Lessons from Mom
A mom is someone who means something to every person in the world. Some of us have good memories, some painful. Some have lost a mom. Others wish for a different mom. Still, many never even met their mom. In just a few sentences we are reminded why the word “mom” evokes a myriad of emotions. For me, I can’t help but smile as I drink in the flood of warm memories that rush over me as I hear the word mom.
How can I best describe my mom? All of these memories, lessons and experiences can best be summarized in one passage of scripture.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Growing up, my parents were very strict on what was allowed to be said in our house. Back talk would lead to grounding or a spanking (yes, spanking). Profanity was obviously out. But there was one word that my mom would allow under very specific conditions: stupid. Stupid (as if it were a terrible word) could only be used in reference to drugs or the devil. Of course we thought it was ridiculous but a lesson was learned. Lesson #1: Keep your standards high.
T-shirt. Sweat pants. Tennis shoes. No need for skirts and high heels and jewelry and make up every day. My mom doesn’t feel the need to impress anyone. She never taught us to “put our face on” if going in public. Be comfortable at all cost. We laugh and question how she actually gets away with wearing sweat pants to work. Only my mom…But through all this she was actually showing us a very valuable lesson, one that more girls need to be taught. Lesson #2: Be comfortable in your own skin.
Through my sixth grade year my mom and I were part of a mother-daughter group called “Caterpillars and Butterflies.” The group would meet once a month. From what I can remember we would open by reciting a verse, then sing a song, write notes to the honored girl of the night, and eat snacks. There were probably other things that happened but that’s what I remember. Through this group, I experienced the meaning behind verse that took root in my heart, a truth that my mom lived, one that really gets to the core of the previous lesson. Lesson #3: You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
One time in elementary I was in a fight with my best friend. I remember vividly where I sat as I discussed the situation with my mom. Her solution was simple: talk to her now because we should “not let the sun go down on our anger.” She has encouraged me countless times to do what I can from my end and let go of the rest. My lack of skill in this area cannot be attributed to a lack of example. Lesson #4: As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
We often joke about my mom’s inability to sit still. Really, none of the girls in our family can make it more than about ten minutes before we are up to do something else. While I cannot claim that my motives for being busy are pure, I know they are for my mom. In her house work or “work” work, my mom is a servant. Does she still do my laundry when I am in her house? Yes. Is it because she lives for washing clothes? Hardly. That is one way she can serve. And serve she does. Lesson #5: A servant’s heart does not go unnoticed.
Several years ago my dad was asked to consider going through the elder selection process at church. I always joked with him about his campaign as if he were “running” for an elder position (although he didn’t find this joke quite as hilarious as I did). As part of this process, my parents were asked to complete a questionnaire that spanned numerous topics. While I am not sure what the questions were, I was aware of one: Do you have any addictions? My mom’s response? Mexican food and chocolate. Hmmm….I’m not sure that is what they were getting at. But the strongest “addiction” my mom could think of was really liking something. Lesson #6: Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.
As I have gotten older, I absolutely cringe at the way I have spoken to my mom so many times. And shamefully, I still sometimes act like I am a teenage girl. I have recalled many situations and apologized for them years later. My mom’s response? She has no idea what I am talking about. Really? It’s hard to believe she has actually forgotten about those times. More than likely, she forgave me quickly and let it go, not so much that she actually forgot. And yet…because of who she is…I think she actually did forget. Lesson #7: Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
These stories and lessons do not really do justice to who my mom is. I believe to summarize her heart, I would have to quote straight from the Bible.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-13)
Love. That is my mom. And my eternity is changed because of her.