Are You Praising Her?

Are You Praising Her?

“Her children praise her…” –Proverbs 31:28 (CEV).

Even though I have a multitude of conveniences most of us consider necessities, I occasionally enjoy washing dishes by hand. I didn’t buy my first dishwasher until my second son was born in 1981.

My generation was raised to believe women did all the housework. Times have changed. My generation had mothers who were stay-at-home moms. Most of us came home from school to homemade snacks followed by a made-from-scratch dinner.

My mother seldom bought store-bought cookies, and although T.V. dinners debuted the year I was born, they weren’t a regular staple on our kitchen table. Pre-made or convenience meals were almost unheard of during that time. Eating out was a luxury and fast food was a rare treat.

Because dishwashers weren’t commonplace in households until the 1970s, my sister and I learned to wash and dry dishes without the advantage of a machine. I can recall our mother inspecting the dishes to make sure we had properly cleaned all food residues from the interior and exterior of each one. If we overlooked any remnants, she would promptly return the dish to the sink for another scouring.

While I’m sure my sister and I didn’t appreciate it at the time, my mother’s desire to teach us to do a good job and take pride in whatever we did carried over to other areas of our lives. Instilling responsibility in her daughters meant we completed a list of chores posted on the refrigerator every Saturday morning before we went out to play.

Even though we didn’t have the conveniences now taken for granted, I think life was much simpler back then. The days of hand washing and drying dishes, preparing healthy food at home and hanging clothes on an outdoor line to dry had some benefits.

I contemplated this recently as I washed and dried a sink piled high with dirty dishes. I hadn’t started my full dishwasher yet. Busy with activities that had kept me on the run, I knew my mother, if she were alive, would have lectured me about the mess. However, I found solace in the simple task of putting my hands in the soapy water, scrubbing and rubbing until each dish and piece of silverware was clean.

Another word for solace is peace. After hectic days of rushing from one activity to another, I found comfort in a simple task requiring no thought, no conversation and no planning.

During that peace-filled time, my thoughts turned to my Creator who knit me together in my mother’s womb. Letting His peace settle around me like a blanket of love, I thanked Him for a mother who taught me the value of responsibility and doing my best.

After my mother died in July 2004, my sister and I discussed those things she had taught us. More than a homemaker who cooked from scratch and made all of our clothes, she taught us organizational skills and instilled in us a work ethic remaining today.

My mother also modeled compassion. Whether it was home-baked food or a kind word, she reached out to others in need. She instilled in her daughters a legacy that only love can buy.

As Mother’s Day approaches, consider the following anonymous quote: “No gift to your mother can ever equal her gift to you—life.”

Are you praising her?

Carol Round

Check out the author’s website at www.carolaround.com.

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“M” is For…

In an effort to be fully transparent, I must admit that I am struggling to find the words to share with you today.  I have been sitting with my computer for the last two hours, moving from location to location around my home, in hopes that a change of scenery will bring fresh inspiration to mind and breathe new life into my fingers.  Unfortunately, the only thing that the move from the couch to the table to the bed to the other table and back to the chair has brought me is more frustration and even less inspiration!

If you know me at all, you know the one thing I am never short on is words! However, there is a first for everything… I guess.  But, maybe today, instead of sharing with you a thousand or two, carefully crafted words of mine, maybe you are like me and maybe today, just one word will suffice.

It is more than just a word, it is a name. A name that carries with it so many meanings and personifies the words Love, Strength, Selflessness, Encouragement, Sacrifice, Giving, & Grace (to just name a few).  This name evokes deep emotions that sometimes words fail to sufficiently capture and sometimes the mere attempt is in vain.  This name has very few letters and is simple to say; yet, nothing about the responsibilities, privileges, joys or sorrows that come along with this title are easy.  The journey associated with this name carries with it volumes of sacred moments; Mt. Kilimanjaro highs and personal hell lows, that stir your soul, crush your heart, delight your mind, infuse your heart with an indescribable joy and will challenge you in ways that you could never imagine possible.

Have you been able to guess the one word…the name…the title…?

Today, that one special word for me is MOM.

I humbly come to you today with few words, no real wisdom or necessary life application.  Rather, I approach you today with a simple invitation and a very personal prayer request.  On January 26, 2014 at the young and vibrant age of 57, my Mom was diagnosed with one of the deadliest and most aggressive forms of brain cancer called a Glioblastoma brain tumor. Our world changed in an instant.  From the very beginning we had a choice; to live each day, fight like our lives depended on it (and they literally did) and not let “cancer” define our story or we could cower down in fear and merely just survive for whatever time remained.

As a family, we chose life in Christ.

We chose moments over minutes, we chose to live, not merely just survive.  We chose love over fear, purpose over pain.  We chose HOPE over despair and we chose to put our faith in the Lord, who is the Author and the Perfector of our life and faith.  We were not going to be defined by the medical statistics.  We were going to run the race set before us with HOPE, purpose and endurance.

Forty months later, by the miraculous healing and grace of our Lord and Savior, my Mom is still able to be my mom and Nannie to my two children.

In honor of Mother’s Day and National Brain Tumor Awareness Month, would you join me in praying for my Mom, Debbie, and all of the other mothers out there who are either personally battling brain cancer or who is caregiver to someone fighting this monster disease.  As a daughter, mother and caregiver myself, I can personally attest to the power and saving grace of prayer.  I cannot think of a better way to honor and celebrate the special women in your life this Mother’s Day than with a commitment to fervently lifting them up to our Lord in daily prayer.

Instead of spending dollars on the perfect store bought gift, spend your time creating moments with the women you love.  Rather than picking out the most eloquently written Hallmark card on the shelves, pick up a piece of paper and something to write with and pen the words of your own heart and echoes of your soul. Give the gift of prayer, time, encouragement, affirmation and love this month and make this Mother’s Day a treasured moment in your life legacy and those of the women you love.

LeRyiah Arant

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