The best thing my mom ever taught me …

My mom was a legend. She was so many things, but this is what I remember the most when I think about her.

The best thing my mom ever taught me …

As Mother’s Day approaches this year, I can’t help but think about my mom. It’s been four and a half years since she finished her life, so it’s not the first Mother’s Day that has come and gone without her. I’m not a particularly sentimental person, so it’s actually not that these anniversaries are harder for me than other times. I miss her more at some times than at others, and it seems to be random when those times will hit. But this year I’ve been thinking a bit about what kind of person she was. Not just as a mom to her kids – and she was a really good one – but as a person in general. How she lived her life.

She lived to serve

My mom was a hard worker. When she did something, she did it 100%, and she didn’t stop until she was done. If God put something on her heart to do, she did it with all of her heart. And she didn’t do it so that people would notice and compliment her; she didn’t do it for honor or glory. She did it obediently and matter-of-factly, because she wanted to serve.

There are many things that I could write about my mom, and each of my siblings might choose a different facet that most stuck out to them. But for me that was it. How obediently and whole-heartedly she served God without seeking any gain from it other than to serve Him. And I think that might be the best legacy she left me.

We sing in a song in the BCC songbook Ways of the Lord about being a member of the body of christ:

“A member has never desire to be greater,
Another, or different from just what he is.
Content with his service, without seeking honor,
He has quite enough with the work that is his.”
(Ways of the Lord #116)

These lines perfectly describe the way my mom served. She was her happiest when she was at the church, volunteering, giving, and doing in whatever way she could. She never needed to be the one in charge, or the one whose opinion was heard, but she was willing to do anything that needed to be done that she was able to do. I never once heard her wish she was appreciated more for the things she did, or that she had a more glamorous or visible role to play. She painted, she cooked, she gardened, she cleaned, she did lots of little jobs that others may have balked at. She was also a pro at being able to say and do the right thing at the right time, as people needed. A hug for someone struggling. A gentle exhortation where it was needed.

And all these things she did happily and cheerfully, because she loved.

Because she loved

That’s probably what it all boils down to. She loved others, and that’s why she so happily served. She was so interested in seeing other people thrive, in seeing it go well for people. She wanted to make life good for others.

This was a key in our home life as well. When we were young our home was always wide open to all of our friends. Most evenings and weekends the house was full of people. She loved them all, and our home was a place where she wanted them to feel welcome and safe. And I believe they did.

As for her children, that’s where she served and gave her life the most. She loved being our mom. We had such a secure, good, and happy life. I have no misconceptions that she was perfect, but I know that she was constantly seeking to get better. I saw her deny her own will and desires, and over the years, I very definitely saw her being transformed. She became more peaceful, more joyful, more at rest. I knew she struggled at times with different things, because her life wasn’t always easy coasting either, but she used those situations in the way that God intended – for her to become closer to Him, so that she could be made more ready for eternity.

Especially in the last three years of her life, while she was sick, it was so good to be with her. She was always at peace, always at rest. I don’t think it was because this was just her nature, but I think she fought that inner battle to be at rest in God, to believe that all her days were in His hands, and she trusted in Him completely.

I’m really thankful for the life she gave me, the way she raised me, and especially the example she left me in how to serve and give your life for God and for people. And someday I really look forward to seeing her again!

“A woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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