The Things Mom Said-Proverbs 3: 5, 6

Mom BDI don’t know what makes one woman a good mother and another one of similar circumstance named not so good. I know every mother feels the mix of being both a good mother on some days, and often never good enough. They are like every person who shares the air on the planet; we are all a mix of mostly good who have a tendency to get in our own way.

I never fully appreciated the silver haired lady whose hair color caused motorist to stop, a claim my mom made often. I do know my mother loved me through adolescent years that surely caused her to question everything, including herself. She was a widow of two small children, doing a job with little thanks. We thanked her in small deeds like hand painted jars, when we were young and in easy words like, “You’re the greatest!”, as we grew older. The gratitude we expressed wasn’t the reason she thanklessly did all the things a good mother does for her children.

There’s no other force like the sway the love of a child has over a mother. Sophia says to Tara or Gigi, “I wuv’ you,” they melt. Chloe cuddles and Torie or Terri they cry. Olivia’s entrance into the world caused her family to drop what they were doing and come from all parts to welcome her into the world. Her aunt Lauren talked her boyfriend to flying her to Georgetown in his Cessna to see Olivia and her parents on Friday evening.GIrls are Home cropped

The depth of love a mother feels is why she stays upright in the bittersweet days of parenting that are filled with joy mixed with anguish. She knows the crushing impotence of watching a child travel alone paths that lead to the thrills of victory and agony of defeat that inevitably come. Sometimes, all a mother can do is offer words that become wiser as the child grows older.

This brings me to wiser words shared by my mother. The words seated in her soul were not her own words, but words that come from the Proverbs. One of the last gifts I bought had these words on it to say to her again, “I hear you mom”. Let me connect her guiding verse to her go to phrases and catch words, praying they cause us to recall the things our mothers say. I thank her grandchildren for helping me recall the things mom said.

Mom teachingTrust in the Lord with all your heart-My mom was a smart woman. Her head was filled with stories of history that guided her. She possessed a nimble mathematic mind for calculus and trigonometry. She had advance degrees early in adulthood and held tight to her value that a broad education was the key to life. She practiced what she preached, by saving so she could pay for both my sister and I to attend Baylor University.

My head was floating as I entered the thin air of university life, jumping straight from adolescence to the world of academia. Expectations changed quickly as professors raised the bar and I encountered a student body that was singularly focused. It felt like I had grown up overnight, except I didn’t have bills to pay and no responsibility for anyone other than myself.

I would come home and spat off what I was learning, She patiently listened because she was genuinely interested.  While wrestling with the new ideas she inserted a favorite sayings, “Don’t let your mind get ahead of your heart.” Trust in the Lord with all your heart. It was her way of saying no matter how many degrees I obtain; I must not forget my faith.

It’s likely, a mother or a mother like figure told you to trust in the Lord with all your heart. She knew what was going on in the heart is more valuable than what is in your head. She loved you so much she would often express her hope that your heart is being shaped by a faith that goes beyond what you can know. My mom said, “Don’t let your head get ahead of your heart.”Peace Out

Don’t rely on your own insight– Mom had an even temperament; she was born with it. There were times when she was frustrated; yet, she rarely expressed those feelings with words. She was slow to speak. When she felt something was just wrong her words of discontent were either “phooey or fiddlesticks”. It befuddled me how she could remain so low key in big moments with such benign words.

Then, I would hear these words from the Proverb loudly in my heart, “Lean not on your own understanding” citing the King James Version of the proverb. Though she was a smart, she didn’t need to comprehend all matters. Instead, she would look at what she couldn’t understand and say phooey or fiddlesticks, which translates, “Don’t rely on your own insight.”

We’re not all born with an even temperament. We have the cognitive ability and the spiritual sense to acknowledge limitations. We’re set up for failure when we’re solely dependent on our own insights. At times, we have to say phooey or fiddlesticks, which translates, “Don’t rely on your own insight.”

grandkids kissing sillyIn all your ways acknowledge God-Mom wanted to know her students, neighbors, and stranger alike. She went beyond asking ‘How are you?’ to ‘Who are you?’ Her interest in other persons came from genuinely wanting to connect with the person before her. Persons often commented how much she cared after meeting her for a few moments or knowing her for many years. Her care for others was her way of acknowledging God.

She connected to students who were unwed teenage moms, incarcerated youths in a drug rehab, and adults completing their High School education. She knew more than their names and the needed assignments they were to complete. She celebrated their accomplishments and cried when life set them back. She acknowledged God by acknowledging the persons who she served with the same love and interest she felt God bestowed on her.

I learned a phrase I never heard mom speak. We, along with three of our four children, were enjoying the patio last Sunday with our granddaughters too. The oldest, Lauren, has a new interest. Her sister asked his middle name. Lauren hesitated and was reminded what grandma said, “You don’t kiss until you know their middle name.”

Mom acknowledged God by relating to others the way she related to God, personally and intimately. She expected her family to do the same. This meant you don’t kiss until you know them (at least their middle name). We invest in knowing who others are, so our lives are enriched by their presence among us. In all our ways acknowledge God is translated, “You don’t kiss until you know their middle name.”Mom and Dad Wedding day

God will direct your path–Mom grew up poor but privileged. That meant her father and mother did not have much material wealth; working as a seamstress and gas station manager. They privileged their kids by so that my mom and uncle were afforded a good education. Though I am there were days my grandparents weren’t sure how they would make ends meet, yet they were a people of deep faith, sure God was directing their paths, regardless of what challenges they faced.

My mother was a widow at age 36. I was eight and my sister was four. In 1967, a widow faced hard choices. My father was a rising professional and the sole supporter of the family. Most widows her age remarried. Instead, Mom pushed forward, declaring to her children in word and deed God would direct our paths. Her understanding of these words was expressed in her own idiom to anyone facing uncertain days. She would say, “Life is a pendulum, it may swing one way, but it will swing back.”

We’re all poor but privileged. We know life brings its share of good and not so good days. We can let that which can makes us feel poor break us. Or, we can trust God is directing our paths, which can be translated, “Life is a pendulum, it may swing one way but it will swing back.”

Mom take up phones croppedThese are some of things my mom said. Let me tell you one thing she did any person can do on any day. The last time my mom was with her grandkids before the surgery, which she didn’t recover, she invited them to her apartment for game night. She greeted them with a basket; instructing them to place phones in it because she wanted their undivided attention that night. Mom knew the first rule of wisdom: Pay Attention. For eighty plus years she paid attention to the voice of God and to the lives of others. On this night she wanted the undivided attention of her grandchildren.

Mother’s Day is a chance to give others undivided attention in response to God’s undivided attention to our lives. A life of undivided attention better hears God say, “Trust in the Lord with all our heart, rely not on our own insight, but in all our ways acknowledge God and God will direct our paths.”

Happy Mother’s Day

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