I know, I know - it's cliché and expected to talk about my mom on Mother's Day - but I'm sure that doesn't mean she appreciates it any less. And my mother has put up with a lot from me, so she deserves my putting aside my detest for giving into the cliché. Besides, God has really spoken to me lately about my relationship with her, and I have only recently begun to see the true impact she has had on my life - aside from the clean diapers, lessons in personal hygiene and freedom to be the independent woman I am today.
She has taught me what it means to love unconditionally - even when her children bite back or reject her input, even when the man she married was not always the spiritual leader she needed.
She loved. And she has been the ultimate example for the strength required to submit to the one she had vowed to honor - even when it seemed things would never change. Always, at every turn, I saw her submitting first to God and then to her husband. In all things. Even at the times I felt she should quit.
And our God is faithful.
For as long as I can remember, my mother rose before the rest of her family (or at the very least before her children) - much like the woman of Proverbs 31 - resting in her spot on the sofa in the corner of the family room, one single lamp shining, Bible open on her lap, head bowed in prayer. There were a few mornings - those of fevers or misplaced jeans - when I dared to interrupt for my needs of the moment and, always, she gave me the time. But most mornings I knew this was not my time - this was God's time.
Those mornings spent in prayer are what I believe carried my family to where we are today. Through the struggles, through the bitterness, through the anger and unresolved conflict (brought to resolution years later). We are here - all at the feet of Jesus, together.
The husband who was ill-equipped for spiritual leadership for much of their marriage has found His stride - carrying her now to the throne - sitting, now, in that same corner that used to be hers - lifting up her name to His Father - praying to love her, love his kids and, most of all, love God, with all he has to offer.
Our God is faithful.
And I pray I will know how to honor in the same way she has - how to live an example of daily living in God's Word to my children and to always respect the man with which I have been blessed even, especially, on those days I don't agree. Trusting always in the God who is faithful.
Thank you, Mom, for never giving up and for loving us all, even on the days we were so unlovely.
"Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 'Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.'" - Proverbs 31:28-29
Happy Mother's Day to my beautiful Mom and wonderful sister (also, not pictured - in this photo circa May 2009 - my fantastic mother-in-law and amazing sister-in-law!)