Happy 2022! One month in, I pray that the hopeful feeling a new year always brings has not faded for you. This is a big year for me - I will be turning 50 years old, and Eli and I will celebrate 30 incredible years of marriage, and both of these things fill me with wonder and amazement. As a truly sentimental person, this year of important milestones has my natural proclivity for contemplation and reflection shifted into overdrive.
For those of you who might have heard Eli and I preaching and teaching together recently, you are already familiar with a theme that has been so important to us in the last few months. Please allow me to fill the rest of you in on something God has been helping us understand. As people well within the bounds of middle age and now past the empty nest, we have been so mindful and questioning of what we ought to be doing with our lives. This is something we first walked through as young adults finishing college, and now find ourselves wrestling through again. From what I can see from those ahead of us, it seems that retirement is another age that this particular struggle hits. Surely God is very concerned with what we are doing - so, what if we are somehow not doing the very best thing we could?
In His wonderful and gentle way, God has reminded us that what He is most concerned with is who we are becoming.
Another great milestone happened earlier this month - my beautiful mother's birthday. Gathering with family and friends to celebrate this lovely lady and reflecting on her life helped me better understand the importance of becoming. I have had the joy and privilege of watching my mother become a joyful, steady, godly woman from my view as her daughter for five decades now.
Of course, everybody has a mother. But not everybody has a great one like my sister and I do. This woman is the best encourager and friend that anyone could ask for. She has always been there for us - not just there in person, but also there in heart and spirit and with a beautiful smile. She has taxied us thousands of miles, cheered for us in so many forums, listened to us for countless hours on end, and she has loved us.
She shared with us her deep love of music, and took us to see so many wonderful live concerts in so many fantastic venues. She passed on to us her love for singing, especially singing in groups or in a choir. She sewed for us and shopped for us, and helped each of us love both of those activities. She also passed on to each of us her deep love of reading. We went to every library, and every bookstore, and I think the only time we all got in a little bit of trouble was when dad came home from sea and we had to remember that reading at the dinner table was not exactly the best way to socialize with each other.
She has showed us how to be hospitable, no matter what the cost of time or money or convenience. She is always giving amazing and timely gifts. She is always encouraging. She is always noticing who needs special attention or cheering up or visiting. She doesn't just think about folks, she shows them how much she cares.
More than anything, mom has passed on to us her great love for her family. She has never been smothering, but neither is she distant. All of us, kids and grandkids alike, feel so loved and cherished in every conversation we get to have, whether in person or by phone, or by 4 o’clock in the morning email from our early-bird mom/grandma.
I am more convinced than ever that all of this fantastic doing that our mom has always done stems from some choices she made a long time ago. She chose wisely, and stuck to her choices with determination and consistency. We grew up watching her be something we did not know was unusual at the time; namely, an uncomplaining and joyful military wife. When she married my dad, they lived in a tiny Texas town and had no idea that the military was in their future. She was the later-in-life darling of her parents, and spent every day of her life before marriage on their idyllic farm. I am sure it would have been very easy for her to let herself feel angry and resentful about being uprooted from all of that and moving all over the map.
Half the time, maybe more, she had single-parent duty while dad was away serving our country. While so many other moms around us drifted off or became bitter, our mom made our life so wonderful and fun. We watched her be faithful to her husband, and watched her be so glad and grateful and happy when he came home. We watched her be faithful to the church, always plugging us deeply into the local Christian community, which for us really was home no matter where our residence actually was at the moment. We watched her choices to be joyful and grateful and content actual help her become an incredibly steady and godly person.
I am so thankful to have had a front row seat to watch someone choose wisely. I have been reaping the pleasant fruit of her life all of my life, and now it spills into two more generations. The question for all of us is, who are we becoming? The truth is that when we become who God dreams for us to be, we will certainly do wonderful things for Him and all those around us. May the Lord help all of us be mindful of our choices in word, thought, and deed, and may we all look to Him to help us become all we were created to be.
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Hi! I'm Mary - mother to two wonderful grown daughters, wife to an incredible husband, and loving our life in the piney woods of Texas... (read more!)
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