What memories do I immediately think of in regards to my mother?
Little hand prints cut out of the remaining dough from making the unleavened bread, spread with butter and topped with cinnamon and sugar.
Mom mopping the kitchen floor with straight ammonia!
Bible studies every summer over the women of the Bible and the United and Divided Kingdom.
Bible studies throughout the school year on the Harmony of the Gospels.
Mom reading her Bible when she went to bed at night.
Mom sitting on the side of her bed praying to God.
Good memories. I gave my mother a great deal of grief. Our personalities often conflicted. She wanted to be excited about things that I did; I did not want the “spotlight” type of attention. She wanted me to jump in to help others; I lacked the confidence to do so at first, but usually came around to it. She would tell me I was pretty; I would dismiss it with a “Mom, you have to say that” type of thing. My mother showed me by her example how to do for others; she always knew what Mrs. Roddy’s favorite winter soup was and was ready with some at the first hint of frost; she was ready to take meals to anyone who had a baby or was ill. Having these things in my memory, I’m still learning.
One of the things I know my mother struggled with was how she saw herself. I know she was confident about her relationship with God, because she spoke of Him as her friend, and spoke to Him often the way she would her friend. But from her youth, she carried the struggle that many women have – being uncertain about the way we carry ourselves and how we come across to others. I believe it wasn’t something she fretted about, but it was something that would rear its head from time to time. She always wanted to be the Proverbs 31 type of woman – and she was to me – wanting us to see her taking care of herself as well as others. Unfortunately, I did not really figure out this lesson until just recently.
I was going through pictures a while ago, and came across a few from my high school days. I look at them now, and do you know what I remember? I remember thinking how pudgy I was, and I remember sucking in my gut while mom took the picture. I look at those pictures now and realize what a fool I was! There’s always going to be someone who looks better – that isn’t the point. The point was that I wasn’t happy enough with WHO I was, to be content with how God made me. I do not pine for those days, no way! Give me these days any day of the week – I am so much better now! I also don’t think about looking more like I did in High School. What I long for, is being able to know then what I know now, and what my mother tried to instill in me – that beauty within shines on the outside and that is the beauty we should strive for. I wanted to be “pretty” back then – I wanted to be worth noticing. Silly me – I was looking for it for the wrong reasons. Even though I was a Christian and knew better, to a point, I still wanted to be a good Christian girl who still had some of the fun that worldly girls did. I did not allow myself to be content with knowing that the two did not go together.
So, I’m here now. I am forty years old. I am in my twentieth year of marriage to a strong Christian man. I have five beautiful daughters. And I thank God that I finally heard some of the things that my mother was telling me! Thank God that I lived to learn the lessons so that I can share them with my girls.
- My mother taught me about the Shulamite woman in Song of Solomon and how confident she was that she would be a pleasing mate for her husband when they married (Song of Solomon 7:9b-13).
- My mother taught me that a godly woman learns to have, and is thankful for, a meek and quiet spirit that allows her to do her work in submission to her God and to her husband (1 Peter 3:1-5).
- She taught me that I have value to God when I am young and in one stage of my life, like Mary the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:28,30); and that I will still have value to God when I am older and in a different stage of my life, like the worthy widow in 1 Timothy 5.
- She taught me that while I was single I could be a strong woman and serve the Lord, and do it well (1 Corinthians 7:32, 34).
- She taught me that if I became a wife, I could be a strong woman and serve the Lord, and do it well (1 Corinthians 7:34; Ephesians 5:22-33; 1 Peter 3:1-5)
- She also taught me that if I became a mother, I could be a strong woman and serve the Lord, and do it well (Titus 2:4-5; 2 Tim. 1:5; Prov. 31:10-31).
Am I sorry that I waited until I was into my twenties to really start listening to my mother? Absolutely. I have no doubt that my life, and hers, would have been better if I had paid heed sooner. But I will always be thankful that I did start living what I knew. I will always be thankful for what she showed me in her life. I will always strive to live up to the things that she taught me that I could be. The beauty of it all is that I have the knowledge and the confidence to realize that in doing those things, I am doing more than pleasing my mother – I am pleasing my Lord! THAT is the ultimate lesson she left me. “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord.” Colossians 3:17. “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” Colossians 3:23. “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed” Titus 2:4-5. “And he answering said, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy strength and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thy self.’” Luke 10:27
The best memory and gift that my mother gave to me – is a woman living a life that I can imitate as she imitated Christ (1 Cor. 11:1; 3 John 1:11; Heb. 6:11-12). There is NO better gift that she could have given me. And in turn, there is NO better gift than I can give to my own children. My prayer is that they will see Jesus in my life, the way that I see Him in every memory I have of her.