Archive for the ‘Motherhood’ Category

Her Compassion

Are any of you pet owners? Do you remember the names of all of the pets you ever owned? My children love hearing me tell of the pets I had while growing up. While they stretched over the span of my childhood, I can name thirteen…that’s right thirteen different dogs, cats or horses – Most of which were either rescued from a shelter or found as a stray near our home.  One such puppy was seen being thrown out of a vehicle while the owners sped off leaving her alone in an open field. She was of course named Annie as in “Little Orphan Annie.”

The frequency of those “Annies” seemed to increase over time. We began to tease my mom that whenever someone wanted to get rid of their pet they would simply drop it off near our house because she was known for having such a tender heart. Whenever they appeared she would take pity on them and either find them a home or claim them as her own.

The tenderness and compassion she had for animals which had been abandoned, rejected or abused was also extended to children in similar circumstances.  Being a long-time school employee she was never far from a needful soul. While others would criticize or even warn her…”you don’t want to get involved in that…” her compassion was never stifled.  She opened her heart and her home to those who would otherwise have no one else. The expression “come on in for a hug and hot meal” used to bring chuckles in our home, now it brings a tremendous sense of gratitude and respect.

I was reminded of her while reading the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) I couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened to all of those beloved pets and precious people that became part of our family had she not done just as the Samaritan did for the man on the road to Jericho.

It’s funny how age and parenthood changes one’s perspective. As children, my sister and I didn’t fully recognize the value of such a soft heart. We would watch and giggle as mom would tear up at a Hallmark commercial or openly cry during an episode of Little House on the Prairie.  What we were witnessing was one of the greatest attributes of God Himself. We have since become like her and in place of giggling we now say…pass the tissue!

Have you ever encountered an “Annie”- something or someone in a time of need? I pause to repent of occasions I failed to reach out because it wasn’t convenient and I thank God graciously for giving me such a wonderful mother whose tender heart prompted her to do just as Jesus said -“Go and do likewise.”

Thank you mom for your loving example.

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My Mom serves at her church.  Not just in any average capacity, she is the one and only church secretary.  Part of the job is to greet those that come into the church and want to meet with the Pastor, or just learning the names of the new folks and making them feel welcome and a part of the church.  She greets and welcomes each Sunday, not because she is on the Welcome Committee, but because she really likes people.  She is often seen talking to someone with her arm around them or embracing them in a hug.

I remember as a child being more than a bit embarrassed by this. We attended an inner-city church and often had people wander in that were homeless and dirty.   She would stand there hugging a smelly person.  Ew!  How could she stand that?   Couldn’t she see and smell how dirty they were?   Why did she feel the need to greet everyone?  There were other people to do that!  What a blind child I was.

I remember reading in college Romans 15:7 “accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring Praise to God”.  My Mom was praising God!  She was being Christ like.  I was so immature in my faith I couldn’t see it.

God does the same for us.  He accepts us with all of our dirty sin.  Just like we are.  He embraces us with His love and welcomes us.  Gives us an eternal home.   Oh thank you Lord for “greeting” me in my sinful state just so that I may know YOU more.

My husband is often saying to me as he observes my mom, “that’s you in 25 years”.  I hope so!

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Though smart, driven, and passionate, my mom chose long ago to commit her life first to God, and then to others, and specifically to her family.  As the youngest of five, I benefited greatly from her choice and had a front row seat to how she successfully navigated the waters of motherhood.

My Mom has a vivid personality under her quiet exterior, and her eyes reveal the depth of who she is.

Eyes closed in prayer, sitting at the kitchen table.  As a child, if I woke up early enough each morning, I wouldn’t fail to find her there meeting with God, pleading with Him for her five children and for our nation.

Eyes that don’t waver.  Whether discussing social injustice or in conversation with a state representative or confronting one of her disobedient kids, her gaze is confident and assured.

Eyes that sport an undeniable twinkle of anticipation.   Each Christmas she anticipates us opening our gag gifts…from rubber chickens to Ding Dongs,  even with all her kids grown up, there is always some humor when my mom is around.

Eyes devouring the words on the pages of Scripture.  For many years now she has studied the Bible and led her children and other women in the study of Scripture.  Instead of it growing old and stale for her, it remains alive and applicable to her life.  She loves God’s Word and it shows in how she lives her life for others.

Ralph Waldo Emerson is credited with saying this:  “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”  That is an excellent quote and it fits many aspects of motherhood and my own mom’s life.  But there is another quote, I Corinthians 10:31,  that better matches up with my mom’s life and her goals:  “...whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

What do my eyes reveal about myself?  Are they wide open to the things of God?  Are they looking for ways to serve others and bring glory to His Name?

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I found myself watching a pair of hands the other day….and I thought to myself, “I recognize those hands.”  What is it about those hands that is familiar?  What makes them unique?  They were shaped like most people’s hands, 4 fingers and a thumb on each.  Oh, I know, it is the coloring; slightly tanned, with faint age spots showing.  And the finger nails, medium to short nails, uncolored, yet cared for.  I now realize that I am looking at my own hands, and they look just like my mothers’ hands.  Wow, when did that happen?

Shaking myself out of shock, I reflect on my moms’ hands.  I smile as I remember the way my mom used her hands.  My mom had a way of using her hands to make people at ease.  She could greet you with a pat of her hand, or a hug.  She could prepare a meal for 20 or more people and have everything hot and on the table at the same time!  She could wash and dry the dishes, wipe the counters, microwave, stovetop, and refrigerator handles before you could offer to help.  She could open jars, carry pans straight out of the oven (not really, but it seemed like it!), and even hit a softball out of the infield!  She taught 2 year olds about Jesus with her hands for more years than I know.  She wiped tears, carried burdens and touched the lives of people by her serving spirit and willing hands.  My mom isn’t a large woman, she barely stands over 5 feet.  My mom isn’t an educated woman, she graduated from high school back in the 50’s (before computers!).

However, my mom loves the Lord and wants only to serve Him, and she does that with her hands.   I Thessalonians 4:11-12 say, “ Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

I now look back to my hands and hope that I will use my hands in the same way she did.  I find that while she was not perfect, and as a teenager I often dreaded the thought of growing up to be like her.  I realize now, that it would be an honor if I could be like my mom.

Thank you Lord for the hands that you have given me, I want to use them to serve you all the days of my life.

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Mother’s Day is one of those days that bring with it a wide range of emotion.  Whether we are mothers or not we all have a Mom.  My first real “aha” moment was realizing we all come from dysfunctional environments, just some more dysfunctional than others.  I have told people my family put the “fun” in dysfunction, however, to be perfectly honest, that little bit of humor was injected to cover up pain.

My Mother grew up in an unhealthy environment.  She never did share the depth of the pain that she knew, but her behavior spoke very loudly once I was an adult and the Lord open my eyes and allowed me to mature to the place that I no longer saw myself as a victim.  For all the things I could say, that may not bring honor to my Mom, I will say this she did much better than her own Mom and for this I am grateful.

What I have learned is that God desires to see us whole emotionally.  As I have focused on Him and receiving the healing He had for me, I can say what a Mighty God we serve!  He has met me at every turn proving that “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).

Is healing painful?  Yes!  There comes a point where we have to surrender to the lesson pain can teach, much like a broken leg.  The initial break hurts and if we have healed without treatment then we will have to have the leg re-broken and set so that it can heal correctly.  God’s design is for us to be complete in Him, I have to trust  “all things work together for good to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).  How?  When?  I don’t know, but what I do know from my own experience is that He does this, makes all things work together for good, when I place my trust and hope in Him.

My Mother professed faith in Jesus Christ as her personal Savior and went home to be with the Lord Dec. 12, 2006.  I know for the first time she is truly experiencing joy, she is happy in the presence of our Lord and one day I will see her again as she was always meant to be, before she was broken as a little girl.

Thank you Mom, I know that you loved me to the best of your ability.

Thank you, Jesus, for the forgiveness of my own sins when you died on the cross so many years ago.  Thank you for the call and the ability to forgive those who have hurt me.  I am free!

Do you have hurts in your own relationship with your mom?  Do you need to find healing?  Ask God right now to lead you to that place of healing as you put your trust and hope in Him alone.  God will not fail to lead you into freedom!

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