Mothers and the disposition to serve
This is my mother, Ma. Imelda T. Maroket, or commonly known as Ivy to the people around her. She is a wife to her husband Jay and a mother of six children. Along with her calling as the Relief Society president, she is also a Church-service missionary for BYU Pathway. My mother also built her own catering service company and has been in the food & service industry for the last six years.
There are many sides of her that people see. They see her in Church where she is dressed in her Sunday’s best with her hair curled and face with make-up. They see her in her semi-formal clothes during the wedding receptions she caters. Sometimes, they only hear her through voice calls, speaking to her clients and taking her time in addressing their concerns.
As her daughter, I’m the one who sees how she is at home - sans the dresses and styled hair. I see her leave at midnight for the market to buy what is needed for her next event. I see her walking back and forth around the house, doing multiple things at once and making sure that everything is well-prepared. I always see her speak to people on her phone and frantically answer the next call after just dropping the one before that. I’m the one who sees her sleep at night, passed out from exhaustion after a whole day of work. I’m the one who sees her with stacks of papers before dawn peaks, reading and writing on them earnestly. And worst of all, I’m the one who sees her break down from the stress of being a businesswoman while balancing her duties as a mother.
I’m sure this is also the case for our other Latter-day Saint mothers. Despite how they are behind the scenes, they are still able to magnify their Church callings, nurture their children, and provide for their family. That’s how I see our mothers hear Him—through service.
Even though our mothers have an abundance of responsibilities as the “ilaw ng tahanan” (the light of the home), they are still able to devote themselves to the needs of the community. The enhanced community quarantine which started mid-March has limited our movement and disrupted our routine outside of our homes. However, many people overlooked this impediment and insisted to find other ways in which they can continue to serve. One of them is my mother.
That’s how I see our mothers hear Him—through service.
Finding more ways to serve in this time of crisis
Because of the pandemic, all of her catering events scheduled for March until May were cancelled. Though it caused an inconvenience, my mother told me that she prayed not for more job opportunities to earn, but for chances to help our brothers and sisters who were in need during these troubled times. Shortly after, she was prompted to continue to use her profession as a means of serving. Our family started a relief operation online calling for donations to sponsor meals that will be prepared and cooked by my mother for the less fortunate in our community. Not only did this operation reach our relatives and friends, but even to people we were not well-acquainted with. We, along with those who showed their support, were able to provide a total of 736 meals for the less fortunate, as well as the frontliners and healthcare workers in Manila.
After this project, our family was blessed with even more opportunities to help. We were contacted by two other entities asking for our assistance: the first one was to help a group of farmers in Pampanga transport their fresh produce to different areas in the Metro, and the second being a 17-day project to prepare lunch and dinner for a group of 184 seafarers who are under quarantine.
“Giving help to others—making a conscientious effort to care about others as much as or more than we care about ourselves—is our joy. Especially, I might add, when it is not convenient and when it takes us out of our comfort zone. Living that second great commandment is the key to becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ” (Russell M. Nelson).
Several people asked us about our apprehensions on the risks of going outdoors. My mother admits, “there are times that I felt uneasy knowing I could be exposed to the virus. Of course, I get scared for myself, but more especially for my family that they might get sick. But I know that the Lord listens to our prayers. I ask Him daily to take care of my family and those helping alongside us, to give me comfort and the resolve to keep serving despite this uneasiness.”
“We eagerly teach our children to aim high in this life. We want to make sure that our daughters know that they have the potential to achieve and be whatever they can imagine.” (Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, “Defenders of the Family Proclamation”)
Whenever given the opportunity to introduce myself in church, the people would always go, “Oh, so you are Ivy’s daughter?”, followed by another statement that I have grown used to hearing, “your mother is so hardworking!” As her daughter, this overwhelms me because I feel pressured to become someone as hardworking, kind, and patient as her. But the understanding that God does not require immediate perfection, and that reaching our potential is a process, replaces the pressure I feel with sentiments of gratitude and comfort.
Because I am able to see my mother in action, I can affirm that motherhood is indeed a calling. Moreover, my desire to be of help to our brothers and sister significantly grows as a result of my mother’s example. Besides my own mother, I am grateful for the sisters in the Church who continue to act as role models and mentors.