Yesterday was mother's day. I got to give a talk in church about how you don't have to be perfect to be a good mom. I think that we need to address this in our culture. Moms tend to judge themselves very harshly and blame themselves for the poor choices or circumstances of their children. Children, too, will sometimes look back at their parents with indignation because we feel that they ought to have done a better job.
The truth is very few parents wake up in the morning thinking "What can I do to ruin my family today?" Most of us are well-intentioned at the very least and each of us falls every day to human weakness. We have a bad habit of judging ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions. I am grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ which has the power to fill any open heart and heal any wound. Christ has the power to consecrate our afflictions for our gain (2 Nephi 2:1) and He has the power to make us better and more capable human beings in time. We need to be more understanding of ourselves and others without condoning sin.
I think that mothers and missionaries sometimes fall for the same ruse. We see the calling to represent the Savior, and we see the expectations so far beyond our reach. We allow Satan to misdirect our attention. When we focus on the fact that the gospel of Jesus Christ centers on our faith, and our desires to do what is right (Alma 41:5, The living Christ, 2 Nephi 31:19-20 Moroni 4:3) we see that Christ's power to save us doesn't come after we meet someone's expectations. It comes when we have faith and we show Him that we are willing to keep his commandments to the best of our abilities. Therefore we can't be upset when our abilities, or the abilities of another person, do not match up to what we want them to be. Jeffrey R Holland of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles said:
I think we need to be more loving. I really need to work on charity and humility (as always) I love the people we are serving, but I need to learn to be more compassionate in word and in action. That is my goal for the rest of this transfer and for the rest of my life.
I've really been working on my Spanish. We have a new investigator who doesn't want to go all the way to the Spanish branch in Pasco, and her kids speak English. We have been trying to take Spanish speakers with us, and I am working on learning how to teach better in Spanish. I can teach (very simply) the first three missionary lessons in very poor Spanish, but I'd like to be able to testify better. We'll see how this goes.
Yesterday we got to talk to our families. It was really good to see them. I am so grateful to them for helping me and supporting me here. It means so much. I know that your testimony can grow just as much in other ways because I've seen the powerful testimonies of my sister and my mother (and other wonderful people in my life) but I am infinitely grateful for the opportunity to serve.
Sister Caroline Faulkner