So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.”
~1 Samuel 1:20 New International Version (NIV)~
There are probably only two people on the face of this earth that I would give my life to protect. My daughter and my mother. Though there are others whom I love dearly (Dad, sisters, nephew), these two hold a special place in my heart because they both gave me life; one by giving me a reason to live and the other by bringing me into this world. Aside from my love for my God, who also gave me life; there is no greater love in my heart than that which exists for these two wonderful ladies. With that said, I had a heartbreaking revelation the other day. I love my daughter with all of my heart. I need to know where she is and what she is doing at all times. She is still young enough for me to have that sort of control over her whereabouts…at least when she isn’t visiting with her father. But even then, I wouldn’t know what to do if I couldn’t call her and check on her and ask her what kind of day she’s had. If I couldn’t hear her beautiful voice each day, I believe I would probably die. Yes, I love that child with all my heart.
This, however, was not my epiphany. I got to thinking about how my life had been when I was my daughter’s age. My mother was my world. I looked to her for everything and I learned just about everything I know from her. My mother was and still is one of the strongest and most loving women I have ever known. She doesn’t like for many people to know that, but it’s the truth. And her life has not been without great obstacles. I won’t divulge the details of her story, for that is not my duty. But I want to say that the thought of my mother ever sitting and wondering why I hadn’t called her or checked in with her for any period of time brought me to tears the other day. If there was ever a time when I needed her, she was there. I never had to worry that I would go hungry, or go without clothing or shelter. I was brought up to be a strong, self-sufficient woman who would not be overtaken by fear even when the darkest days were upon me. I was brought up this way because that’s how she has lived her life. She would never admit to being afraid and even if she was, you better know that messing with her could be detrimental to your health. This little woman means business when it comes to protecting herself or any of her daughters and now, even her grandchildren can count on that same steadfast devotion.
I am the oldest of three girls, all of whom are now parents and all of whom love their own children very deeply. We learned that from our mother. She taught us that a mother’s job is the most important job we would ever have. I think back to when I was in my twenties and I was acting stupid. Through all of that, I could expect a daily call from my mom. She was checking on me because she knew that I was going through something and that I wasn’t handling things well at the time. And I know that she prayed for me when I was lost. She may not fit everyone’s definition of a modern-day Christian woman, but she absolutely lives her life in a way that would make Jesus proud. She doesn’t feel the need to be popular or to fit in with what everyone else is doing. And you will always know exactly where you stand with her. She doesn’t lie, cheat or steal and she doesn’t hurt others to make herself happy. She has a healthy fear of God and a strong belief in His power. I’ve been blessed to have such a wonderful role model for a mother, but sadly, there have been many times when I know that I’ve made her feel like she was a failure because I expected her to never make a mistake. It wasn’t until I had a child of my own that I truly understood how easy it is to give your all to someone and still fall short in their eyes. And it’s not because I was a bad child, necessarily, it’s more that I wasn’t mature enough to understand that we can’t ever be Jesus to anyone. We can only point them in His direction. It was never fair of me to have such an expectation of my mother, though she made it easy for me to believe that she was perfect and capable of doing anything. I didn’t realize how much strength that took until I was trying to show that same strength to my own daughter.
So, the purpose of this post is not just to tell you what a blessing my mother has been, but to urge you to take a moment to think about what a blessing your mother has been. I think we’ve all had our moments when we have been less than perfect children to our parents. But as we approach Mother’s Day this year, please take a few moments to do a little more than just send the obligatory card and flowers. Tell your mother you love her and that you appreciate the sacrifices you know she made for you. And if you need to, tell her that you’re sorry for being a jerk. Even if she had issues that kept your life from being perfect, understand that being a mom is not easy. Suddenly, you have a whole new person to take care of and the fear of hurting them or failing them is ever-present. Especially today, it is tough to know whether or not your decisions are going to have the best possible impact on your child. If we’ve been hurt or victimized by someone, then we have even more challenges in trying to be a good parent. Sometimes, just being able to feed, clothe and house our children adequately is the only thing we can promise. And sometimes we make mistakes. But no matter how imperfect your mother may have been, if she managed to bring you into this world then she accomplished something that is forever worth your gratitude.