Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Mother's Influence

“She’ll be your best friend one day,” my dad’s voice insisted. Sitting in my parents’ room, forced to stand facing my mom, it was a lecture I’ll never forget. I assume it was my disrespect towards her that warranted his speech. While I only tolerated his words in that moment, they are a truth of our current relationship. Daddy’s approval may have been my life’s objective, but it was (and is) my mother’s influence that shaped me into the person I am today.

It was my mom who taught me to think of others more highly than myself. (I’m still working on this.) At church, mom’s gentle prodding pushed me from my comfort zone to befriend the new kids. Willing to serve wherever there was a need, my mom demonstrated the heart of a servant.

In our family, mom was content to watch dad receive credit for the work she did to make family memories a reality. Always comfortable in the background, mom taught me the importance of sacrifice. She celebrated holidays according to dad’s desires and put the needs of her children always before her own.

While she doesn’t like to take center stage, it is her confidence in taking the platform when necessary that passed on to me. She taught me that any issue of importance to God is worth taking a stand for. Her example showed me that truth and justice are to be sought at any cost.

Mom was willing to do the hard thing. When the words of others neglect to coincide with the Bible, she taught me to question and compare them to God’s Word. Truth is precious to my mom and I learned the power found in Scripture from her.

Her quiet example (and boldness when necessary) taught me the high importance of my relationship with our Savior. A prayer warrior, I am very aware that her cries to God on my behalf have carried me through this life. Unbeknownst to me (until I had children of my own), my mom had the greatest impact on my life.

In the year my dad battled cancer, mom put her life on hold. At his side, for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, her actions spoke louder than words. In those moments, my mom lived out Jesus command and the very definition of love. “This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” – John 15:12-13

Witnessing mom’s strength (which she readily shared came from her God) in the days following dad’s departure from this earth, brought me to tears. While I knew her pain ran deep, she relied on God to carry her through each day. Rather than get swallowed up in sorrow and pity, mom lived as she always has: serving others.

Mom invests herself two-fold for her children and grandchildren in light of dad’s absence. Heavy with the loss of this key relationship in our lives, she stepped up to live that much more fully for our God. Dropping stories to my girls about their Papa and eternity, my mom serves the same role in their lives as she did in mine. My mom lives to imitate Christ. In turn, her children and grandchildren are left with no denial as to her hope.

The Apostle Paul writes in his second letter to Timothy, “I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you.” As was with Timothy, I pray it will be true of my own daughters as well. Our mothering matters for generations to come.

Thank you for your example to me throughout the years. While I continually sought dad’s love and affection, you faithfully offered yours. As I searched for my identity in every direction possible, you lifted prayers on my behalf to the One in whom you knew my search would culminate. I am a Christ-follower today in large part because of your influence. Thank you for teaching me that living for God is something I never need to shy away from. You are irreplaceable in our lives. I love you and thank God for you!

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