Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Her children arise and call her blessed: Lessons from my mom.

Proverbs 31:25-29
"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."

As I think back on some of the lessons that my mother taught me and my brothers growing up, my mind drifts back to things like colorful chore charts full of simple tasks like brushing your teeth, making your bed, and I think "getting dressed" was even on there. My mom was always a hard worker and found creative ways to turn her children into her little worker bees--and here I was thinking I was just getting dressed--go figure!

My mind goes back to a time when I wanted my mom to lie for me, and she wouldn't. I hated swimming in middle school--with a passion. The only thing I hated more than swimming in middle school was swimming in front of BOYS in middle school then being forced to get dressed in record time and somehow miraculously get my hair back in place and get back to my next class in time AFTER going swimming. Miracle of all miracles!?! When I discovered that a note from a parent was all it took to get out of swimming, it seemed like a no-brainer for me to just go ahead and get a note written. If a parent really LOVED their child--I reasoned--you know where I am going. My mom did not write the note, and I went swimming--with the boys (which I hated,) and I had a bad hair day everyday we swam (which I hated even more). And my mom gave me a lesson on being honest, which has been irreplaceable. Thank you, mom.

My mind also goes back to a time when we lived in apartments, and my mom would go over to the "other side" of the apartments--the side made especially for the senior citizens. I was in first grade at the time. She would explain to me, as we were walking over there, that the person we were going to visit was not able to do their own grocery shopping anymore, so we were going to pick up their grocery list for them and go to the store to get their groceries. I remember being nervous the whole time we walked over there, but I liked that we were doing it. Good lesson, mom!

My mind goes back to all those times my mom would stop everything and pray. Countless times she did this. Stop the radio and pray right out loud. Stop doing the dishes and pray right out loud. Stop our conversation and ask to pray for me. This was just how we did things. It wasn't weird, because it was just what we did. Prayer was woven all throughout the day. It was a great reminder to stop and listen to the Lord and to ask for help when we needed it. A peacefulness that we could not have created on our own always seemed to follow a time of prayer. What a good lesson. Thank you, mom.

Of all the lessons from my mom, my favorite is the one that she embodies (effortlessly) all day, every day. It's the one that has just become a part of who she is. If you know my mom at all, you know that with every fiber of her being she exudes love. Love is not a thing my mom does. Love is a thing my mom IS. No, really. My mind goes back to what she used to say to us every night before we went to bed as kids: "Jesus loves you, we all love you." Every night before we slipped into bed--there she was, with a kiss on the head and the same old words, "Jesus loves you, we all love you." It dawns on me now how painfully rare it is for people to genuinely, from the bottom of their hearts, say this and mean it, and then for the person hearing it to actually take it in and really receive it as the truth. How many people need to hear this today? "JESUS LOVES YOU!" Did your momma tell you that growing up?? Can I just tell you now?? Jesus loves you!!! Let that one sink into your heart. Because listen, it doesn't matter how old you are when you discover this wonderful truth; the fact still remains--

The greatest lesson of all--
John 3:16
"For God so loved (YOU) the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Jesus loves you today and everyday, and He gave up his life for you so that you can have eternal life. You are a prized possession. It's really true! NOTHING can change the fact that JESUS LOVES YOU. No matter where you have come from, no matter who has hurt you in the past, this fact still remains--Jesus loves you. I know because my mom told me, standing on the authority of the Bible as she did, and my mom doesn't lie. ;0)

Mom, this song is for you--Jesus LOVES YOU!!!! And everyone on the planet can't help but love you too!

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