Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Service of Motherhood

I never thought of motherhood as service.  I guess because feeding my children and doing their laundry is something I'm supposed to do because if I don't do it, who will?

The season of life I'm in right now: a homeschooling mother of four young children doesn't allow me to do much service.  You know, the kind of service where the sisters in the ward get together to help clean someone's home during the day, or helping at the bishop's storehouse, temple service, etc.  I even hate to admit that I'm not a very good visiting teacher.  Needless to say, I often feel that I am lacking in the service department which makes me feel pretty horrible.

Today in Relief Society one sister said something that changed my point of view.  She shared an experience she had years ago as a mother of four young children herself, wondering why she even went to church (we've all had that thought cross our minds as we try to get to church on time and sit with little wiggle worms).  She said the lesson she was sitting through was on visiting teaching and service, she felt horrible because she wasn't able to serve the way the topic had been discussed.  Then her bishop got up to speak on the subject of service and she prepared herself to feel even more horrible as she anticipated hearing even more ideas of what she should be doing but wasn't.  To her surprise her bishop began by saying things like, "Service is getting a child a glass of milk or changing a diaper."  He said everything that mothers do in the home is service.  I have never looked at it that way.  Maybe I'm slow and the light just turned on for me while many other moms already got it.

Please don't misunderstand what I'm saying, I love motherhood and what I do for my children, I don't look at it as a burden but a blessing.  Sometimes we get caught up in the day to day and don't see the importance of what we do, the service we are giving to our children.

I shared my thoughts about how I never looked at motherhood as service because it's something I'm supposed to do.  Another sister responded with, "Lavinia, who else is going to love and nurture your children and teach them the way back home to Heavenly Father?"  The answer was no one--no one else will do that for my children but me.

Or you.  YOU.  All you other mothers out there who may or may not be stay at home moms, but are mothers none the less.  Who else is going to teach your children the gospel?  Who else is going to teach them love and kindness?  Who else will teach them to pray?  To read their scriptures? To follow the prophet?  Who?  Certainly not the world, have you seen the world today?  The world doesn't have much regard for motherhood, particularly stay at home mothers, or anything that is virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy.  The world is LOUD.  Sometimes we fall for the lies the world feeds us about what kinds of mothers and women we should be or that there are more important things to do than being a mother; because as I said, the world is loud.

But Heavenly Father is peace, He is quiet.  He speaks to us in the still small voice that we know as the Holy Ghost.  We need to escape the loud of the world so that we can listen and feel his peace, feel His comfort when the house is a mess, when our clothes are stained, and laundry is piled up.  We need to feel Him by our side as He supports us in our calling as mothers.  Those moments when we feel we are lacking and aren't doing much, but then look at our children and see their happy faces. We need to see what they see, not what we or what anyone else may see.   They see a mommy who is  available for help them; to teach them, and to love them, to answer questions about the Gospel; not a mountain of laundry or the piles of dishes in the sink.

What we do in the home is so important, it is a noble.  It's more important than any other career.  We may not get much recognition and are looked down upon by some, but our children see us for who we really are and what we really do, and that is all the reward we need.  We are also the only ones who can see them for who they really are, we can see their potential and all the wonderful that is in them.

Our efforts are seen by our Father in Heaven, who smiles down each time we stop what we are doing to wipe a nose, change a diaper, read a story, help a child with homework, or simply just sit and snuggle a child who is in need of a hug.  Sometimes this service is more important that any other service we can give to anyone else.

I now look at service and motherhood differently.  I will be more joyful about my service as a mother, about the four little miracles that are in my care, the calling that no one else can fulfill but me.

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