“I got it from my Mama”, is a saying you’ll hear a lot here in the south. It basically sums up my life in a nutshell. I am definitely my mother’s daughter, there’s no other way about it. Apart from the obvious like our eyes or our smile, we think alike and we share an indestructible, unbreakable bond. My mom is more than my mother, she is also my friend. With this new chapter of life lessons, I want to really digg in on the diverse and different relationships in my life. I’ve opened up about the influence of my parents and my marriage on my life recently but today I’m going to share a little more about my Mama, who she is and who she has shaped me to be.
Life Lesson #54 is the story of a Bold, Relentless Love.
I grew up in an extraordinary loving home. I was an only child. Let me make this clear though, I was never lonely, nor was I spoiled. I had all I ever needed and mostly what I wanted, but I was never a stranger to the word “NO”. Our home was always full of laughter, family and friends. My parents were active in home ministry from the time I can remember. We didn’t share too many meals without an added plate or two set at the table. I can’t remember how many nights I gave up my room for someone in need of a bed. You might think this was not fair to a child, but my mom knew better. She knew it was a way of teaching her only child what sharing, giving, thinking of others and self-sacrifice was all about. Mama knew in the long run I would have compassion and grace and those gifts would have a greater, longer lasting effect on my life than one night without the comfort of my own bed.
My mom is an exceptionally beautiful woman. She’s the kind of women who has no idea she’s beautiful. She’s not only kind, gracious and giving, she’s young at heart, full of a contagious vibrant and radiant light. To know her is to love to her. She knows no stranger; no one leaves without a hug. The best part of watching her make new friends is not only witnessing the love they feel but walk away with as well. When she loves, she loves with all her heart, with everything she has and thinks nothing of herself. Mom isn’t a saint, because none of us are but she’s authentic and real and that’s what makes her so truly special. She’s the kind of woman Proverbs 31:28 talks about, “Her children show their appreciation, and her husband praises her.” My mom has been my greatest example of real, unbelievable, unconditional love. She has not only given me her wholehearted, unrestricted and unequivocal love but shown me how to be a Godly woman with integrity. Her character is undisputed and she’s about real as real gets.
I am the woman I am today not only because of the woman my mother not only raised me to be, but because of the woman she is herself. I have learned to love, to forgive, to laugh, to find hope in spite of despair, to be brave, to get up and try to again even when life keeps knocking me down. I not only found Jesus, but I have seen Him in her. I have watched my Mom my whole life give everything away, shown not only compassion but patience, rejoicing in the gifts God has given others even when it meant suffering in her own life. Her decision to love even after rejection and to celebrate the goodness of God’s tender mercies in the middle of turmoil has influenced my life tremendously. To say I am strong is to give credit to my mom. I am but a mere reflection of her example.
Ultimately she has given me the ability to thrive, to live my own life, not only to share unconditional love but to accept it as well. My mom has taught me to be bold, brave and un-relentless in everything I do. I have never had to question her belief in me, she simply believed, no matter what the undertaking. Piano to choir, ballet to gymnastics and creative writing mom was my champion. Didn’t matter what it was, dolls and comic books, fairy-tales and Buck Rogers, swords and tiaras to tea parties and forts, no problem. I was encouraged to be completely, fully and whole –heartedly myself. Imagination was not only supported but enthusiastically urged on. My Mama’s arms were always open, her words soft but honest. As a child, all the way through my awkward teenage years and today as an adult I have never had to doubt my mother’s incredible ability to see the best in me even when I haven’t deserved it. Yes, we’ve had hard times, moments when we haven’t always seen eye to eye, occasions we’ve been anywhere but close to the same page and yes we’ve even had impassable junctions, the kind you just have to agree to disagree on. But, I can say with all humility I’ve never cursed my parents. Largely because I truly respect my mom and dad, partially because I keep Proverbs 20:20 in the back of my mind,” If you curse your parents, your life will end like a lamp that goes out in the dark.” (And no, I didn’t want to have my light go out, leaving me in the dark!) But being really honest it’s mostly due to their steadfast, fearless, dauntless, assured; unconditional love for me, my children, my husband and for all those who cross their path.
At the end of the day, as my mom’s life is scrutinized, and her story fully told I know she will be praised. To say her example has left an impression is an understatement. My mom is the greatest example of persistent, continuing, constant, continuous, nonstop, never-ending, unceasing, unending, unrelenting; unfaltering, unwavering unconditional love I have ever known. She has loved me since before she knew me, when I wasn’t lovable, when I wasn’t anywhere close to likable. And still she loves me. Because of her, I know what true Bold, Relentless, Unbelievable and Unconditional love is. As Ezekiel 16:44 says,” The Lord said, “People will use this proverb about you, Jerusalem: ‘Like mother, like daughter.’ I can only pray I am half the woman my mom is. After all, I get it from my Mama.