Saturday, September 4, 2010

Happy 60th Birthday, Mom

She was born Ana Celida in Puerto Rico on September 4, 1950, as the first of five children born to Ramon and Celida.
She came to know the Lord as a little girl, but truly gave her life to him as a teenager.  Her faith was very evident even as a child.  Once when she was younger, she was watching a t.v. show in a room in the family apartment.  My Uncle Luis sneaked into the room and tied a string to a rocking chair that was in the room and began to pull on the string, making the rocking chair look like it was rocking on its own.  My mother began rebuking the chair in Jesus' name (which made my sneaky Uncle pull on the string even harder to make the rocker rock faster).

She was extremely stylish and absolutely beautiful.  As she was walking home one day wearing a trench coat over her outfit with the belt tied around her skinny waist, blonde hair (yes, she was a blonde for a time), and only mascara for make up, a man approached her.  He gave her his card and said that he was a modeling agent.  He said that some of his models could be seen on a certain TV station that evening.  If she was interest, she needed to call him, and he would take it from there.  She took the card home and realized that she needed to make a choice.  Either model or give her life fully over to the Lord.  She chose the latter- the better of the two.

She was sent to the store to buy some rice. While at the store she saw a young man that she vaguely knew named Fred who had also been sent to the store to buy beans (he, by the way, had had a crush on her since junior high).  She said, "Hi, Freddy," as she passed him.  He rushed the cashier to finish checking out his purchase.  They walked home together (along with my Uncle Sammy) and so began their dating relationship.

She chose not to wear mascara after a time.  One day while praying in church, she felt like crying before the Lord.  Because she was wearing mascara, she held back the tears so she wouldn't have streaks running down her face.  She told God that night that would not wear mascara so that if He ever moved her again, she would not hold back the tears.  God gave her beautiful, long lashes which Addie has inherited.

She prayed before her wedding day that she did not want to get married unless God was marrying her (that this marriage was in his will).  A day or two before the wedding, she found a tract that said something to the effect that God would be marrying her.  She knew she was in God's will.

She had a rough pregnancy for her first child (me).  She had what was considered a high risk pregnancy and was admitted into the hospital 4 times.  She had toxemia. She could have died, I could have died, we both could have died, or I could have been born severely brain damaged.  One nurse must not have realized that she was in ear shot of my mother and began telling another nurse that my mother should just terminate the pregnancy.  My mother chose to have me instead. God protected us both.

She taught me how to read by the time I was two and a half.  I know that I get my motivation to do all I can for my daughter because that is what I saw in my mother.  She home schooled me from 6th grade through 12th grade and Faye from 1st through 12th grade.  She got her degree in Christian Counseling while she was a stay-at-home wife and mother and homeschooling the two of us at the same time through correspondence courses.  She got her degree through Moody Bible Institute in Chicago..

She was our teacher.  I will never forget my lesson in evaporation.  I was 3. We lived on the 2nd and 3rd floors of a Brownstone apartment in New York.  My mother brought out a bowl and said that we were going to see the water disappear over time.  My 3 year old mind misunderstood what she said, and I dumped the water on the window sill.  We heard a shriek from below us.  My mother looked out the window and saw our landlord who was now wet.  We didn't know he had been sitting under the window.  He was a kind landlord and didn't mind the drenching after he found out the situation. 

She loved her husband.  After her relationship with the Lord, her relationship with my father was the most important to her.  She loved my father and worked to be the Proverbs 31 woman to him.  She was his greatest prayer warrior, support, and stood behind him to push him forward, beside him as his companion, and in front of him to protect him at all times.  I learned to be a wife from watching her.

At McDonald's with my younger cousin Alaina.
She loved her children.  After the Lord and her husband, her children came next.  She had the kind of personality that dreamed big, found God's favor in everything she attempted, and yet, rather than be successful outside of her home, she chose to pour her energy, time, and effort into her family.  She may have been tiny (5' 2"), but you did not mess with Mama.  She said something one time, and we did it.  If we were in the wrong, she let us know it.  But if you messed with her daughters, Lord help you!  After we were married, when Brian and I would come for a visit (several times a week), she would always say, "My children are home!"  I learned to be a mother by watching her.

So many did not know how much fun she was.  She had a naturally hilarious side to her (that she didn't even realize) and made us laugh all the time. 

She taught us what prayer looked like, what time spent with God looked like, what loving your neighbor like yourself  looked like.   She lived out what she taught.  If she expected something of you, she would show you how to do it herself.

She loved index cards.  She would write Bible verses and notes on index cards and put them around the house, in books, in her Bible, in our lunch boxes, on the refrigerator, and in our dresser drawers.

She knew that prayer was the most powerful tool that she had.  She would go into her room, close the door and spend real time in prayer.  Sometimes we would hear her, sometimes we couldn't, but we always knew that when Mom was praying, we needed to leave her alone.  She was spending time before the Throne... and God heard her prayers.

She was a teacher of women. She was a teacher of children.  She tutored.  She touched many lives, whether it was discipling women, teaching a women's Bible study, leading a weekly kids club on Fridays after school, or tutoring children who were failing their grade.  The women grew spiritually, the Bible studies grew in size, kids came to know the Lord, and the children she tutored always graduated into the next grade level.

She knew how to throw a party, host a gathering, and make everyone feel welcomed.  When people were invited to a gathering that Mom put on, they always made sure to be there because she had a reputation of making great food, planning fun games, and making people feel welcomed for as long as they wanted to be there.

Before she passed away she told me, "Suzette, no matter what happens, God is always faithful."  Even towards the end, her faith in her Savior never waned or tired.  And she was right... like she always was.

Happy birthday, Mom!  You left behind a wonderful legacy.


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