“I’ll never do that when I have kids!”
We’ve all said it (or at least thought it!) as we were growing up whenever our mothers did something that embarrassed us or made us cringe.
But on this Mother’s Day, I’d like to celebrate some of the characteristics I see in my momma that I long to emulate. Attitudes and behaviors that I admire so much.
For there is a joy and love that marks Annette Gustafson’s life and everything she does.
She’s taught me so many things, but it is her lessons in mothering I appreciate most.
Mothering God’s Way
#1 – Love Jesus with All You Are
Although Mom worked a full-time job, she still made time for a vibrant walk with Jesus. Though I don’t remember seeing her quiet time until after she retired, I knew she was in ongoing conversation with Jesus throughout the day. Nearly every morning as I was growing up, she had a song on her lips and gratitude in her heart.Jesus isn’t a religious concept to my mother. He's real. Her dearest confidant and friend. Click To Tweet
#2 – Enjoy Life!
My mother has always seen beauty everywhere, and she taught us kids to see it as well.Mom delights in the littlest thing. If you have good news, she’s the one you want to share it with. Click To Tweet
She’s an optimist, but she doesn’t sugarcoat life. She calls it like she sees it, but she doesn’t get weighed down by the bad. Instead, she looks for the good…the first one to point out a tiny pansy pushing up through broken concrete…calling attention to the beauty of a stormy sky.
#3 – Make Your Marriage a Priority
When it came to parenting, Mom never made us kids the center of her universe. God had that place, but her husband came in a close second.We grew up in a marriage-centric home and I’m so grateful. Click To Tweet
We didn’t feel left out as kids – we felt covered and embraced. We were secure because we knew Daddy loved Mommy and Mommy loved Dad – and that spoke love more than any other single thing.
#4 – Mother by Faith, Not Fear
I don’t ever remember Mom trying to control us. She’d challenge and correct us when our behavior was wrong, but she didn’t obsess about things like I tend to do. Instead of trying to protect us at all times, she allowed us to fail.Mom mothered us - she didn't smother us. Click To Tweet
Bottom line, my mother trusted God at work in us. She believed the Holy Spirit would deal with us in His time and in His way. (And oh, how He did!)
#5 – Love Your Kids As They Are
Mom has always accepted each one of her three kids as individuals, with our weaknesses and our strengths. She doesn’t compare us with one another, nor try to force us to fit a mold. As a result, I never felt judged or “less than”. I remember being a young struggling homemaker when my mother came to visit. She could have been critical of my messy house, but instead of looking down her nose, she came alongside to help.My mother graced me, she didn’t shame me. Click To Tweet
#6 – Make Forgiveness a Lifestyle
Perhaps the most important lesson my mom taught me was this:Be a good forgiver, and don’t keep a record of wrongs. Click To Tweet
My mother has a tender, generous heart. She loves deeply and she cares deeply. As a result, there have been times she’s been hurt over the years. But instead of building walls to keep people out, I’ve watched her hammer out forgiveness (as well as healthy boundaries) so that she can welcome them into her life with open arms.
A Noble Woman
I’m so grateful for my mother’s example, but I realize that there are many women who haven’t had a beautiful example to follow like I’ve had.
However, I want to encourage you with this thought…It isn't too late to leave a different legacy than the one you received. Click To Tweet
Even if you haven’t had children yourself, there are motherless men and women, boys and girls who need the love and godly influence you can provide.
Perhaps you feel like you’ve failed as a mother. That there’s no going back, no way to restore relationships that have been destroyed. But I’ve seen God do miraculous things when we, as mothers, humble ourselves before the Lord and ask Him to help us change. Then, simply begin to love.
We can’t do it alone. So together we pray…
Lord, help us be the mothers You’ve called us to be.
I’d love to hear from you…What was the most important parenting lesson you learned from your mother?