There’s a story I love to tell about my mom. It’s about the time she called me Helen. Yes, Helen. She got so excited and tongue tied in trying to quickly get my attention that what came out wasn’t a “Heather” but a “Helen.” That happened about twenty-one years ago now but she hasn’t lived it down yet. It’s hysterical! Mostly because there’s not even a Helen in our family! So for her to pull that one out of her hat was completely random!
Mom is for sure a character. The best kind at that!
She’s funny—always eager to laugh (even if that means she is the target of the joke).
She’s feisty—never intimidated to speak up in a moment of injustice (whether it gets colorful or not).
She’s compassionate—seizing ways to help and serve others (regardless if it means she’ll have to sacrifice something for herself to do it).
And those are just some of my personal observations. I got to learn from a secure mother—a mother who wasn’t concerned about being my best friend when I was growing up. It might sound like a simple approach to parenting but listen now! I know there are times you’ve had to feel like Brandon and I have a time or many, crawling in bed at the end of the day. Wondering, “Will we EVER have a good relationship with so said child?” Really, guys. Do you just wonder sometimes if the people you’re raising are going to grow up into someone you’d want to spend your vacation with or holiday dinners with? It sounds terrible, I know. But for real. It’s been a thought. It’s been a concern.
Then I reflect back to Mom. She wasn’t my best friend UNTIL I became an adult. Now she’s both.
So in the hard places of parenting I remind myself that the contentions of today don’t define the relationship for tomorrow.
We’ll stick with the high calling of parenting, most especially when it’s hard because the biggest blessings come from some of the hardest battles. It’s our job to be secure in the objective set before us and sometimes that means we’re gonna go to bed with kids who don’t like us.
Which brings me to the next thing I’ve gained from Mom. My friend Jayne Patton summed it up when she said, “We parent out of faith and not fear.” Mom never said those words but she lived them. She lived them when she saw her little boy dead on a country dirt road and her daughter being loaded into a helicopter. You see, Jayne’s phrase came out of Mom’s mouth in a power statement like this:
“My daughter will not die.”
She spoke it in the face of a number-- a 140% chance of dying number. And when everyone questioned if I’d make it through the night, or the next day or the next few weeks, Mom had a blessed assurance that YES! I would! Knowing my mom could stand in such parenting faith in the face of death and tragedy confirms to me that I can stand in parenting faith for the bumps, disappointments and heartaches we mamas and daddies so frequently face raising our babies into big people.
Which circles me back around to that feistiness I mentioned earlier. Let me tell you, my five-foot-one-inch mother (by the way, she stretches it and says she’s five-two but don’t believe her—you’ve read it correctly right here), though she be short she be strong! So very, very strong. I’ve had the last year to reflect in written words how immensely strong Mom is. She was strong enough to be the bad guy when she needed to be. At times she may have appeared heartless to others but was everything God called her to be for me. It wasn’t about her—or how she felt—it was being what she needed to be for her kid. Whether celebrated or disapproved, she trudged forward full steam.
My parents walked a journey most people can’t even fathom. But it was their grit and determination I have to thank for being able to walk today, for being able to extend my arms and use my legs. My quality of life today is because they had the resolve to push me past what was easy. Oh how it wasn’t easy for them. But oh how thankful I am that they were more concerned with what was best than what was comfortable.
Gracious how I hope we can do that for our kids. All of us parents.
In her book, The Story of My Life, Helen Keller said of her mother,
“Indeed, I owe to her loving wisdom all that was bright and good in my long night.”
Yes. I too owe to my mom’s loving wisdom all that was bright and good in the long night’s of my life.
I’ve witnessed a real-life Wonder Woman. And while we may be different in a variety of ways, I’ve emulated her in so many more! I’ll never be Mom, but I sure hope to honor her by how God honored my life with her.
“The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” II Chronicles 16:9a NLT
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*Thank you Mallory Hall Photography for the cherished 2018 Mama's Day photo <3