15 Things I Learned From My Mom

17380_1241132102235_5613963_n[1]This time of year causes most of us to pause and think about motherhood. For me, Mother’s Day is a bittersweet time, not only because I’ve never had the privilege of being a mom, but because my own mother is in heaven. Her birthday always falls close to (and sometimes on) Mother’s Day, making May a month I find myself missing my sweet mama more intensely. But this time of year also provides a great opportunity to remember the tremendous influence she had on my life. In a spirit of celebration and gratefulness, here are fifteen things I learned from my mom.

1. Pray often. My mom believed in the power of prayer, and I am confident that her intercession helped make me who I am today.   Knowing that she continually prayed for me provided peace during many stressful moments. If I was taking a final exam, mom was praying. If I was struggling with a life decision, I knew she was joining with me in seeking God’s will.  I have no doubt her prayers for my safety kept me from many unseen calamities, and I  believe some of her requests are still being answered today.  Her example of “praying without ceasing” inspires me to do the same.

2. Value education.  As the eldest of 13 children in a farming family, my mom was forced to drop out of school in seventh grade. Even with little formal education and having to learn English as a second language, her aptitude to learn was obvious.  In her forties, she finally had the opportunity to obtain her G.E.D.  Although she never had the chance to pursue higher education, mom wanted all of her children to do so.  She was a key part of my education, teaching me to read by the time I entered kindergarten. She continued to encourage my education all the way through college, when she not only sacrificed financially, but even helped me study sometimes.  Perhaps it’s a fitting tribute to her that I work at a college today, helping others achieve their educational dreams. Continue reading “15 Things I Learned From My Mom”

The Garage Sale Couch

I was a contributor to a women’s devotional book on Proverbs years ago.  This post is a re-print of that piece.  I’m happy to report that I have upgraded my couch since then.

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“Do not withhold good . . .when it is in your power to do it.”

Proverbs 3:37, NASB

Kathryn looked gaunt as she approached me after church. Her normally glistening auburn hair hung listlessly.

“Hi, how are you?” I said.

“Not well at all,” she said quietly, her voice quavering slightly.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, shifting uncomfortably.

“My new job hasn’t worked out. I have to be out of my apartment by Friday, and I have no place to stay.” She looked at me with a glimmer of hope.

“Oh, that’s too bad. I’m really sorry,” I said, just as another friend interrupted our conversation.

All evening Kathryn remained on my mind. I sensed the Holy Spirit nudging me. “I have presented you with a need, and you have the means to help.” It was true. I did live alone, and Kathryn could sleep on my garage-sale couch until she found an alternative. Continue reading “The Garage Sale Couch”