Thursday, October 16, 2014

My personal faith heroine~


This blog post is part of Michelle DeRusha’s #MyFaithHeroine contest, in connection with the release of the book 50 Women Every Christian Should Know. Find out how to participate here. 

I was a daydream-y type kid so sometimes I'd daydream I had a different sort of mama than the one God had given me.  I'd daydream she was more like the young and perky housewife with the fashionable capri pants who lived next door,  or like my friend's mama with the beauty shop hair and ever-present pearl earrings.  I'd daydream she was the type of mama that I could confide all of my secrets to, a mama/best friend, like a friend had told me her mama was to her.  I daydreamed that Mama was less no-nonsense, and more the type to fuss and fawn over me.  But Mama wasn't fancy and she wasn't very emotionally expressive, Mama was hardworking, enduring and faithful.  I know sometimes the death of a loved one can cause us to forget their faults and idealize them. I don't think I've done that with Mama.  I still remember her shortcomings.  What I do think about, still so often even four years after her death, is how much I miss her.  Because Mama was one very important thing to me.  Mama was always there.  Mama was my home.

When Daddy left Mama and us kids that were still young enough to live at home, she was still recuperating, still being medicated, after a stay in the mental hospital due to depression.  That was the only time Mama was ever gone from home for any extended length of time.  When Daddy found somebody else and ended up leaving, Mama was left to figure out how to provide and take care of us.  I don't know how she did it, how she got off the  tranquilizers the doctors gave for depression in those days and got a good job. Her job was clear across town, a forty five minute drive, but she chose not to move closer to work so that us kids could stay in the house we grew up in and stay in the same schools.

On Sundays Mama and us kids started going to a little church in the town next to ours.  Being divorced or from a broken home had a stigma in those days, but the people in that little church loved us well, they loved us into wholeness.  A time or two Mama thought about going to a church closer to home, but ended up staying put for our sakes.  I suppose that was Mama's litmus test for just about all of her decisions. She simply did her best to do what was best for us.  For that same reason, Mama remained single.  I've always appreciated that she gave us a fairly drama free life, a simple quiet life. There were no men friends coming in and out of our lives.  We never wondered where Mama was or why she wasn't home.  She worked hard at her job and when she was home she worked hard making good food for us, keeping up our home, sewing us clothes, being there for us.

In thinking over who my personal faith heroine is,  I thought of many women who have invested in my life, who have mentored me, who have encouraged me.  I thought of women much more vocal in their faith than Mama, much more skilled in Bible teaching, women who could express themselves more easily, who could pray more passionately.  Yet, I still kept coming back to the fact that without Mama's steadfast presence, her faithfulness to do her best to do right for us, I don't think I would have had a firm foundation for those other women to build upon.

Mama's relationship with God was a lot like her relationship was with us.  She wasn't great at expressing her feelings with her words.  She wasn't very physically demonstrative.  She did tell me about her salvation experience and it was very real, very sincere.  We heard Mama praying over very meal, and saw her reading her Bible every night in bed and faithfully giving her tithe and offerings every Sunday, but Mama didn't talk all that much with us about Jesus, pray with us often, or disciple us.  As I got older, she always asked me to pray for things, expressing feelings of inadequacy about her own prayer life.  But,  I suspect God paid more attention to Mama's prayers than Mama realized.   The three of us kids that Mama continued to raise without Daddy all ended up to be passionate Jesus followers and all ended up in full time ministry.

That daydream-y kid who wanted a different kind of mama grew up to be a woman who's thankful for the Mama God gave me.  She wasn't a saint, she wasn't outwardly exuberant and expressive about her faith, she wasn't gifted at spiritually mentoring or nurturing me, but Mama was always there. She endured deep brokenness but she didn't run, she stayed.  She was always faithful.  She was what I needed.  She was my roots.

still following,
   





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32 comments:

  1. Dear sweet Elizabeth~
    Now I know where you get your sweet wonderful heart from! What a blessing you had in your life to have such a mother. As you well know, mothers are not without fault. Yet, the steadfast strong love is something that we are blessed to have had in our lives (my beautiful mom went to be with Jesus 5 years ago). Thank you for sharing these beautiful words in remembrance of a life that touched yours and in turn now touches ours. Your mother's heart & the gifts she bestowed on you, live on in you!

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    1. Krista, thank you for your kind words on my post about my mama. It was a bit of a teary writing session for me. It's funny how the waves of missing her hit me.

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  2. What a blessing to read this today. My mom is still with us & will turn 80 next year. There is so much to be learned from them & I truly hope my children will be able to say the same about me one day. None of us are perfect, some of us are far from it :) but may we always point them to Jesus. Blessings!

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    1. I'm so glad you are able to be with and express your appreciation for your mama. Life is too short not to let our loved ones know how we feel. I miss my mama and wish I could tell her thank you for being there for us one more time.

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  3. "Because Mama was one very important thing to me. Mama was always there. Mama was my home."

    I so relate to this, Elizabeth. It's been 4 years since my mom died too, and I haven't turned to idolizing her either, although many have, because she was a wonderful woman of God. Nonetheless, she was always there for me and that was a wonderful comfort, something I didn't know to even appreciate for a long time. Thanks for sharing about your mama. A special post!

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    1. Thank you so much, Lisa, for always being such an encouragement to me. I remember when your mama died, I think shortly before mine. So often, just about of the blue a wave will hit me and I'll think to myself, "I miss my mama".

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  4. Oh yes! This took me by surprise friend. Tears. Smiles. Blessed.

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  5. Beautiful words about your Beautiful Mama. Blessings Elizabeth

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  6. Such a beautiful tribute to your dear Mama! xo

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    1. Thank you for reading, Lynda, and for your kind words.

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  7. It's this part that gets me every time: "The three of us kids that Mama continued to raise without Daddy all ended up to be passionate Jesus followers and all ended up in full time ministry." Thank You, Father, for redemption.

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    1. I'm so amazed what God did in our lives, Brandee. Now our children and grandchildren are serving the Lord as well. Never discount "just showing up", right?

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  8. Precious thoughts, Elizabeth. God bless your heart today as you have honored your mother with these words and by your life.

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    1. Thank you for reading, Rebecca. It was a teary writing session. I miss her.

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  9. A beautiful tribute to your mama, Elizabeth. I love the picture you shared. It looks like she took good care of herself.....just like you do.

    Debbi

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    1. Thank you, Debbi. I miss her everyday.

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  10. This is such a beautiful story. Your story. Amazing. and good and I like the fact that 'in our memory' we can see both the good and the bad. thank you for sharing this very personal story.

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    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Sharon!

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  11. Check this out: http://www.pohlkottepress.com/2014/10/on-showing-up.html

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  12. What a beautiful tribute to your mama. God is so faithful and He uses people with simple faith to instill deep things into our lives. I'm blessed to have a mama who has been my faith heroine. I am who I am today because of her. And I am still blessed to have her with us. Your beautiful words helped me focus on the good things today in the middle of the hard things she is going through physically. Thank you, dear friend, for turning my eyes to Jesus once again.
    ~Adrienne~

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  13. Hi Elizabeth,
    What a lovely tribute to your dear Mom. She really made so many good choices
    for her family, and look at the wonderful results.........all of you are Christ followers.......doesn't get any better than that!
    Now she is watching yall with delight in that great cloud of witnesses!

    Blessings, Nellie

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    1. I think of her often and hope she sees and knows things like how my daughter now has a baby boy after 13 years of never conceiving. That would delight her so much!

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  14. Elizabeth, I am crying right now while reading your beautiful piece about your faithful mama. Too many emotions and words to say for this comment box, but know that this touched me, truly!! I think you were blessed to have each other, and she would be so proud of you!
    Blessings,
    Leslie

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    1. Leslie, thank you so much. You are so sweet.

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  15. What a great story! Isn't it funny how different we see things as grown ups? I lost my Mama 12 years ago, and I remember she wasn't perfect. She had flaws she would tell you about, but she was amazing. God sure blessed us both with the right Mama for us!

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    1. You are right, God gave us the right mamas for us!

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  16. Your mama was one strong woman, Elizabeth. I am just wowed by this story, and so glad and grateful that you shared it as part of the My Faith Heroine contest. Thank you SO much!

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  17. Thank you for sharing your story, Elizabeth. <3 Beautiful words about your beautiful mama.

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  18. Elizabeth, I loved reading about your beloved mother. What a godly saint she was, what a stalwart follower of Christ. It wasn't about "show" with her, but about devotion in the face of real adversity. There are some people who are unassuming--just faithful followers of Christ, who, in the end we want to emulate most. Your mother was obviously one such person. She didn't have the capris, perhaps, bur rather the capacity to love, to provide, to emulate Christ in His humility. What a gift God gave you in such a beloved mother. My mother is my hero, too. I want to be just like her if I ever grow up. Thank you so much for this rich sharing. I'm moved and changed by it.
    Love
    Lynn

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