A little wooden stool defines my childhood. Stored underneath a kitchen cabinet, I would pull out the little wooden stool and stand upon it, my chin barely reaching the countertop and bake with my mom. Side by side, we stood next to each other covered by the glow of the sun through the kitchen window during the years of my youth.
Early on, I was not really into baking with my mom. I would count the flour cups. I would give the batter a few stirs, if there were not too many ingredients yet. Most importantly, I would remind her to put in chocolate chips for certain recipes. Kneading dough was my favorite activity. My mom would give me a piece of dough no bigger than the palm of my hand. Chubby little hands would knead alongside bigger worn hands.
As the youngest out of five children, I spent days alone with my mom while my older siblings were at school. I adored being with my mom. From baking, to grocery shopping, to reading, we did everything together.
However, the most important thing I learned standing besides my mom all these years is her character: her hospitality, her patience, her sympathy, her wisdom, her forgiveness, her devotion to Christ. The world is full of opinions about who a woman should or should not be, but my mom’s example has given me a clear picture of godly womanhood.
Strength in Trials
Throughout the trials and heartbreaks my family has endured, I have watched my mom time and time again be a steady source of strength as she remains close to Christ, no matter the circumstance. When I asked her about this, she told me that abiding in Christ during trials helps remind her of His promises and goodness. The Word of God is a steady source of wisdom and assurance that is a necessity to be rooted in during all seasons of life, especially trials, as it guides us to live by and for Christ (Phil. 2:16).
“Abiding in Jesus, drawing close to him, reading His word, praying, and talking to Him throughout the day. I remember who God is, what He has done for me, His character, His promises. This increases my faith and then my feelings can change about the situation,” she said.
Strength and honor are her clothing, and she can laugh at the time to come. – Proverbs 31:25
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine. I will be with you when you pass through the waters, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you. – Isaiah 43:1-2
His delight is in the LORD’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night. – Psalm 1:2
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6
Over the years, I have seen my mom embrace the different fruits of the Spirit in her daily life and within her character.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. – Galatians 5:22
However, the fruit of the Spirit that she exhibits the most everyday is love. As she says, all of the other fruits stem from this. She says remembering God’s unconditional love and witnessing it in her own life motivates her to show His love to others.
“I feel that all the other fruits stem from love, being grounded in this love, how God loves me unconditionally, I pray [it] overflows to my children,” she said.
Sometimes love is shown in grand gestures, but more than likely I witness my mom demonstrating love in smaller, and often unseen, acts. I have seen her be the hands and feet of Christ in the way she takes care of our family and in the way she serves in our church and community. When a need must be met, I know my mom will fulfill it. Her gestures serve as a reminder to me that no matter how big or small or seen or unseen, all actions that we take can be a way to show Christ’s love to others.
“I try to show love to others always, to be the hands and feet of Christ and do practical things for others: cooking, volunteering, serving. I strive to listen well, not judge and do so by extending grace and kindness to others,” she said.
Our greatest calls as Christians are to love God and to love others like Christ, which my mom has taught me over and over again through the way I see her dedicate her life to others, through serving Christ.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. – 1 John 4:7-8
The Gift of Christ
I do not only have my mom’s example to look towards, but the numerous mothers whose stories are woven into Scripture. Women like Sarah, Mary, and Rebekah demonstrate what it means to live for Christ and to put on Christ no matter the circumstance or season of life. Whenever I read the story of Hannah in 1 Samuel, I am always astounded by Hannah fulfilling her promise to give Samuel to the Lord, after begging and desiring a child for so long. Instead of giving into and putting her deepest desire ahead of God, Hannah puts the Lord first. Witnessing how Naomi did not only not give up on her trust and faith in the Lord, but also shared her faith with Ruth teaches me the importance of sharing my faith with those around me.
About a month ago, my mom told me the only thing she always wanted the most for my siblings and I is for us to talk to Jesus, something she learned about from her mom.
“My mom taught me so much about unconditional love and serving others and praying. She prayed always and never gave up. She prayed for over 40 years for my dad to know Jesus and then he did,” she said. “She had many struggles and heartaches in her life, but Jesus was always with her and she always wanted to share Him with others.”
There is no better gift we can give than to teach others about the love of Christ. May we all, not only those who are or will be parents, give this gift to those we stand besides.