I’ve been reading through Heartstrings of Love.* It’s a book filled with quotes from famous (Christian) people giving tribute to their mothers. There are a bunch of great words in there that tell of the home, parenting, and mothering. Some of the quotes were real and down to earth. But some of them annoyed me. It’s as if the person writing the tribute had a perfect mother. These stories caused me to be envious of this mother. But it also helped me face who I am.
Someday when my children, Samuel, Jonathan, Benjamin, and Ginny, grow up they will know what kind of mother I really was. They will know my weaknesses but hopefully they’ll see some strength in me. I want the very best for my children but I know I’m not the very best example. Unlike the mothers in the book I do not invite neighbors or even strangers into my home to feed them. (But hopefully they’ll see that I’m kind to those around us.) I don’t take them to lessons where they learn piano or ballet. I don’t read to them the rich beautiful classic books of decades past. (But my husband does!) I don’t always try to make sure they’re “shiny clean” like Ruth Bell Graham did. My home is not clean and well organized as I know it ought to be to teach my children daily dilligence. I can be a terrible procrastinator and on the weekends take it easy too much.
So here’s what I try to give my children the most: encouragement to be the best they can be, regular study of the Bible, my prayers, a lifetime commitment to my husband Danny, and it’s important to work hard. You know what I’ve discovered as a grown up? All adults, no matter who they are or how respected or successful they are, want to have memories of a good mother. I really want my children to have good memories; memories of a happy childhood and that I truly love(d) them. I want my children to think of me like Abraham Lincoln thought of his mother when he said, “No man is poor who had a godly mother.”
There were a few of quotes in the book that bothered me because they contained really pretty words but were not true. Like the quote by Ann Kiemel Anderson when she said, “There is no love on earth, I think, as potent and enduring as a mother’s love for her child.” Many times when I watch the evening news I hear very sad stories of a mother’s rejection of her own flesh and blood, her own innocent child. I’ve heard stories of drug addicted mother’s having babies, women getting abortions, or children being neglected or deserted. So realistically some mother’s out there have rejected the love placed in their hearts by God for their children, their own, who want to admire their mother whole-heartedly as their hero.
Here are five more quotes from the book that make me want to be a better mom:
“I am not in any doubt as to how my own Christian experience began. The alter before which I knelt first was my mother’s knee.” –L. D. Weatherhead
“My mother taught me to memorize great passaages of the Bible. Text after text, passage after passage . . . were stored away in the memory and became part of the daily thinking . . . and have continued a precious treasure all down through the years.” — Bishop James Cannon, Jr.
“No nation ever had a better friend than the mother who taught her children to pray.” –Anonymous
“It is from God that parents receive their children, and it is to God that they should lead them.” –Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“I learned more about Christianity from my mother than from all the theologians of England.” –John Wesley
*Heartstrings of Laughter and Love, A Tribute to Mothers; Terri Gibbs, Editor; Word Publishing, 1997.