Mother and Daughter
When I was a child, I remember running into my mother’s closet with my sister and rifling through all of her hanging dresses. I remember thinking that everything my mother did was the right thing and that, even when she worked hard, she still smelled so wonderful. I wanted to be just like her - right down to her happy, but sometimes extremely tired smile. She was what I believed every woman should be - strong, fun, Bible-centered, and always feeding everyone.
As a teenager, I don’t think that view changed, but things began to change. She and I didn’t always agree on everything and I began to find it difficult to communicate with her in her limited English. I discovered that we were very different people - but that I still felt my childhood desire of being exactly like her. It became a point of friction for me, because I could feel the way that God was shaping me as a person and feeling like somehow I was betraying my mom for becoming so different from her.
Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Hwa Young Johnson, one of the mothers from ABC who had given a seminar talk at the Women’s Retreat, for some tea and dessert. She shed some helpful light on the difficulties of being a mother and offered a more gracious perspective for me to look at both my mom and myself. When talking about recognizing the shortcomings of a parent, Hwa Young said, “You have to look at their failings through God’s eyes. They were doing their best and I think I only really understood that when I became a [mother].” She helped me to understand that even though mothers are not able to teach their children everything because of the realities of limited time and resources, they do get to share what they care deeply about. As I reflect on Hwa Young’s words, I think about the things my mother was able to share with me: a love for scripture and home-cooking, an excitement and gusto for life, and the desire to be good to and generous with other people. She may not have given me as much of her time as I wanted and though we didn’t have as many conversations as I thought we should as I’ve grown up, I realize that what she could not communicate in words, she demonstrated in her treatment of me and other people. Like every mother does, my mom was doing her best to share with me her passions and values - and it’s only now that I understand that she has really succeeded. I am thankful that she is the mother that God has blessed me to have and I thank God for the many mothers that have been a blessing to the life and culture at Ambassador Bible Church.
Something that I have been hearing repeatedly among the mature women at church is an interest and a fear of being a mentor to another woman. I have been so encouraged to hear from these women about the way God has been challenging them and the way they are praying and opening their hearts to the idea of mentorship. I believe that God was speaking through Tracie Nall at the Women’s Retreat when she said that “…not all women are called to be mothers, but all women are called to be spiritual mothers.” I hope that this is a calling that the women of ABC continue to be faithful to in ever increasing numbers!
Titus 2:3-5 “Older women…teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”