For those who never knew my mom, I'd love to share just a little bit about her with you since it will be five years today since she went home to be with the Lord. My mom was a Proverbs chapter 31 woman, a wife and mother who loved the Lord and who invested so much of herself unselfishly for us, because she cherished her role and her family.
Her primary way of demonstrating love to us was in "doing". She loved to serve. Her home was her castle, and she enjoyed making it a beautiful place for us and others to enjoy. People used to say that she hosted the best parties, and that's because she not only knew how to put out enough so that everyone felt comfortable taking as much as they wanted, but she also made them feel at home and loved people. She was always wanting to take care of others. If she knew there was someone in church or in the neighborhood that did not have somewhere to be on Christmas Eve or if they were "alone", she would on occasions invite them over for dinner.
She was also a giver, yet she was frugal. Many Christmases her familiar saying was something to the effect of, "I know I have more gifts somewhere" and off she would go to look in closets for gifts us she knew she had purchased during the year (on sale) but had forgotten where she had hidden them. My sister's horse and carriage ride for their wedding was actually something she paid for, selling a hostess set she had earned from a Princess House party to get extra money to make Suzette and Brian's wedding all the more special.
She was an amazing stay-at-home mom who was my academic teacher from first grade through twelfth grade, as well. She homeschooled us during a time when it was not popular to homeschool, yet she stood strong and finished the work she set out to accomplish...and did it well. (She even had us wear uniforms to make it feel more official.) Many years later she was then able to watch her two girls graduate from college successfully, both becoming teachers. I like to think of it as her having invested her life into ours and us as teachers being called of God to do the same for our students.
My mom also loved teaching women's Bible studies. She enjoyed encouraging other women on ways to love their husbands and their families and how to make their homes a wonderful place. My mom also read the Bible to us pretty regularly at home as well. She took the verse in the Bible seriously that tells God's people to talk to your children about the Lord throughout the day, and I am so thankful for that. She knew what was important, and although she is no longer with us, God is. She "planted seeds" by telling us about the Lord, and one day in both my sister's and my life, we made our own choice to trust in Jesus for ourselves. Now from our own experiences, we can testify to the fact that He is faithful and true.
My mom prayed for so many things...And God would provide miraculously. My sister's college tuition was a miracle. My mom knew that at the time my dad (who was involved in ministry work) did not have the financial means to pay the $12,000 needed for Suzette to begin her first year of college. So, she prayed about it...and during her prayer God spoke to her heart and told her "I provide for my own". Sometime later a man from our church approached my dad; he had not been asked for any money and we didn't even know he was well off financially, but God had put in on his heart to give money towards Suzette's college...And he not only gave $12,000 but also a small truck that we could sell for $5,000. God heard my mom's prayers. (And we are so thankful to that man and so many others God touched during that time without any word being said about "a need" but who just felt moved to give.) Miracles do happen. You may see me at times as being overly positive, and I can honestly tell you that it is because God has truly shown Himself mighty and real on behalf of my family and me. His track record is faithful and true...and He does hear the prayers of His people. I've seen it too much not to believe. And in those times when things don't turn out the way we would like, He gives us peace in the midst of them and reminds us that He is still in control and knows the reasons.
Although there are many things my mom was never able to see- my husband and our wedding, my wonderful in laws, the birth of her grandchildren and the triumphs and joys we experience- I know that one day I will see her again. Jesus promised us in the Bible that He is preparing a place for us, and one day we will be with Him. I look forward to that day, and I am forever grateful that He gave me a mom who cared enough to pray for me and tell me about Him.
"Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate." (Proverbs 31:28-31 NIV)