What Makes a Great Mother
May is the time of year when we celebrate Mother’s Day. Ephesians 6:2 reminds us that we are to “Honor your father and mother.” It is always right to honor your mother. This year, we invited members of our congregation to share with us the secrets of being a great mother. Today’s post comes from Lisa Brock.

My Little Mom

My mother is one of those people, perhaps easily misunderstood when you first meet her. A petite lady, now crowned with beautiful white hair, she measures only about 5’2”. From the time we were teen-agers, my three sisters and I always towered at least 5 five full inches above her. She is rather shy, blushes easily, and isn’t much for “speaking her mind”. Though her hazel eyes have that ability to express all the feeling her reserved nature prohibits her from showing, she is quiet, and demure; sometimes blends into the background. And she is small. She has delicate feet, and tiny hands. People could perhaps think she is weak, lacks imagination, has no courage, or strength; not a person who takes big risks or makes their “mark in the world.”

She Read to Me

Well…these are some things I remember about my mother: I’ve seen that graceful head bent over the piano at church, accompanying as my dad and countless others sang for special music. I saw the hands leading the choir for many years, and doing Bible School crafts, or playing volleyball with the youth group. I often saw the arms hugging the kids she had led to Christ, or saw them compassionately wrapped around the shoulders of an insecure teen girl. The smallness of the hands never seemed to lack strength or ability, whether they were sewing, knitting, crocheting, cross-stitching, cooking endless meals, baking and canning, painting, gardening, or any number of chores that needed to be done on our small farm. During her 20 years as a teacher, I watched those keen hazel eyes as she graded thousands of papers for her students. But she wasn’t just a teacher at school. In her beautifully articulate speech, she taught us that priceless lessons can be learned from good, well-written books. I still feel closeness to my mom when I’m transported somewhere else through classic literature. I find myself thinking, “Mom would love this: She would love it with me.” I treasure the memory of her lilting, expressive voice in my ear, reading me classic stories like The Snow Queen, and parts of Gulliver’s Travels and The Hobbit. She read us books like The Cricket in Times Square and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s Magic. I still love to hear her read scripture aloud; it brings back that safe and peaceful feeling of knowing truth, and watching it lived.

She Played with Me

I remember playing games with my mom; games like Flinch and Authors and Old Maid. She has a great sense of humor, and playfully sang us silly songs, or quipped something funny to brighten a tough situation. She still has her grandchildren begging her to recite “Prindercella and the Cince” ( a story about Cinderella and the Prince that is full of malapropisms) My mom played with me. She let me dress her up and put make up on her and curl her hair; she played dolls with me, and taught me how to knit them tiny sweaters. She taught me to play Ping-Pong, and jacks, and Chinese jump-rope.

She Cared for Me and Others

Though never given to showing dramatic emotion in crisis, I remember the coolness of her small hand on my fevered forehead and then watching those delicate hands quietly clean up after me when I was sick. I also remember seeing my mom’s arms gripping the body of my older sister to comfort her through an epileptic seizure till it subsided. I was awed, years after I left home, when I came back to visit and saw the strength of those small arms, as she lifted her own paralyzed mother, and diapered her each night. She cared for her mom for three years, during which her mother-in-law also came to live with them, and then she participated in caring for them both until their death. Neither ever went to a long-term nursing facility.

She Prayed with Me

Those beautiful hands held mine countless times around our table in prayer, and I knew when I watched them holding her worn and tattered Bible, what she truly valued most. Her tiny wedding ring was a fascinating “play thing” during the hundreds of church services we attended as small children, and only now do I understand the depth of its significance. It made me happy and secure to see my mom’s sweet smile flashed at my dad, as they spoke to one another. I remember watching her curiously as she fixed her hair, and put on fresh lipstick, just because she knew he was coming home soon.

She Taught Me By Her Example

Those delicate feet have walked into many homes to serve and encourage the old and young, believers and non-believers. She, by example, taught me the grace of being thoughtful, and slow to speak, and how important it is to choose my words carefully. She taught me the significance of being a good listener and a caring, generous friend.

Her arms have embraced my husband and held my children. Over the years, we have received hundreds of cards of love and encouragement, carefully chosen, and signed in her graceful handwriting. Throughout our home are many handmade things that “Gramma made me”. They are treasured.

She Taught Me to Seek the Good in Each Situation

I can still hear her voice reminding us to seek the good in each situation, to pity and encourage the weak, and to try to think the best of others. She always sought to share the gospel with us and those around her, weaving it in and through her daily experience. She comforted and stood by us when we failed, and always reminded us to do our best for God’s glory. Whenever she speaks of God’s greatness, her eyes are alive; they are energetic and animated, and twinkle with excitement and joy. I have also seen those eyes sympathetic and grave with sorrow and concern, yet always peaceful and confident in Her Savior. I’ve often seen them closed in prayer. Her sweet voice is lifted daily, in fervent supplication for me, my family and so many others, and her small hands are lifted in constant, humble praise for Her Lord’s provisions and blessings.
My little mom taught me these fundamental, life-altering truths in a myriad of  small ways:
  • God, what He says, and His people are the only things that are the only things that are eternal, and truly important.
  • I am not the center of the Universe; God is, and His Glory and Honor is my principle purpose.
  • God’s Agenda always supersedes and overrides mine.
  • Prayer is a demonstration of my dependency on and trust in, that Sovereign God.

So what is the measure of the influence of this one, small woman on me?

It is huge. Enormous. Immense. Just like my gratitude. Will I fill her shoes?  God grant me grace to ever be that big.

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