There are few people that I admire as much as her and I am so grateful to call her Mom.
I see more and more of her in myself as I grow older, making me keenly aware of the positive character attributes and godly life lessons she has imparted to me. She has been the most amazing example of patience, service, and compassion. Here are a few things about her that I am most grateful for:
Her joy is from the Lord.
This lady finds a reason to rejoice in every circumstance, regardless of how insignificant or difficult. She treats the little things as if they are the best things and I love that about her. I remember talking to her on the phone a few years ago about the roast I had in the crock pot for dinner that night. She gasped into the receiver and said "OH MY GOSH! Do you eat your roast with onions? I just LOVE roast and onions!" I remember this conversation so vividly because I realized at that moment what a consistently joyful person she is. She truly sees the remarkable in the most ordinary and mundane. Her life has not always been easy or happy; I have seen her walk through many difficult and heartbreaking seasons. But her life has been marked by the overarching joy that comes from a life surrendered to the Lord. Even in the midst of unfavorable situations, my mom has taught me that the Lord's goodness is unfailing- He is the reason we have the ability to rejoice.
She is selfless.
This is something I totally took for granted most of my life. Looking back, I realize what an effort it must have been to raise five kids within eight years of each other and meet all of our unique needs. Imagine our trips to the grocery store: one baby on each of mom's hips, one kid in the shopping cart, one pushing the cart into mom's heels, and another begging for the fancy (yet disgusting, I later learned) animal crackers in the Barnum & Bailey's circus box. This woman has some patience! But it's not just because she's a mom and that's how moms are supposed to be. She has made selflessness a lifestyle- she genuinely thinks of others first and loves to put her compassion into action. I can't count the number of times she has cheerfully overlooked her own desires in order to aid or encourage someone else. And she's good at it! Her words of truth and affirmation are so nurturing and peace-giving. Everyone is welcome in her presence- she exudes hospitality and generosity. Spending time with her is like getting a hug for your heart. If you know her I'm sure you have experienced this first hand. It's such a blessing to have grown up observing her use her God-given servant's heart to touch other's lives and point them to Him.
She is comfortable.
I love to tell people about my mom because there are so many fun and quirky features about her. I didn't really appreciate that when I was young and she thought it was hysterical to invite my friends to stay for "liverwurst and hog head cheese sandwiches," but as I've gotten over the everything-is-embarrassing stage, I've realized what an amazing and unique personality she has. I think what I love most is how comfortable she is being herself. I used to make special requests that she not sing in her opera voice when I had friends over, but what I considered fairly annoying 10 years ago, I actually find totally awesome now. I think it's mostly because I realize that I will be just like her when I'm a mom. (Actually, before I'm a mom, because I'm pretty sure my husband has asked me not to sing Frank Ocean in the house because it usually involves an operatic screeching sound.) I think her funny quirks and sense of humor are what make her so lovable. But not only is she hilarious, she is one of the most creative people I know. She is patient, resourceful, humble, and beautiful inside and out. She is confident in who God has made her to be and she doesn't try to fit into any other mold. It's impossible to spend time with her and not feel comfortable being yourself, too.
Love you Mom!