Middle school was a little rocky for me. One minute I was experimenting with blue eye shadow and the next I still felt like playing with barbies. I got braces, and learned to shave my legs, and suddenly noticed boys in a different light. It can be an awkward stage of life and I often relied on my mom for advice.
I remember over the years specific times when her advice was pivotal. In seventh grade, I really wanted a two piece bathing suit, but simply put, I was chunky. My mom took me to the store and I tried out a lot of suits. She finally said very kindly, "maybe this isn't your year for a two piece". Good advice. In high school, my senior year was tough. Girls can be ruthless, and I found myself lonely and misunderstood. She made sure I knew the difference of remaining kind, but not getting walked all over. More good advice. Later, when the choices in life were bigger and more important, she would listen and then hand out words of wisdom. But the very best advice my mom has ever given to me is: let's pray about this.
Now I'm the mom, and as a mom, I've done some things exactly like my mom used to growing up. While other times I've decided to do things differently. In any case, I often feel the pressure of caring for three boys day in and day out. Parenting is such a huge responsibility, but each day we are given the opportunity of repeating small acts, which can eventually lead to a big impact.
Small acts are another thing I learned from my mom. She had a way of subtly bringing up Jesus all throughout the day. We used to have a pool, and we loved to swim. Often she would say things like "my goodness, isn't Jesus clever for making water good for our bodies and fun to play in." Or each time we pulled aside to allow an ambulance to speed by or happened across a traffic accident, the first thing she did was ask who wanted to pray for the people involved. By consistently bringing up ways to acknowledge our heavenly Father, she was teaching us kids a form of communing with Him all day long.
That is the kind of example I want to be for my kids. My mom was not perfect. I am not perfect, but isn't that where Jesus works the best? If we wake up in the morning, and hand Him our day knowing that without His grace it will be impossible to get through, He meets us there.
If we, as moms, are created in His Image then we have the ability to be used by Him every single day. Since His Holy Spirit resides in us then we have the power to introduce eternal perspectives on our kids' circumstances. We get to show our kids each and every day what abiding in Jesus looks like. Not by huge gestures, but in quiet whispers. Cheering them on at sporting events, taking an interest in things that interest them, or slowing down to simply be with them. Rather than trying to change our kids to be become the people we want them to be, we can love them exactly the way God made them to be. Not by being wonder mom, but by teaching them through our own mistakes and flaws that God's love for us is unconditional.
Each one of my kids is a unique individual with specific needs. So I have read a lot of books and searched out a lot of advice regarding parenting. Yet, the best advice I ever received still comes from my mom. She exemplified Jesus beautifully when she consistently taught me to take the matters of life and bring them before God in prayer. Thanks, mom. Happy Mothers Day!