My mother passed away twelve days ago at the age of 90. Like some of you, I always said that I didn’t want to be like my mother. I lived with her weaknesses, and strengths aren’t always evident to those who live up close. But time brings perspective, and I now identify much to learn from her life.
My daughter said it well–Mother had her priorities right, putting faith and family above all else. She volunteered in her church for years, even while responsible for home, children, and teaching school. She tirelessly cooked and gave food away to those with health issues, losses, celebrations–or just because they loved her food! She lived out a concern for others as she served them.
Virtually all of Mother’s friends share how much her daily prayers for them meant. Through celebrations and hardships, she daily lifted up their needs before God. For the past few years, she and her friend Ozzie have prayed together over the phone through Mother’s prayer list every day. Mother said that once they were on her list, they were there until Jesus returned or took her home, and her friends have testified to her faithfulness to that promise. I will personally miss knowing that there is someone who prays for me every single day.
As I mentioned, Mother had her weaknesses. Because she dealt with fear, she took God up on his invitation to come to him for his strength. When she faced issues that scared her, she prayed. Although she never lost her fearful disposition, God used it to draw her closer to himself and call her to faithfully pray for others.
God designed Mother to be an encourager. Her success as a first-grade teacher came from the encouragement she gave each child, symbolized by the hug she gave them as they departed each day. Her calendar was full of birthdays to help her remember those special occasions with a thoughtful card. Although her mobility became an issue as she aged, she continued to love on those people whom God had placed in her life through cards, notes, and phone calls. Although the way she encouraged changed with her changing health, she never quit doing the work that God called her to do on earth—encourage those around her.
I am blessed to have had a mother who left a legacy of faith and love.
What positive lessons did you learn from your parents?
This was originally posted September 10, 2013 on Beyond, which is no longer online.