Thursday, September 9, 2010

Book Club Thursday: Mama Made the Difference- Lesson One

We have always enjoyed watching Reverend T.D. Jakes preach.  He has a way of making scripture so applicable and pulling out principles from God's Word that can by used in everyday moments.  Because Mom loved T.D. Jakes, we got her this book for Mother's Day one year.  She read through it and loved it.  As I began looking for a new book to read through, this one just stood out to me.  All of the books that I choose to read are from godly authors (to build my spirit) but I want to read things that will build one of the three areas in my life (my faith in Christ should always be a part of these three areas): womanhood, marriage, and children.  Because we have already read books this year covering the first two areas, I wanted to read one that would deal with how I as a mother can make a difference in my daughter's life (and any other children that God may choose to bless us with).

T.D. Jakes writes this book with the premise that life is a school for our children and mothers are their primary teachers.  The book is divided into three parts- Homeroom: Lessons on Life From Our Greatest Teachers, Biology Lab: Lessons on Love From Our Greatest Teachers, and Graduation Day: Lessons on Longevity From Our Greatest Teachers.

Today we are looking at Lesson One: Mamas Teach Us to Believe in God. As Always, direct quotes from the book are printed in bold type.

Of all the life lessons my mama taught me, I can say without a doubt that one of her bedrock gifts to me was a living, breathing belief in our God.  She did it with words, she did it with actions, with prayers and praises, with the way she responded to life's hardships and trials.  After reading these sentences, I thought T.D. Jakes had met my mother!  If there was one thing I knew for certain about my mother, it was that she loved the Lord with all of heart, soul, and mind.  She took everything to the Lord in prayer, and when a prayer was answered, she shared it with others so they would know that God still answered prayer.  I saw how she took minor and major things to the Lord and how He answered both.

When my parents were building their home, the builder they had hired was having some personal issues which overflowed into his business causing the building of the houses he had been contracted to do come to a halt.  My mother decided to walk around her "Jericho" and would drive out to the property and walk around the house seven times while praying.  Of the many houses the builder was working on, my parent's home was one of the few to be completed before the builder went bankrupt. 

When we lived in Staten Island, NY, my father was an associate pastor at a church.  Because of that, we lived in the church parsonage.  It was a comfortable home, but my mother secretly wrote down a list on an index card of the things that she one day wanted in a home, but she never showed anyone her list. When my parents felt that the time to move on had come, they began scouring the papers for homes in New Jersey.  They found one which they loved and signed the rental papers.  As we were packing boxes, my mother found her index card in a drawer.  Everything on the index card was in our new rental.  I learned to make a list from her.

Yes, I believe in God not only because my mother taught me to believe in Him, but also because He has proven Himself to be real to me in more ways than I can count.  My mother used to take the time to point out to us ways that God had worked on her behalf, how he had protected my parents, and how He had provided for their needs and our needs.  These weren't one time recounts, either.  These  reminders were given regularly because it doesn't take much for something to be forgotten.  I already knew that God is a defender, protector, and provider, but as I grew up I was able to see these attributes displayed in my own life.  

When the time came for me to go to college, my father told my mother that as much as they wanted me to get a higher education, he could not go into debt for it.  My mother began praying. Need I say more.  One day, after we went to a wedding at our church, a man approached my father and handed him an envelope.  Inside was a check for $12,000 designated for my college tuition.  This same man was going to sell his vehicle.  He told my father to sell it and put the money towards my tuition. 

When Addie was born, we went into the maternity process as a cash pregnancy.  Neither Brian nor I received any type of insurance through our jobs, so we saved and worked for our baby.  Altogether, we paid $5,210 in cash to the doctor and hospital before Addie was born.  When I went into labor, things were going along just fine until the nurse said I had to lie down so I could be monitored.  Because I could no longer control my pain, I asked for a relaxant.  Unfortunately, it relaxed Addie and she had a bowel movement.  We then needed to have a C-section because of the danger to her.  What we didn't realize was that God was going to provide for us through that.  Our regular insurance viewed the C-section as an emergency surgery and reimbursed us about 80% of what we had paid in cash.  Because I also had AFLAC (which views pregnancy as a short term disability), we also received a reimbursement from them.  However, because I had a C-section, the reimbursement was greater than if I had delivered normally.  Addie was free!

These are just two of the many accounts that we remind Addie of because we want to build her faith and show her how real God is.  She is going to learn about God and His great love for her from us first.  I want her to be able to look at me and see the same love and commitment to the Lord that I saw in my mother.

Homework for the Heart: What did you learn about God from your mother? I learned that God was real.  He was not just alive in the pages of the Bible, but He was still alive and at work in our lives today.  I learned that God loved me and only had my best at heart.    

How would you describe your belief in God at this point in your journey? I believe that God is alive and in control.  I believe that God can still do wonders, provide, protect, and defend.  I believe that my relationship with the Lord is stronger today that it ever was because I have had to walk on my own with Him than walking with Him beside my mother.

What do you wish you could ask your mother about her relationship with God? My mother's relationship with the Lord was not hidden to us.  Everything she learned, she taught to us.  If anything, I would want to know what she did when she saw Him.  My mother was very expressive.  When she was excited, she could not hide it.  Meeting God face to face would be the ultimate connection to Him.  Very little left my mother speechless.  I would love to have seen her reaction to meeting her Savior.

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