out how to say the exact right thing to compel her to hurry and fix them before she left.  And I was a lot worried for her future companions.  By late September, I considered writing a personal note to each of them that she could hand out upon arrival, warning them about potential compatibility hazards and pleading with them to be understanding...and to pray a lot.  I thought better of that decision and just opted for my own pleading and praying with Heavenly Father to help her to grow on her mission.  

Again...did you read her email yesterday??  
"Sunday I had soooo many spiritual inspirations, but one that I want to share is that I have definitely been learning how to be more submissive. We are here in the MTC to learn how to submit our will. To our district leaders, to our zone leaders, to the president, and most importantly to the Lord. I've been trying to be a little more humble, and teachable, and submissive, and Heavenly Father has helped me so much. I feel like I'm not as quick to anger, I am willing to give up some of my pride and do what my companion wants to do, or what my district leader asks us to do, and I definitely feel like my faith in Jesus Christ has grown tremendously."
This is the same girl who for 19 years wouldn't let anyone else in the house pick the games we played, or the restaurants we went to, or the movies we watched without some serious battling.  This is the same girl who has taken her role as older, wiser leader of the family pack extremely seriously.  And somehow after three weeks in the MTC she has felt the need to be more humble and to give up some of her pride.  Miraculous...

And have you noticed her pictures??  Yes, she is glowy and radiant, but she's not wearing any make up!!  And her hair is just in a pile on her head.  No hair dryer, no straightener, no mascara, no fuss.  Which leads me to believe that somehow she has also felt compelled to set aside her need to look perfect for now, and get where she needs to be...on time and ready to work!  And miraculously, she still looks beautiful!

What an enormous blessing it is to see Savannah lose herself in things that are so much more important than appearances and being right.  How grateful I am for the Spirit that whispers those gentle reminders so much more directly and effectively than her parents ever could.  And how excited I am to have a tiny glimpse into the refining process and to watch the Lord put all of those amazing talents and gifts of hers to good use in His work.  

Only three weeks into this and I can't even express how abundantly blessed we all feel, not just because Savannah is growing and changing, but because we all are.  It is a tremendous blessing today to be a missionary mom.     

1 comment:

  1. How wonderful! Thank you for sharing. We have had several emails like that from our son! The blessings of having a missionary are real and tangible. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!