Rather than talk about myself as a mom, I would like to tell you about my own mother and the other mothers in my own life that have taught me a little something about being a mom. These moms have shown me through their actions how to Christ Walk as a mom.
First, there was my grandmother, Neenie. She died about 6 weeks after I married my husband. She was not your traditional grandmother who baked cookies and sent lavish presents. Rather, my grandmother taught me how to plant a garden (although I have a brown thumb). She taught me how to cook the most amazing roast you will ever eat and make the best squash pie (even my own mother cannot make Neenie’s squash pie—sorry, Mom). Above all, Neenie taught me how important the gift of time is to my children. She taught me about the fruits of the earth and the comfort of food.
My other grandmother, Deeda, was very involved in politics in South Carolina. And as a woman of the 1950’s, she was very vocal and active in her community. Being a female active in politics at that time was not always the social norm. She was opinionated and vocal about her beliefs and was not afraid to share it. I come by being opinionated naturally. But whether you call it being overly opinionated or standing up for what you believe in, my grandmother Deeda taught me that it is important to have beliefs and share them. Passing on a belief set helps to identify what you value. Belief sets develop lifelong passions and skill sets that go with you wherever you may be. Our beliefs and how we share them will shape the world for the future. The courage to “be the change you want to see in the world” is such a valuable lesson to share to generations to come. The world will not change if we sit back and do nothing.
Then, there is my mother-in-law, Sandra. When I hear friends complain about their mothers-in-laws, I count my blessings. My mother-in-law is a wonderful role model. Not only can she cook, but she can organize and plan and take care of any disaster. Sandra left little bitty Bowman, South Carolina, to go to big, bad Washington DC to be the personal secretary for Senator Strom Thurmond when she was in her twenties. She applied for the job at the urging of her own mother, who thought it would be cool to have a rejection letter from Senator Thurmond. This woman is fierce. She is a determined woman both personally and professionally. I cannot begin to tell you the strength of will and love for her family that this woman has. I am convinced that my mother-in-law has a pipeline to God. Because when she prays about something, God sits up and listens. She has shown me how important family is not only to her, but also to me. Wherever we go in the world, I know that we have a welcome in her home in South Carolina that will always be ours to share. This gift of family is something for me to pass on to my kids. Her amazing discipline for prayer is one I strive for each day.
My girlfriends: Who else could I call when I was nursing my babies in the middle of the night and was sure they were going to die because I had no idea how much food they were getting? Who else was I to call in tears when my son and I fought for the first time? Who else do you call when you aren’t sure that you are doing something right, but desperately need to hear that the best job you are doing is a great job? My girlfriends are the gift of friends that I want to pass on to my children.
I would also like to mention that I would not be a mom without my husband. He makes me a better mom by his support and love and encouragement. I sometimes think he is the better parent! If only he could cook! He gives me the time to write Christ Walk and to run and we work together to make our house a Christ-centered home to raise our children. Without my husband, I would stumble in our call to be parents.
Finally, there is my own mother. She is an amazing woman. While I have always grown up within a church and while my dad taught us about churches—it was my mom that taught me about faith. While I was losing my hearing and my father was ill, my mother was there. If there was a backbone that kept my family together in the midst of this turmoil, it was my mother. She had to juggle my health, my dad’s health, my brother leaving for school, my father’s discharge from the Navy, and our family’s move from Rhode Island to South Carolina. This period of my life is one I will always remember as the most turbulent. It is a bond that I share with my mother like no other. She drove me through a snow storm—a blizzard that stretched from Rhode Island to Ohio (where we were headed) to try to get me to a specialist to stop my hearing loss. She prayed a lot. A LOT! And I remember years later talking about this time with my mom and asking her how she continued to go to church through all this, and she said it was her faith in God that would get her through this time. And it did. My mom’s quiet, serene faith (she would laugh if she heard that), is something that I hold on to every day. This is the faith that I want to pass on to my children. The gift of faith is the most precious gift of them all.
If there was any gift I could give to moms, I would have to tell them it is important to take a little time for yourself. It is important to be healthy for you and your family; mind, body, and spirit. I used to agonize that I never seemed to have time for elaborate meditation or complex prayers of intercession, praise, and thanksgiving, but what I have learned is that in the busy times of your life, God loves the small prayers too. So I remind myself to say, “Praise God” and “Lord, I’m not sure what to pray for, but I know I need help” and “Thanks, God.” Because I know that He knows the deepest petitions of my heart, the most heartfelt prayers can be simple and vague and He will still understand. And that brings me peace.
Central to a life of Christ Walk is love. Central to any happy family is Love. 1 John 4:7-21 teaches us to love one another. Christ Walking as a mom is to teach love. St. John writes “Since God loves us so much, we also ought to love one another.” This is the essential prerequisite in supporting Christian family well-being. Christ Walk moms build a house of faith for their families by being moms. “But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.” 1Timothy 5:4. So, today, I pray that all of us mothers will indeed have God’s help and God’s love in us, so that we are able to promote an environment of love in our families.
If you are not yet a mother, or will not be a mother, the beliefs you hold and how you present yourself can also be shared with younger generations. We all have children that look up to us, no matter our role in their lives. Share the values and beliefs you received from your mother, or your female role models with the children around you. They will only be lifted up by your care.
For all the women in my life, I give thanks to God. For all the women who are taking the Christ Walk journey for health for them and their families, I pray for perseverance. And for all the mothers who are living the life of faith for their children, I give Praise. Amen.
Thoughts to ponder:
1) Do you see your role as mother as a calling from God?
2) How do you feel about balancing what you need to do for your health with the health of your family and their needs?
3) What helps you find this balance?
4) If you are not a mother, do you see a role for yourself in leading the little children?