I love her for so many reasons… For giving me permission to be unapologetically me, with my high pitch and strong opinions... For making sure I knew that I was loved no matter where I was or what I did, and for making sure my heart knew that, not just my head. Plus, I’m pretty sure she’s the reason I drink at least one cup of tea per day… And I don’t even like tea.
I love my mum because, to me, she is home.
You may not know this but my mum is a published author (she can also hold an in-depth conversation with animals, but that’s for another blog). She’s the one who inspired me to start writing. I saw her go on a journey of writing a book, which started out as her story of an abusive father. But as she wrote, she processed. As she processed, she began to heal. In the end my mum wrote a beautifully moving and honouring book about her father, my grandad – a man who had faults and emotional baggage, yes, but a man who loved his kids completely and was willing to sacrifice whatever in order for them to have a better life. And as my mum became vulnerable, as she took one step further than she felt comfortable in her writing, other people found healing through her words.
My mum taught me that it’s our honesty, whether on paper or in person, that unlocks healing in others. (tweet that?)
So this mother’s day weekend, we had a fun idea. We decided to team up and reflect on what we've learned from each other. Our writing styles sum up our personalities - I blurt whatever I’m thinking onto page, where as mum lingers on every word, evoking imagery like no one else. You'll see. Let's go!
Three things I have learned from my mum:
1. Fierce Loyalty
Fierce is the only word adequate to describe the kind of loyalty mum possesses. It’s greater than an allegiance to a football team and she could give any One Direction fan a run for their money. Her loyalty is unmatched.
Growing up, whether life was scary or uncertain or exciting, I always knew one thing. Mum had my back, and my heart. I think back to these last few months of moving oversees. There were times all I wanted to do was a book a flight home and say, “it’s just too hard.” Until I skyped my mum. Though she wanted me home more than anything, she knew where I needed to be. She reminded me God placed me here and that all I needed was a good nights sleep. She promised me that tomorrow would be better.
And I believed it. Why? Because my mum said so.
2. How to be beautiful
I love when people say, “Look at a girls mother to see what you’ll be married to in 20 years!” My response? Go ahead! My mum’s a total fox. If you’ve met her you already know that. She was a flight attendant for years, back when flight attendants had to be foxes. I’m using the word fox a lot. I kinda like it.
Anyway, she’s stunning. She taught me as a little girl how to cleanse my face, put on makeup and moisturise, “… and don’t forget to moisturise your neck and the backs of your hands because that’s where you can tell a woman’s age.” I can still hear her telling me in the mirror as I watched her get ready for a date night with my dad.
But more than that, she taught me how to be beautiful, how to hold my head high in public, how to speak up for what I believed in, how to dress classy, not like a huss…. Un-classy.
Even as a little girl, I always saw her as the prettiest woman in the whole world… Now I know it’s because she radiates beauty. She is sassy. She is selfless. She is strong. She is stunning.
3. No one will ever satisfy, comfort, or understand me like Jesus.
This one hasn’t so much been taught, more caught. My mum loves Jesus, like really loves Jesus. Think of someone who loves Jesus, and times it by like a billion. That’s my mum. And it is contagious.
I have lost count of the amount of times that I have walked down the stairs to find my mum either worshipping, praying or journaling. Her answer to dilemmas has never been to call a friend, but rather to go for a walk and pray about it. I have witnessed her face battles with a shield of faith and a sword of the spirit, because she knows her word and she’s not afraid to use it. It’s inspiring.
I want my faith to be like hers. I want to love Jesus like she does.
When I grow up, I want to be like my mum.
INTERMISSION – Go get a cup of tea and watch this video. Why? Because my mum said so.
Over to you mum…..
You might think that we as mothers cannot learn from our kids. Sorry, but it’s not my view. Not now. Not with all three grown and making their own way in the world. Oh yes, we teach them and we develop them and we hope to Heaven that it all works… But later, when we reflect on a pretty, sun-drenched Mum’s Day in the garden, the thought may just creep up on us that we’ve learned a thing or two from these wonderful invasions into our lives… These gifts from God Himself.
Three things I have learned from my daughter:
1. A Mother’s Love Is Inexhaustible.
When I had my first baby, I thought that I would never again be able to feel such an all encompassing and embracing love. I thought that, like most things, the love that just took me over when she was born, was bound to fade, and that I would need to take some of it to share it with the next child. That’s how it works mathematically, right?
With each one that was born, my heart was somehow stretched a heap more and I was able, without any sense to be made of it, and without any reasonable logic, to expand those love ‘tanks’ inside my heart that gave me such an all-out affection for each baby. And then number three child arrived… And she stretched me again with an encompassing, ferocious love that never fades.
How ever does that happen? How big is love anyway? What if it is a reflection of how God loves us – without end
2. A Mother’s Heart Is Made To Be Broken.
When I saw my last baby off to preschool, I couldn’t wait to get back into the workforce, albeit for 3 days a week. But Elyse didn’t even turn and wave as she disappeared down the corridor to play with the other kids. Miss three-year-old was so adjustable, so adaptable, and so ready to go out into the big world! Yes, I was the one who was left teary eyed and shaky! Had it been the same with my other two beautiful children? Well, no, but now I guess the family had learned to replicate itself, and to love upon one another purely because we are family.
It was the same on the first day of ‘big school’. She couldn’t wait to get out and about without me! And now, in her 20’s, my baby girl has left home. She’s gone to live on the other side of the world, in a country that she has adopted and loves. And Mum is the one whose eyes are damp at least once a day, and whose heart longs for those Skype moments and those frantic phone calls where that little girl reaches out from her independence and asks for us to pray. If my heart weren’t broken though, if I were not ‘cracked’ as a vessel, how would the light that is on the inside ever show out? How would it ever draw others to hear my story of love? How could God even reach out through me to a broken world, if the ‘cracks’ in me weren’t there?
I guess that’s how He gets his message across about how much He loves each one on the planet – through the light shining out of my weakness.
3. A Mother Can Learn A Lot From Her Kid.
As I have watched this little beauty grow up, I have realised that she is not only tenacious, but infectiously so… And an infection can spread like wild fire in the correct environment! I’ve observed her get her very own dream from God, and pursue it with all her might.
Though young, she’s taught me not to give up, never to take lightly what’s ahead with a “c’est la vie” approach, but to calculate the risk and move in on those dreams, absorbing both the cost and the exercise of my faith. Though it cost, it’s worked.
I’m seeing her make mistakes, but pick herself up and start over with a fresh resolve. And it reminds me of someone; a person who was once young and thriving in unfamiliar territory herself.
And I wonder… Lord, do you teach children through their mothers, and then turn around and teach the mothers through their children? I have a sneaking suspicion that this is how you work!
That’s what I’ve learned. That’s what I am getting better at… Every day.
And somehow I am starting to understand your heart a little more, that heart of Love that binds together families and holds them close, no matter how far apart they are…