My sentimental journey

An ordinary girl's walk with an extraordinary God.


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What My Mother Taught Me

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Last year, a day before Mother’s Day, we celebrated our Mother’s life as she peered down from Heaven’s glory.  Even though the memorial was to celebrate her life it was the hardest good-bye I have ever faced.   The following, is in part, what I shared to honor my mom’s life on that day.  I wrote this from the perspective of being her daughter.

 

Proverbs 1:8:9 says: “Never forget what you learned from your mother… Wear their counsel like flowers in your hair,like rings on your fingers.

My mother taught me how to laugh at myself …. her unspoken motto was, “Blessed are we who can laugh at ourselves for we shall never cease to be amused.”

Because of the many silly things she would do,  Mom was never short of material to laugh about.  During my teenage years I found most of her stories amusing,  while at other times  I was completely  mortified.   However, it did not take me long to realize that I was cut from the same cloth, fighting a battle I could not win…slowly beginning to embrace the joy and freedom that comes in laughing at one’s self.

 

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My brother Troy and his love for wheels.

 

My mother taught me the joy of worshiping the Lord.
I have fond memories of mom and I singing hymns while she played on the piano in our basement.  She had a thankful heart and loved to worship God in song.

My mother taught me to celebrate life ….

Mom was eager celebrate and have fun … when we where younger she made every occasion special and festive, full of life and laughter…. even the simplest things felt over the top because of all the love she poured into it.

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For as long as I can remember, before we ate our dinner she would put a paper napkin on her head as if it were a hat; making sure everyone could see her to get a laugh.  I never tired of watching her get the biggest kick out of that!  I have no doubt that she is feasting in Heaven with everyone joining in her napkin hat merriment ..

My mother taught me to be frugal.

Mom knew how to pinch pennies, get a bargain and enjoy the simple pleasures in life.  Thanks to her I realized how much product is left in a toothpaste tube, or a shampoo bottle if you cut them in half getting every last bit from the container.  Mom would be giddy when I gave her my old plastic grocery bags so she could recycle them for her garbage. Her exuberance would make me laugh and I would say, “Oh mom, thank you but I’m only giving you plastic bags.”

Recently, not to long ago it dawned on me, I to get gleeful when I can reuse a plastic bag… just like my mother!

 

My mother taught me how to love my children selflessly.

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Charles Lamb said:  “A mother’s love grows by giving”

 

My mother taught me the power of prayer…

My mother’s prayers for me and my family brought comfort, strength and joy. Having a deep and rich reservoir of answered prayers within my spirit to remember God’s goodness with.

Abraham Lincoln
“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life ..

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Kevin and I renewing our vows on our 25th wedding anniversary in 2011, with our pastor and our two sons.

 

My mother taught me to Love God …..

By far her greatest hope and desire was that her family knew Christ as their personal Savior, living daily staying close to His side. To love His word and putting their trust in all His promises.  Knowing for themselves He is good all the time. Walking by faith even when life seems difficult and disappointing.

Displaying this so beautifully throughout her life even to the end. Even during the eight hospital stays in less then a year, and in the midst of rapidly declining health.  One particular day after telling her I loved her, I finished by saying God is good. Mustering up enough strength she replied boldly, “Oh you better believe it “.

One time while visiting my mom at the hospital I read to her this verse.
Psalms 71:17-18 “O God, you have taught me from my youth, and hitherto have I declared your wondrous works. Yes, even when I am old and grey headed, O God, forsake me not, but keep me alive until I have declared Your mighty strength to this generation, and your might and power to all that are to come.”

Thank you mom for your shining example in human frailty.  Your love, sacrifices and unwavering faith accompany me as I mourn your loss. Thank you God for reassuring me and all of us with your promise, “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” Though I miss you something terrible, I know your having the best Mothers Day ever in all of Heaven’s glory. I love you

 

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Konnichiwa to Peace

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Our son  and his friend were going on trip of a lifetime, a two week vacation in Tokyo. Beholding all the sights and sounds of a rich culture, not to mention it being an electronic mecca. A virtual treasure trove  of all things “arcadic”  that would be video arcade + archaic =  arcadic  my creative liberties for the day.  If anyone knows me in the ever so slightest way they would know  this was not going to be a cake walk on my part. In all the years of  being  a mother  I have battled fears, foreboding  thoughts of  possible abuse, kidnappings, accidents or sicknesses  and all the alarming stuff in the middle.  In fact, if you can name it I  probably have feared it.  Been there done that.

Any loving  mother no doubt has  combated most of all of these same fears for her children. It is a natural desire to nurture and protect our babies no matter how old they are.  However, for me it went far beyond normal trepidations that come from a caring parent, but rather  becoming irrational and larger than life ones. Going so far as to  crippling me from releasing our sons to go anywhere with their dad or anyone else.  Words cannot begin to express  how incredibly hard this was for my husband, children and even me.

Now  looking back, and having come to greater depths of healing in this area,  I marvel and am utterly humbled that Kevin stayed married to me.  Through those layers of  painful growth came revelation to why my fears where at critical mass, some were fostered  from past personal sexual abuse I was aware and unaware of.  Buried deep, pushed down by stratum of shame, denial and  trauma, manifesting itself through unhealthy behaviors.  Perhaps some came from  being  carried in my mother’s womb only three months after burying her 9 month old son Brent, he died unexpectedly from compilations due to anesthetic from what was suppose to be a routine hernia surgery.

Personally, I cannot fathom my mom’s fears and grief as she carried me… what a bitter sweet time for her.  It’s important that I make this very clear, I’m  in no way blaming anyone  for my behavior, we all have personal  choices to make regarding what we with do with what has been given us.  For whatever reasons my fears were real, intense and even when prayers like, “God has not given me the spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind” * did not bring complete relief;  I would want to run away from the visible pain that I was causing my husband  and children.  Fighting  my fears seemed fruitless, freezing up and paralyzing so my only final option was to flee. Fortunately these were only fleeting lies, for I knew I could never ever leave my family that I love so dearly.

Today, I’m so thankful to God who has shone me His perfect love that casts out fear, for my husband and  children that endured the strain of my intense struggles for freedom with their love and forgiveness.  Plus, where would I be without the love and support of mentors / friends that have also walked with me through it all.  And though they did not  wrestle the same degree of debilitating demons as I, they chose to stand by me in my brokenness.  Loving me without judgement, offering me compassion and grace that became a breeding ground for my healing. Whenever  I mustered up strength to take a  baby step they applauded with such exuberance you thought I had run a marathon being the first to break the finishing line ribbon.

My boys are grown adults now and yes I still worry too much  I know.  It’s hard to know what is normal when your pendulum has swung so far in the opposite direction.  I do know I’m walking in more freedom than ever before and I’m trusting God that it will only increase.

Currently, our son Derek is thoroughly enjoying Tokyo, a dream of his fulfilled.  Counting down the days to see him and hear of his grand adventure.  Mindful of my tradition to keep a memento, a dated trophy if you will, of how God helped me walk in peace as my children soar to new heights. Just like I did many years ago by saving his glass Yahoo milk bottle from his first purchase, a walk to the neighborhood market with his friends… a huge triumph back in the day !.

Recently, I started rereading “Mountains of Spices” the sequel to “Hinds’ Feet on High Places” by  Hannah Hurnard’s.  Even though it has been over  twenty years of reading these two books, I still can relate to her preface to this allegory.  She writes about herself as follows,  “I can speak with the most authority.I was born with a fearful nature– a real slave to the Fearing Clan ! But I have since made the glorious discovery that no one has such a perfect opportunity to practice and develop faith as do those who must learn constantly to turn fear into faith. One must either succumb to the fearing nature altogether and become a “Craven Coward” for the rest of one’s life; or by yielding that fearful nature wholly to the Lord and using each temptation to fear as an opportunity for practicing faith, be made at last into a radiant “Fearless Witness” to his love and power.”

For this writer I’m so not there yet, I will no less continue to “seek peace and pursue it “, falling down and getting back up again and again, spurred on by the ground I have already won with God’s help… turning my weaknesses into His strength.

Whether your taking quantum leaps of faith or faltering  baby steps, God applause’s them both .  He delights in each step or leap you take towards Him. Cheering you on not matter where your starting line begins and rejoices with you at your victorious finish.

Father, we praise you, in awe of your delight for us and the comfort you bring in our storm tossed seas . Providing  perfect peace as our mind stays on you, trusting you over the mounding waves of fear. Learning to say  Sayonara  (Goodbye) to fear and  Konnichiwa  ( Hello ) to peace..

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Having the  Japanese symbol of peace painted on my big toe …. A beautiful reminder to stay in a place of peace.

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My  friend Kelli ordered this mug for me and it arrived the day I was starting to worry about the Typhoon that had hit Japan.

3 You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You  .Isaiah 26:3 AMP bible

*  II Timothy  1:7