As a military wife, so much of the day to day weight of our family fell on my mom's shoulders. Dad was out to sea, it seemed, every time something broke or the basement flooded. Did my mom flip out during these crisis? If she did, she did it behind closed doors after the water was cleaned up or the appliance was repaired. She always knew what to do or who to call. My mom wrote the book on KEEP CALM. Maybe it's the filter of 20+ years of life or the experience of parenthood, but I can't remember a single instance where she responded to a situation in fear or anger. Her response to every crazy thing I'd ever brought to her for guidance was thoughtful silence, then some form of productive guidance.
Two particular instances stand out in my mind...
Early in fifth grade, I was having a TERRIBLE time with fractions. So I decided that since I was in the top of the class and had the privilege of checking my answers with the teacher's key, I would skip the hard work of learning these skills and take advantage of the answer key. It was a great plan until I was faced with the end of lesson TEST. The night before the test, my stomach in knots (wasn't sure if I was more afraid of telling my mom I had been cheating, or of getting a failing grade on the test!), my mom sat on my bed with me and crying, I confessed everything to her. Her response (as I remember it, anyway) was a thoughtful silence, a hug, and a question.
What should we do about this?
The answer was obvious, even to a scared fifth grader. But she encouraged me to think it out, to share my plan with her, and then she offered to walk it out with me. She loved me and empowered me through it, not making my decisions for me. And the lesson I learned? Well, I ended up learning several, including fractions.
The second time that stands out in my mind this morning is when I was preparing to fly to Key West to spend winter break with with them. It was planned as a family vacation. I called her a couple days before to let her know that only our son and I would be vacationing with them because I'd learned my husband was having an adulterous relationship. I explained to her that Scott would be moving out while I was in Key West. Her response was a thoughtful silence and a question.
What would you like us to do?
In a time that I knew her heart was breaking for me, she was so strong. My answer to her was simple, although I know she knew what I would say...love me through it and listen when I can talk about it. They were prepared to do so much more if I'd needed it. I'm so grateful she didn't pass judgement on our situation or give advice. Like in the fifth grade, she loved me and empowered me through it, not making my decisions for me.
Her example carried me through the first part of my marriage and parenting, leaving the door wide open for the Word of God to cement the understanding of God's peace, or Shalom, that surpasses all understanding.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:7
Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. (from Strong's Concordance)
I love that His peace is powerful and protective, and how God positions it to "stand guard at the entrance of your heart and mind, as it dominates your mind and controls your life," as Rick Renner describes it in his Sparkling Gems. There is such power in letting that peace dominate your heart and rule your life, knowing beyond knowing that God is sovereign in every situation in your life, using opposition and pain to refine and strengthen you.
Mom, I love you, and I hope you have an amazing Mother's Day. You are a remarkably strong woman, I'm so grateful for the way you have always loved and empowered me...thank you for that gift you gave me, I pray I'm loving and empowering my son well!
How did your mom love and empower you?
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