Friday, May 8, 2020

Remembering My Mother

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 
I Thessalonians 5:11
Remembering My MotherGrowing up I did not live in a home that was comfortable and peaceful all the time.  My father was an alcoholic and that caused many other significant issues in our family.  But my mother often would remind me to have a good attitude and trust God. She always tried to be encouraging. One thing I remember is that my mother would always tell me “Chin up Wilbur”! - a line from the beloved children’s classic, Charlotte’s Web.  Charlotte, the spider, was always telling Wilbur the pig to keep his chin up, encouraging him to stay positive.  Another thing my mother did to keep things cheerful was to decorate our house for every holiday – and I mean everyholiday.  Flag Day, St. Patrick’s Day, no matter how insignificant or “uncelebrated” the day was, if they made decorations for the day, she had them.  When she decorated she went all out.  Table centerpieces, decorations hanging from the ceiling, etc…One of her friends always called it changing her bulletin boards like a teacher would.
A Mother’s Encouragement
This changing of the bulletin boards with the seasons or holidays may seem so insignificant and even silly to some but we expected it and it brought us comfort.  We knew that our house was going to be as decked out for Valentine’s Day as it was for Christmas.  I think this was my mother’s way of making things as good as she could.  She couldn’t change some of the very hard things in our lives but this was a way of showing us that life goes on, that we trust God and just make the most of it.  She could have become depressed, taken drugs, or any number of other things.  But instead she chose to look to God and spread a little cheer to her family – as much was in her power.  These decorations brought in a little happiness and joy to a sometimes very dark place, and they are some of my fondest memories.
I think as mothers that is part of our job.  We have to help our children see that things are usually not really as bad as they think they are and no matter what, God is good and the sun will rise tomorrow, a new day.  If we just lie down on the floor and cry too then we will really rock their world. They are trusting us to be strong and carry them when they are weak, put their world back together when it is falling apart. If we are falling apart, we can’t do that for them. We are their living lesson on what faith in God looks like.  
Henry Ward Beecher, a 19th Century American clergyman said it this way, "The mother's heart is the child's schoolroom." Truly, a parent's attitude may set the tone of the entire family.  As mothers God gave us a very important job.  We are the anchor, the level, the thermostat.  It is a hard job, and only in God will we truly will find the strength and the tools to be all He plans for us to be to our families. 
The past two months we have been tested. Life has been uncertain, our normal has disappeared, our kids didn’t get to graduate from any grade, or even tell their friends goodbye for the summer. Parent and grandparents have become teachers - Art, Math, English, History, Science, P.E., Music, and more. We have all been pushed out of our comfort zone, while IN our comfort zone of home. It has been both trying and, in some respects, refreshing at the same time, but it has been uncomfortable to some degree too. Uncomfortable because it’s not what we are used to. Our schedules have been interrupted and the future seems uncertain. Yet, as mothers we have carried this all out while at the same time reassuring our children everything will be ok. Because that is what mothers do. 
Don’t let the hardships of this life get you down and spread from you to your family.  Be a beacon to them in the storm.  Someday they will remember your positive attitude and strong testimony of faith. 
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us,
to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 4:20

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