Grow: Spiritual Mentors Part II
This is the second part in our posts honoring our spiritual mentors. Be sure to check out how Tiff has been guided in the faith.
Even though she was saved a few years after I was born, I have always known my mother to be a God-fearing, God-following Christian. And the way she conducted herself spoke volumes (and still does) in my life.
|On my wedding day|
I grew up in a “Timothy” single-parent home. By that I mean, although I had (and still have) the pleasure of having two loving parents that love me and each other, I only had one spiritual counselor in my home, my mother. (Well, Timothy might have had two if his grandmother was alive, and maybe I would have also if my mother’s mom was alive as well.)
But my mom never used the excuse that because she was alone in teaching us about God that she could just give up. She tirelessly lived out a life of faith and encouraged us to join her.
Since we are mother and daughter, our relationship didn’t always look like a mentoring relationship. In many ways, it was deeper since we are bonded in blood and my lifetime of love. And in other ways, it was less formal for we didn’t always have a time to meet together. Most of what I learned from my mom was through simple observation of her life.
|Yes, I used to have straight hair!|
For as far back as I can remember, I have known that my mother is an early-riser. And I have known exactly what she has been doing while the rest of us are sleeping: she is communing with God. My mom has made it a commitment in her life that she first seeks God, before anything else, even breakfast. Now that might not seem like a big deal to most people, but my mom has been on a special diet for nearly all my life which only allows her to eat three times a day and a strict amount at each meal. So for her to push back her breakfast is a big deal. I am often in awe of her strength and faithfulness, for this is not just a once a week kind of thing. This is an every day commitment for my mom.
|Me, my mom, and my younger brother (ever my shadow)|
My mom also instilled in me the importance of scripture memorization. This was also something that she taught me without having to say the words “you should do this.” She showed me that it was important by making the effort to do it herself. And she would ask me to help her. She would make these scripture memory cards on the backs of my dad’s old business cards, and periodically, she would ask me to quiz her. And there was a period of time when, on our drives to school, my mom was listening to a tape of the book of James. And we would listen to it over and over again, until it started to seep into our minds. And I will never forget the one morning when I was in junior high when I came down the stairs, and I heard my mother playing a tune on her recorder. She made up a melody and then proceeded to recite a scripture to that tune. I can still remember it: “1 Thessalonians 4:11 – Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your hands.” How is it that I can quote that verse still after so many years? Her devotion to learning that scripture (and her tune) has embedded itself in my mind. I couldn’t let it go even if I wanted to.
|There he is again!|
And my mom taught me the power of praise. My mom is an auditory learner, and I think that I am partly, too, maybe from just growing up with her, I don’t know, but songs stick with us. So my mom has always made it a point to listen to uplifting music, music that will direct us back to God. And she always encourages me that when I am feeling down and attacked by the evil one, whom she used to call “Buster”, I should sing my praises to God because the devil cannot stand to hear God glorified. And you know what? It always works. If I take the time to sing a Christian song, my mood always lightens, my spirit lifts, and my joy is restored. I can make the devil leave me alone with a few bars of song. But I would never have known that and never have used praise as a weapon if my mother had not taught me to do so. And I am so grateful to have that in my arsenal.
And since songs are so important to my mom and I, and since we regularly reference them when we write (her for her ministry, I when I used to write school papers), I thought it would be fitting to end with a song. This song by Philips, Craig, and Dean really captures what my mom was, and is, for me.
Thank you, mom, for being my living Bible. I hope that I can be a worthy legacy to your faith. I love you.