As a mother I often feel that I am a composite of the women in my life — the grandmothers, mothers, sisters, friends, and role models who have made an indelible impact in the blueprint of who I am. Some have wounded me, but others have healed me. Some have disappointed me, but others have inspired me. Some have rejected me, but others have loved me.
Whether an inspiring ideal of inward and outward beauty or a glimpse of undesirable selfishness, each woman that I have known has passed on an invaluable life lesson that has shaped my understanding of what it means to mother a child, to raise one and let them go. I am not the sum of them all but they are most certainly a part of who I have become. And I owe a great deal of gratitude to these women who, at different points in my personal journey into motherhood, have been a companion, an example to follow (or sometimes avoid), an encourager, a confidant, a resonant soul.
Yet, of all the women that have intersected the timeline of my life, I am most thankful to the Lord for my mom. She did not meet me at an intersection or crossroad. She was there from the beginning, from inception, when I was fragile and nameless in the womb.
I have always felt her love. She has loved me through every season…loved me to Jesus…loved me for my greater good.
When I was in high school and college, I made some wrong choices. But mom did not go ballistic. She continued to disciple me, helping me think through my decisions and actions in light of my relationship with the Lord. Her manner of mentoring was not judgmental or overbearing. She knew how to address heart issues and pray for me. Always ready to listen, comfort, affirm, and gently correct me, she was my best resource for biblical advice and counsel. Eventually, I recommitted my life to Christ and became serious about following him, and she played a big role in helping me get to that point.
We remain incredibly close. It was easy to cultivate a relationship with mom because she was around and present. We spent a lot of time together…morning walks, cooking and baking in the kitchen, going to the market and grocery, homeschooling, shopping, serving the Lord together…talking about stories, perspectives, insights, and dreams.
Yesterday, I held my daughter, Tiana, in my arms because she was crying. Whispering into her ear, I tenderly said, “Mommy is here.” Tiana calmed down and snuggled up against me. And for a moment, I remembered the way my mom held me, not as a little girl but as a teenager, the night I was raped. (Whoa, for those of you who haven’t been following this blog, this might sound shocking. Read this post if you have no idea what I’m talking about: A Story Worth Sharing.)
I was lying on the bed crying. I really didn’t know how to feel. Mom put her arms around me like she would have a baby. And she stayed beside me quiet and still, also crying. She really didn’t have to say anything. I knew that she wanted me to know she was there for me. Eventually I fell asleep and mom was still there the next morning. I will never forget that.
Up till this day, I can call her or visit her and know with absolute certainty that I am a welcome interruption. I’ve never felt like I was a burden to her. In fact, she often tells me that she enjoys being with me and has so much fun when we are together. I feel the same way.
Beyond her love and presence, I am most grateful for the godly legacy she passed on to me. Both my parents were intentional about parenting my siblings and I. They introduced us to Jesus and taught us what it means to follow him. My dad was the spiritual leader of our home and he had great impact on our understanding of who God is. My mom, on the other hand, provided a daily example of sacrifice, kindness, goodness, joy, peace, and faith. I grew up with her as a reference point for motherhood and I wanted to be like her.
My mom is blonde-haired and blue-eyed. Physically, we do not look alike. We never will. My blonde sisters-in-law look more like her biological daughters than I do. However, people have often said that I talk and act the way she does. And that is a great compliment! If there is any woman in the world whose character I would like to be associated with, it is my mom’s. If there is any woman in the world I admire most, it is my mom.
I admire her for being a spirit-filled, godly woman who loves God with all her heart. I admire her for raising five children and making it look so easy. I admire her for being a homemaker who put the happy in our home. I admire her for being present during every important milestone of my life and my sibling’s. I admire her for not going crazy when she homeschooled all of us. I admire her for being attentive and discerning about our weaknesses and areas of need so she could encourage us toward righteousness and pray for us. And I admire her for loving us inexhaustibly and unconditionally through the years without expecting or demanding compensation for her many acts of selflessness. She is, as Proverbs 31 puts it, a woman who excels them all!
Happy Mother’s Day to you, mom! I praise God for you!
Proverbs 31:28 “Her children rise up and bless her…”