“That which doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
Character is much easier kept than recovered. ~Thomas Paine
Certainly, there have been times in my life when I have been less than happy with my mother. Most children have probably felt frustrated and annoyed by their mother as some point in their life; after-all, no one is perfect, not us, not them. But when you are a child, when you are a teenager, you don’t always understand about people, or about life. You may wonder, am I ever going to like my mom? I mean, she grounds me, she makes me stick to my curfew…she’s so…annoying. Well, I’m here to tell you that yes. Someday, you will like your mother. And you will likely grow to love her in ways that you never saw coming.
There are many ways that this change will come about. Experience, I believe, plays a huge part in it. You grow up, experience life, and grow to understand about the world around you. You begin to appreciate relationships, and roles that people play in your life, in shaping you and making you the person you are. Then of course you have kids, and I’m sure you’ve hear a hundred times that you understand why your mother did what she did and said what she said once you hold that little baby in your arms. Sure, you can’t understand a mother’s love until you are on the other end of that love: until you’re the person giving it. You might even start to see your mother in a whole different light. Truthfully, being a mother is hard. And you can’t really understand how hard until you are one. Likewise, you can’t really appreciate your mother until you can appreciate just how difficult parenthood is. And then when your mom is there to help you through the whole thing, like my mom has been, you gain a whole new appreciation for her.
The hundred or so phone calls about if baby’s fever is from teething or the flu.
What to do when your baby is teething.
The million questions about what foods to give when.
If you are a mother, you know what I mean. The role of grandma is priceless; for all involved in this relationship. Yes, I have gained a whole new level of respect and love for my mom through having a child of my own.
This summer has brought about a lot of heartbreaking changes for my mom. Watching her walk through this season of her life has not been easy. But I have to say, I have gained such a respect and admiration for my mom as I have watched her response to every little (and big) storm that came her way. And while I realize that she is not perfect, it is really quite inspiring to watch someone walk through so much hurt and yet manage to conjure a genuine smile more often than not. My mom is such an example of a Christian who actually applies what she believes to her life; and I appreciate the example that she is for my sisters and I. Through it all she has shown a strength that can only come from within, she has met every challenge with Godly love, mercy, and peace. Constantly, she has relied on Him, praying and fellowshiping . Her attitude, while others may react with bitterness and anger has largely been forgiving, loving, and merciful. While I’m sure she doesn’t always feel calm inside, she has acted so calmly through it all, thinking not only of herself, but for my sisters as well. No, it is not easy to see your mother walk through such a storm. But I love her all the more for the way that she has walked through it and for her persistent faith the whole way through. This storm has truly revealed her Godly character, and, as Paine says, character is better kept than recovered. In my eyes, her character has only grown stronger.
While this storm is not what anyone would wish, I am excited to see what God has in store for my mom at the end of it. He promises blessings to those who walk in His ways; I can’t wait to see the blessings that He brings your way Mom! What Nietzsche said might be slightly overused but nonetheless true, the storms of life won’t likely kill us, and through them you will be made stronger. God talks about this too: refining by fire. He also says to count it all joy, which is easier said than done. And while you may not think you have been quite joyful in all of this, I say that you have been and are continuing to be. Joy can be found in the little things (you will be ten minutes closer to me!). Hold on to your joy, and your faith that He has plans for you that are greater than you could ever imagine.
So, happy birthday mom! While we haven’t always been as close as we could have been, love never goes away. While I might not have always appreciated you as I should, I do now (if it helps!). And I love you all the more for all you have ever done, and will do for me, and the example that you have been in my life. Especially lately I have grown to respect the mother that you are: meeting such challenges head on with faith and grace. I’m lucky to have you in my life! I truly wish you a happy birthday, with all my love.
And Ellie, the adventures never end. I hope that one day you can appreciate me as I have learned to appreciate my mom. I hope that I am the example to you as she has been for me; that I encourage your relationship with Him, that whatever the storm I walk through it with faith, love, and mercy. And while I hope to live as an example so that you see Him in me, I am thankful that you also have a grandmother who is a wonderful example of Him who holds all things in His hands. A grandmother who will encourage and support your relationship with God. A grandmother who will hold you up in prayer through all of your own life adventures. Not only do I love and appreciate you mom for all you are, but I know that someday Ellie will too.
Happy Birthday from both of us!