I had the privilege of training another missionary while I was serving my mission. I was pretty young in the mission myself and I was terrified at the prospect of training another missionary but still excited for the opportunity. In my mission, and in many other missions, we had the tradition of referring to our trainees as daughter or son. They, in turn, refer to us trainers as mom or dad. It’s remarkable how these seemingly meaningless titles gave you a very unique perspective on your role as a trainer. I’d like to describe to you some of the insights I received about motherhood in my time as a trainer. These are excerpts taken directly from my mission journal.
A reflection on motherhood
She arrives and you feel an exciting mixture of undying love and nervousness. who will she be? will she be like me? will she love me like I love her? Can I provide what she needs? What if I’m not good enough? In the end, all you know is you love her with all you’ve got and you’ll do anything to make sure her experience here with you is worth while.
She cries and cries, life here isn’t easy but the only thing you can do is hold her as those tears dry. She grows and starts to amaze you with her talent and that motherly pride swells. She complains, why is this place so different? It’s not fair! How can I go on living here? I want to go home. I’m sorry, baby girl, you signed up for this opportunity and everything that comes with it. My advice, keep going and slap a smile on your face; It’s more fun that way.
She gets mad when I don’t understand but can’t she see? I’ve been where she is, I’ve suffered what she’s suffering. Why can’t she just trust me? And then I remember how I learned those lessons, the hard way. So i’m here, guiding from a distance but close enough to catch her if she falls.
She’s making more mistakes. Her actions and frustrations take me back to when I was in her place. I remember feeling similarly, thinking similarly, and coming to the same conclusions. I also remember the pain and suffering I had to endure to learn the lessons she’ll have to learn. I want to save her the the heartache. It’s in her eyes, I call her on it, she explains her plan to accomplish her goals and get over her issues. She chooses the hard way. It hurts that she doesn’t trust me, that she doesn’t accept my council. I can see where her decision will take her and I know there’s an easier way. Mother knows best! But then He touches my heart and reminds me, “No, Father knows best.” I let her go. In my mind I know that this really is for the best. She’ll learn for herself, just like I did. But everything else in me is screaming to save her from the pain. But after a while, I just become a spectator. The coach has to stay on the sidelines and pray that something got through to them in practice. She’s caught in the game and I can’t play for her.
The most important thing I learned about motherhood on the mission field was that no one can prepare enough for what motherhood is. Motherhood is to important of a calling for God to just leave it to us imperfect people. While we can’t prepare ourselves for it, we can rest assured that God has been preparing us all along. He prepares us in subtle ways that we can easily overlook, such as sending me my trainee. For you it may be an incredible woman figure to look up to, a difficult relationship with a sister or friend, maybe God only gives you examples of what not to do. Any way He does it, remember that he won’t leave you alone as a mother, He has been turning you into one for a long time.