Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed Proverbs 31:25-28a
This Scripture reminds me so much of my mother. Yes, my mother, who at the age of 30 was diagnosed with a disease that means “great weakness”, is one of the strongest women I know. She is also full of joy, wisdom, and kindness. She has a unique high-pitched giggle when her grand-children tell a joke that is priceless. Her wise words to those in need of them provide so many with comfort and counsel. She never fails to reach out in kindness to those who have a need for a mother. Many times growing up, I would get jealous of these “adopted” children, wanting to maintain my status as an “only child”. Only now do I see these siblings as just that, part of my family. They have helped me see parts of my mother that otherwise would have remained hidden to my selfish eyes.
Despite having to spend much of her time resting and conserving her energy just to be able to breathe and complete basic self-care tasks, she is not idle. As a child I did not always understand this. What I have come to realize over the years of growing up as her daughter, witnessing the ebbs and flows of her illness, the energy she expends to sit up, breathe, move from here to there, is equivalent, if not more so, to the energy I expend on my “long run” days. She is a warrior. Battle-beaten and yet able to stand up one more time, for one more day, for one more try. If I ever “rise-up” in this world, it is because I have been blessed by her strength, dignity, taught to love through her kindness and joy for the world, and made wiser by being a part of her life.
There are other women in my life that have also shown this passage to be true to me. My step-mother is one of those women. Admittedly, I don’t know if I really understood what role she had in my life until I had my own children. She was my dad’s wife, my siblings’ mother, but I struggled to relate to her on my own. However, she never stopped trying—reaching out, working to connect with me, when I am sure she wanted to give up. As I began my own family, I saw her in a different light. God revealed to me her strength, her dignity. Over the past few years, I have seen her sacrifice with a smile, her time, her energy, her daily life to care for my father, my brother, and her mother. Regardless of the challenges she is confronted with in this role, she stands tall and presses on. She has found joy in dark times and has been a source of wisdom for me as I care for my own mother. She has opened her heart to me many times allowing me to see that despite the difficulty, it is her call to love all of us in her family…and that she does well. I am often taken aback by her simple acts of kindness. Just the other day, after working long hours, caring for my brother and attending to household duties, she came to watch my son play a baseball game. There she sat, on the ground in order to have a good view of her grandchild. I would have understood if she was too tired…and she probably was…but she came anyway…and I love her for that.
There are many more mothers in my life that have opened their hearts and lives to me. My mother –in-law, I can honestly say is one of my best friends. She prays for me—and has been since before she knew me, she laughs with me, offers me godly counsel, and shows me how to love—REALLY love—others, even when it is the hardest thing to do. My grandmothers, those that are still with me and the one who has gone on to “glory” as she would say, all of them have their own role in planting seeds and helping me grow as a wife, mother, and friend. I would not ‘BE’ at all without my mother, but the “other mothers” also help me strive to “be” and “become” who God would have me be.
Happy Mothers’ Day to you all.
For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother. Mark 3:35