I SO hope everyone enjoyed your Mother’s Day…..AND remembered to honor those that have mothered us through life. I took the time to reflect on how my feelings about my mom have changed throughout the years, and on how what my kids think of me will change, too.
When I was little, my mom was my world. She took care of me, taught me how to walk, talk, and feed myself. She took me to church and sacrificed her freedom for my needs. Mom was my standard for womanhood.
Then, suddenly, she was not.
As I entered my teen years, I began to see my mom as the OPPOSITE of who I wanted to be. Her rules were strict and even unreasonable. Her attitudes were outdated and prudish. Her fashion sense was sooooo embarrassing! Had she NOT seen Madonna’s video on MTV? What was happening? Had my mom evolved into some kind of creature bent on my complete humiliation and destruction?
I couldn’t get away to college fast enough. Determined to reach a level of education and achievement my mother had had no chance at due to her upbringing, I didn’t even look back. I needed to prove to my family, the world, and myself that I could accomplish anything to which I set my mind. Apparently I didn’t notice that the ONLY reason I was having this opportunity to branch out was because my mom had believed in me, pushed me, and encouraged me. I only saw the toughness, limits she had placed on my fun, and that college meant freedom.
Yes, college meant freedom…..and some heartache. But after leaving college life, I found myself in the big world all on my own. Jobs, cars, houses, men, cooking? And the unthinkable happened. My mom was suddenly smart again! I called home for advice on everything from how to make dinner to how to buy a car. Ever so cautiously, I started to let her back into my identity.
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. –Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)
Now I treasure my mother for her experience, wisdom, and strength. It is my honor to begin to look out for her care and dignity as she ages and may endure the loss of her own independence. My mom laughs when I tell her about how embarrassed my tweener daughter, Jenna, is by me already. She says “I deserve every moment” because of what I put her through. And my heart aches at how badly I treated Mom in my youth and young adulthood.
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…--Matthew 7:12 (NIV)
As with many things in life, the mother/daughter cycle has come full circle for me. I look upon my own children with love and adoration, wanting every good thing for them, wanting them to love the Lord, and having the desperate desire to protect them from any pain AND I realize…..that is how much my mother loves me. Those are all the things she wants for me. And oh by the way, isn’t it amazing to think that even this level of "mom love" for her children pales in comparison to the love the Lord has for each of us.
That mother/daughter cycle has its unfortunate parts too. Recently at a birthday party, I jumped on the mic and belted out a few karaoke faves. I mean who doesn’t want to hear a middle-aged mom doing Bon Jovi? Well, apparently my daughter doesn’t. Jenna was mortified! How could this be happening? I am suddenly morphing from her standard of beauty, coolness, and womanhood to the most embarrassing thing on the planet. Here we go! Now, I know how my mom felt and I am SO sad that I caused her those feelings!
Unfortunately, I have to constantly remind myself. I know from my own personal journey that my daughter will spend the next few years disassociating herself from me in order to form her own identity. I’ve heard the analogy that as parents we are the big umbrella and our children stay protected under it. Then, as they get older, they start venturing out from under our umbrella and trying to weather life on their own. They still dip back under the parent umbrella in a storm, but their time under ours gets fewer and farther between. I am NOT ready for Jenna to be out from under my umbrella…..but I also can’t hold her back.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother – which is the first commandment with a promise – that it may go well with you and that you ay enjoy long life on the earth. –Ephesians 5:1-3 (NIV)
I can’t go back and change my adolescent attitude. But what I can do is obediently honor my mom for the time we have left. She is an amazing woman that overcame awful circumstances to be a strong, wise, outspoken woman that was my example. Everything I am, I owe to her, my dad, and the Lord. The commandment to honor our parents doesn’t magically end at a certain age.
Yes, we grow up and develop our own thoughts and opinions. Some of us leave and cleave to a husband and start our own families. However, these are not exemptions from the honor commandment. These new situations simply give us more opportunities to display God’s love in our circles of influence. In fact, now seeing my mother love on my children, be tough on them, and treat them with a level of adoration few people do, I am reminded…..THIS IS HOW SHE TREATED ME. Forget the curfews, the forbidden dates, the expected A+s and remember only the love, support, encouragement, and unconditional love.
While some cycles of growing up are perfectly normal and natural, I’m calling for a Mom Evolution Revolution. As my children watch me lovingly respect my parents, they will see a shining example of how God wants them to treat me.
Ladies, let’s lead the next generation by our example. They won’t see us rolling our eyes or hear us complaining about our parents. Our children will take notice as we view our moms like the woman described in Proverbs 31.
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. – v. 25-26 (NIV)
I love you, Mom! Thank you! I am honored to be your daughter.
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