People often tell me I am brave – and if I am, it's because of my mother.
People often tell me that I am kind – and if I am, it's because of my mother.
People often tell me I am resilient – and if I am, it's because of my mother.
People often tell me that I have great faith – and if I do, it's because of my mother.
If I am brave in the face of the hardships life has given me as of late, it's because my mother has taught me how. Long before I became ill, I watched my mother suffer. I can't even remember a time when it wasn't so. And all through growing up, I watched her struggle with it, and win. I watched her bravery in facing early-onset Parkinson's and still raise five children. I watched her shake and tremble and be unable to feed herself, yet still she taught us our school, and guided us through life, and encouraged us in every pursuit. I am brave because I had the very best model of bravery. I am brave because my mother showed me how to be.
If I am kind to others, it's because my mother showed me what kindness is. She, who suffered long before I ever did, takes time out of her hard life to talk to lawyers for my family, to help us kids understand and complete paperwork, medical bills, and college grants. Even though we are often tight on money, she finds money to buy things for the food pantry. Since I was small, I have always seen my mother's kindness. I needed no definition aside from her actions. When she offers gentle words to new mothers at camp, when she talks to the hurting people around me and offers them her help, when she makes phone calls for me when I can't do it myself... A thousand things she does every day has shown me what true kindness is. So if I am kind, it is because of my mother.
If I have great faith in face of hardship, it's because my mother led the way. Life has always been hard for my family - the way that life is hard for everyone. But I never once saw my mother's faith waver. Never in my lifetime could I say that I saw her doubting. She taught me the greatest part of faith – the one thing I have always truly needed to make it through life. And that is: God is Enough. Even if everything is taken from us, even if we have nothing left, God is Enough. She taught me that keeping my eyes on Him would get me through anything life could throw me, because He is greater than all life's worst twists and turns. She did not have to say it. She didn't have to lay it out before me like a map. I saw it in every action. I heard it in every word.
If I have great faith, it's because God has shown me His light, through her.
Everything I am, I owe to her.
People often say that I am a lot like my mother - and if that's true, then I can think of no better compliment.
Happy birthday, Mama. I love you. Thank you for being the lighthouse through which Jesus shone so brightly. Thank you for teaching me all the best things I know. : )