This week on the blog tour we’re doing a sketch of our hero. I’ve got many heros, including James MacDonald, Phil Vischer, Russell Wilson, and Jane Austen. But the one I’ve chosen to outline today is my mother.
Mama lived a rough childhood and I’m always amazed that she turned out sane. She was cycled through several foster homes, and spent a portion of her teen years at a catholic school run by nuns and participating in a Biker gang. After a failed first marriage and a troubled second one, she still managed to raise us kids with a Christian heritage. For all her faults, she loved Jesus, and that is what I remember most.
Mama taught me the value of many things in life.
1) Laughter – She loved a good joke and her laugh was infectious. She often cracked herself up when telling a story, which made it even funnier.
2) Volunteering – In my teen years, Mama could often be found helping out at one of the schools. During a bad flood my senior year that closed most of the roads, she couldn’t make it home so she went to the high school, which had been opened for those who were stranded. Mama manned the phones so folks could reach out to loved ones.
3) Accepting who you are – Mama was a large woman with multiple health problems and no medical insurance. She was the first to call herself ‘fat’ and wasn’t ashamed of her size. She figured God made her that way for a reason and she wasn’t going to fuss about it.
4) Unconditional love – Our small cabin was always full of people, many of which came and went. Mama called it “taking in strays”, kids who had nowhere to go, or needed to get away from their trouble homes for a while. She never expected anything but a few chores in return. She had such a big heart, I’m surprised she didn’t make dad build onto the cabin so she could take in more people!
5) Music – In my younger years, Mama could often be found either at the out-of-tune piano she got from a church or strumming her 4 string guitar. She loved singing about Jesus, and we sometimes gathered together for family worship, just for fun. She had been trained in opera when she was young, and I remember that sometimes her voice annoyed me. Now I remember it as one of the sweetest sounds I’ve ever known.
6) Prayer – I didn’t notice it as much when I was young, but as I went through my teen years I could tell Mama was praying for me and my siblings. I felt it the most when I went to college, and it made being away from home easier for me. She taught me the concept of standing in the gap, a truth I’ve only just begun to revisit.
7) Loving Jesus and the Bible – Mama had one of those Bibles that was stuffed full of bookmarks. Most of it was underlined or marked with highlighters, and she wrote notes all over the place. She did a lot of casual counseling with more people than I can count. God gave her wisdom, and I’ll always remember her most used phrases.
- “You paint your world with your words, so be careful what you say.”
- “God won’t separate you from your ‘friends’; you have to choose to walk away from sinful behaviors.”
- “In order to change, capture your thoughts. The rest will follow. PAFT – perceptions, attitude, feelings – it all starts with your thoughts.”
- “When you don’t want to do something you know is right, ask God to change your ‘want-to’.
I could probably go on, but you get the idea. Mama was extraordinary, and I wouldn’t be who I am today without her. Although she struggled with Multiple Schlerosis all her life, it was cancer that took her home 12 years ago. I can’t wait to see her again when I get to Heaven! And I can’t wait for my children to finally have the opportunity to know her.
Who is your hero?