You know, they say that actions speak louder than words, and this week, I have had time to reflect on this truth. As a mom, I have really thought about my words and my actions: did they match? Did I talk a good game but not live it out? Was I inconsistent?
Then, I started thinking about my own mother and how her actions so effected me. As a matter of fact, I discovered that I remember more about what she did than what she said. Here’s a few of the things my mother’s life taught me:
Practice what you Preach. My mother was my favorite Sunday School teacher. She led me to the Lord. What she taught me at church and at home, she sought to live out every day of her life. She was far from perfect, but seemed perfect in my eyes, because she at least did the best she could to live what she believed and what she taught. I saw her both at church and at home, and she tried to live like Jesus in both places.
The greatest joy comes not in what you can get, but what you can give away. My mother always wanted us to keep our things nice. I used to hate it when she would say “everything has a place”. The truth was that she didn’t want to have to replace it, and so she didn’t want us girls tearing things up! Maybe that was because she always would rather give than get. When I was growing up, if my mother wasn’t baking her famous pound cake for someone, she was planning a tea, baby shower, or helping with something at the church. She sang in the choir and had an amazing voice, and between that and teaching Sunday School, she was always giving with someone else in mind. And at Christmas and Birthdays, she could hardly wait for you to open the present that she found especially for you! It made her day to give! She gives her life away even today as she volunteers at a local hospital, always finding a way to help by praying for those who come in.
Every day is a gift, so enjoy it. My mom has always tried to make every event special. Even though we hated when she made us dress up and act out the play of Jesus’ birth, or sing happy birthday to baby Jesus, or decorate the bunny cake at Easter, my mom makes everything a celebration to remember. She knew that life doesn’t owe us anything. Life is what you make of it.
Life is what you make of it.
The only thing you can control in this life is you. My mother has always been one of the kindest women you will ever meet. She can find something good in everyone and always makes excuses for the bad character in someone. She knew that people would say and do hurtful things, but it was our response that made us the bigger person. It was us acting like Jesus when others did not, that made the Light of Jesus shine brighter for other’s to see. I saw her smile in the faces of her enemies, and respond with grace when she could have easily taken revenge.
Tell people how you feel while you have the time to do so. My mother writes a personal note in every card she sends or gives to me. She makes sure she tells me how proud she is of me, how great she thinks I am, and how deeply she loves me. Whether she has wanted to wring my neck or hold me close, I have never not known where my mother stood with me relationally. Her family is very important to her because she grew up an only child on a farm and was oftentimes lonely. So not only does she let her family know how much she loves them, she will also rise up with the fury of an upset hornet’s nest if you mess with her babies (even if they are in their 50’s) and grandbabies! She will let you know right quick if she doesn’t like the way you are treating her children!
Keep your commitments. My mother taught me the value of keeping your word. She told me that my word was my honor and it may kill me but I needed to do what I said I would do. I watched my mother keep every commitment she ever made. It didn’t matter if she was sick, tired, or sad, she was going to put herself aside and do what she said she would do. She is committed to her God, her marriage and her family. And that will never change.
Your word is your honor.
Make your house a warm and inviting home, open to all. My mother’s house is pristine. Everything is always freshly cleaned, cooked, and manicured. We used to say we could eat off her floors. The house was always tidied to perfection, and when asked she would tell us that you never know when someone might drop by and you want the house to be perfect for them so that they feel special. Our doors were always open and other women often came to my house to talk with my mother. A good glass of sweet tea, a hug, and a prayer could minister to any woman’s soul!
There are so many more things I could post about my amazing mother, but what has stuck with me today is my gratitude for her and the challenge to leave a legacy like her for those that come behind me.
In closing, I’d like to hear from you today. In honor of your mother, what would you say is one thing that she taught you by the way she lived?