Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mom




My dad recently asked me, "What does Mom mean to you?" As I sit here across the ocean from her & think about that question, I struggle for words. How can I put into words what my Mom means to me. There are none. But I'll try my best. 

  • My Mom means strength- She is one of the strongest people I know. Unfailing, always there strength. 
  • My Mom means patience- Don't remember one time that she raised her voice to me. And I was a back-talker!!!
  • My Mom means encouragement- She IS THE MOST encouraging person I know. Always speaking encouraging words, writing encouraging words. Speaking life.
  • My Mom means trust- In very dark, painful experiences, trusting the Lord always has a purpose. I say words to myself that she always said to me, "It'll all be all right!"
  • My Mom means responsibility- Getting up at 4 am year after year to get time with the Lord before all the kids got up. She taught me to take responsibility for my actions. Another one of her quotes I often say to myself is, "I am not responsible for the actions of others, but I am responsible for my response to them."
  • My Mom means sacrifice- This is one of the main things I think of when I think of her & my Dad. She has given up SO many things. How many of you can say that you spent your life raising 16 children?!?! She gave up sleep, time alone, hobbies, friends, food, money, time with Dad & the list is endless.
  • My Mom means passion- Passion for Christ, for my Dad, for her family, for people, just radiates out of her. She never does anything half-way.
  • My Mom means beauty- She taught me what true beauty is- a love for Christ, beauty that comes from inside. She is the perfect example. And she looks pretty awesome on the outside too! 
  • My Mom means support- She supports me in what God has called me to, even though it means being thousands of miles away, her grandkids included. 
  • My Mom means courage- Her life has been an adventure. Never knowing what will be next. I'm sure it sometimes feels like she's lived 1,000 lives without ever leaving her home. It takes courage to be a mother. To adopt 14 children. She did all these things with quiet courage. My mother is the unsung SuperWoman.
  • My Mom means friend- Besides my husband, she has & always will be my best friend. I can tell her anything & we are super close. I am so thankful for that because I realize how rare it is. 
  • My Mom means love- Unconditional, God love. A lot of times it doesn't make sense. Agape, God-love, doesn't usually make sense. When I think of all the nitty-gritty details of our family, the things that are hard to love, I then think about all the things that I probably don't know about. And it makes me even more in awe of her love.

Ladies, as you get older, you always dread the comments- "You are turning into your mother!" Or "You look just like your Mom!" I am so blessed to say that whenever I hear that, (which is very often), my heart swells with love & pride, & I reply, "Why, thank you! She's absolutely amazing!" I love her more than words can say. I miss her so terribly & I wish I could be with her on Mother's Day. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. She is my HERO!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Tattoos

As I was walking to the front of Wal-Mart to try & find the shortest check-out line, I saw her. It was just another busy day. We had been home on furlough for several months & I was trying to hurry, get my stuff, & get out, which is pretty much impossible in our small town Wal-Mart. I wasn't in the best mood anyway & didn't feel like talking much.

The checker at "the shortest line" was a tattooed, pierced girl who looked "shady" to me. She had already seen me so I was pretty much committed. I just hoped maybe I wouldn't have to talk, avoided eye contact, & was thanking the Lord for how automated our world has become...when I hear this cheerful voice ask me, "How are you today?" I looked up at her face for the first time & was surprised as I saw beautiful, clear, blue eyes. She proceeded to tell me how her day had gone & about the special Easter services her church was having the next few weeks. Church. Really? I asked her where she went to church & she proceeded to tell me how she & her daughter had been saved the year before & how good it was to be free & how much joy she had now that she had Jesus.

Speechless. Tears in my eyes. I felt completely & utterly ashamed. I quietly thanked her, took my bags, & left. Here I was judging her because I saw tattoos & piercings, but in front of me was a woman who was walking with Jesus & showing her love for Him way more than I was that day. My prideful, judging heart gets in the way a lot.

I sat in the parking lot for a while. Contemplating what had just happened. Why do I so quickly jump to conclusions by looking at someone's outside? Why do I think I am any better simply because I don't "look" like that? Bam. Bam. Bam. Conviction so very heavy.

Everyone has a story. Everyone has hurts. Everyone has walked a different path. The people who came to Jesus & even the people that Jesus sought out weren't exactly picture perfect. But that's not what Jesus saw.

And that's what I realized that I am still missing. LOVE.

Jesus wanted to hear their story. He wanted to know their wounds. He wanted all the broken & bruised pieces. He wanted to show them what He saw. What LOVE sees.

He is LOVE. LOVE climbs on a tree where someone else should have died. LOVE heals by bleeding into wounds. LOVE doesn't see the outward. LOVE sees the person. LOVE wins.

Who cares about tattoos? Who cares about weird clothes? Come on, people. Let your heart cry with mine- that we will see with LOVE.