This morning, Mell and I woke up early even for us and drove to Virginia Beach to visit my mother and attend church. Today she turns eighty years old and wants to worship with her family. As I was reflecting on my years with her, I remembered something I wrote a few years ago at Mothers Day in her honor. It was meant to be a funny children’s sermon but it’s also my way of saying “thank you” to my mother.
If an award were given for “World’s Worst Mother,” the winner would be… (Can you keep a secret?) …my MOM! (Now I’m in trouble!)
Please don’t laugh! Every word of what I am about to say is true and I have evidence. As a struggling seven year old, I needed a certain toy car to add to my fleet. The collection would simply not be complete without this particular little car. I wanted it. I had to have it! When that very car appeared before my eyes in a department store, I took it. It was the natural thing to do, but not for my mother.
My mother saw me holding the car and rather than congratulate me for being sneaky and thrifty, she opened her mouth in horror, immediately spanked me and had the audacity to make me immediately return the car to the store, pay for it and then apologize to the owner. Can you believe that I had to endure such cruelty?
The damage to my emotional self-esteem was beyond measure. To this very day, when I see something I want or need to have in a store, I feel compelled to pay for it. Oh, the shame of it all.
Wait there is more. Here are the top ten reasons why my Mom qualifies for World’s Worst Mother.
- For making me eat green vegetables with nearly every meal. I now enjoy good health.
- For insisting I use foreign phrases…”Yes, sir and Please.” I still practice good manners.
- For spanking me when I was out of line. I learned respect for authority and people who carry it out.
- For requiring me to occasionally do chores. I developed good work habits and a drive to succeed.
- For yelling, “Clean up your pig-pen for a room.” (Oops! I still have that nasty habit.)
- For forcing me to take typing in High School. I now have an enduring practical skill.
- For nagging me to continue practicing the piano. I appreciate good music.
- For encouraging me to read. She inspired a lifelong desire to learn and grow.
- For dragging me to church each Sunday. My mother allowed God to literally change my life.
- For her continued faith and commitment to ministry and her influence on hundreds throughout the community she is a beloved Saint in the Christian community.
There you have it. The evidence is overwhelming. She consistently refused to allow me to do whatever I wanted and because of it, I am eternally grateful. My mother deserves to be honored as the “Worlds Worst Mother” and I praise God for her influence on my life and the lives of my children.
Solomon wrote about women like my Mother in Proverbs: “Her children arise and call her blessed: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise…” (Pro 31:28-31)
So, as my mother turns 80 today, I drive to Virginia Beach to honor her, the life she has led and the lessons she taught to me and to many others who have been influenced by her and her faith in God.
I know this is not a Christmas story but in a way it is. Christmas is a time to show our thanks through gift-giving, cards and an attitude of appreciation for the contribution of others. What better way to show appreciation for the Babe in a Manger than by thanking those who were influential in our lives.
Whether it is your mother, a dear friend, a spouse or a co-worker, show your thanks today in a special way. Don’t let the sun go down before you tell someone you love… “Thank you for being an influence in my life. May God bless you and… Merry Christmas!!!”