Four Pictures of Motherhood: A Four Generational Look at Being A Mom
Week 1: The legacy of a godly Mother/Grandmother
“Unless the Lord builds the house, it’s laborers labor in vain.” -Psalm 127:1
I promised you a series on motherhood, and that is a lot to bite off! I am in no way implying that I am an expert on the subject. I just happen to have a relationship with the God who it is. I also know from first-hand experience that He fills in all the blanks. When you don’t have the words to say, He gives you the words. When you say words you wish you wouldn’t have said, He gives you humility to ask for forgiveness and to use that opportunity as a teaching experience. When you feel exhausted, He gives you the strength to keep on keeping on. When you want to pull your hair out, He gives you the peace that truly surpasses all of our understanding, and He allows you to get it together again.
Much more than the experience that I have had in being a mother, is what I experienced by the two wonderful mothers God graciously placed in my life! They are my Grandma, Lela, and my Mom Linda.
For decades now the world has tried to re-define what being a mother is. We get mixed messages and it messes with us!
Take care of your self-put yourself first so that you have enough to give back; you don’t need a husband, any dad for your child will do; it does not matter the amount of hours a day that you spend with your child; If you have a lot of money and are a truly great mom, give your child everything they want; educate your child in the best school and make sure their test scores are high…the world gives us so many messages!
And just in case you think I am advocating raising kids in the church alone, we have not always done such a great job ourselves. We put such pressure on moms to be what we defined they should be, that we are making women neurotic, feel like failures, or making young women not even want to take the step of motherhood because they are afraid of failing.
According to some, you have to be a stay-at-home mom or you’re not a good mom; you have to homeschool or you’re not really a great mom; you definitely have to breast-feed or you will literally destroy your child for life! You have to have a perfect home with a bedroom for each child, and preferably their own bathroom. Do not tell them too much of what to do either. You must let them experience it for themselves, because a “good Christian mother” is loving and kind at all times, she never loses her temper, and she always has more than enough patience for her children.
This kind of ideal scenario sounds like getting a fast pass to every ride at Disneyland! And you didn’t even have to pay to get in: someone gave it to you! You have everything handed to you and you never learn to earn anything.
There has to be a balance. A place in between the two, where we can glean from the wisdom of those that have gone before us, and look to the one and only book that truly does define being a mother: The Bible!
“The B-I-B L-E, yes that’s the book for me! I stand up tall on the word of God, the B-I-B L-E, BIBLE!”
As I write those words to you, I see the picture of my Grandma’s face! Lela May Welty, Switter…she’s saying those words to me over and over again with the sweetest soprano voice that I have ever heard. She was never trained professionally to sing, but oh how she loved to sing! I’ve talked about her in past posts…She was the most beautiful woman in the world to me, she set the stage for having a signature color, before it was a thing. My grandma loved pink! She put it in her home, and she wore it beautifully. Until the day Jesus called her home she dressed up so beautifully for church and always wore patent leather heels. She was elegance and grace. She was kind and loving and accepting of every single person she met.
It wasn’t the words she said, or the book that she wrote(she didn’t write a book), that taught me what motherhood looked like. It was the way she lived her life. Nothing, and I mean nothing that she did was apart from Jesus! Yes, she would say to me, “Jesus loves you Lisa Kay. He died for you, and you are the most important person to Him.” But it wasn’t just her words, but her actions that instilled that truth into my heart. She would get up every morning and put her feet on the floor and say,
“This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
I watched her do that as her heart would break. First, seeing one sister lost to dementia, another sister lost to cancer, her husband rushed to the hospital in an ambulance from our house after having a heart attack, and yet day after day, she would continue to put her feet on the floor each morning regardless of her circumstances.
I watched her cooked meals and take them to people who were bound to their house. I watched her teach Sunday school, and vacation Bible school every year. I watched her make dinner every night for my grandpa, she would always make comments like, Oh, this is his favorite!” And “Grandpa always likes Jell-O at the end of his meal.” And “Grandpa loves ham, although it isn’t good for him. I give it to him only on special occasions!” She would tell me how proud she was of him for how hard he worked. She would even take me to the college campus where he worked on the maintenance crew. She would walk me around and introduce me to everyone and tell them that I was Gilbert Switters granddaughter, with such pride. She had dinner waiting for him when he came home. She washed and cleaned his clothes, she got him all of his favorite things, and she did it all why she herself worked full-time, cooking at a high school cafeteria.
She taught me how to bake! She would let me pull up a chair, turn it around, come up to the counter with her and teach me how to put the batter in first and whip it until it was creamy. Then add the sugar slowly, then the vanilla, and then the eggs one at a time. This made the best cookies ever!
She loved my mom, her one and only daughter, with greater love than I had seen in anyone before. She would look at her and lean over into my ear and say, “isn’t she beautiful!?” She would drive up with my grandpa from Arizona where they lived, every Christmas with a Tupperware full of homemade Christmas cookies and a trunk full of beautifully wrapped Christmas gifts for all of us. She did not have much money, but what money she had she shared with us!
She made my sisters and I five school dresses every year to start school. She bought us black patent leather shoes for fall and winter for church, and white patent leather shoes for Easter and spring. She made us our Christmas dresses, and our Easter dresses to match every year! Yes, I said made, not bought! She demonstrated to me her love and commitment to us by the time and effort she put in to making all of those dresses. My baby sister was too small at the time, but my other two sisters and I received those dresses every single year. Times three, that is fifteen dresses to start each school year, three dresses for Christmas and three dresses for Easter!
But more than all of these things put together, she taught me to love God! Not because she told me to, or she made me go to church with her, but because of the way she acted, because of the word she spoke, because of the prayer she said with me at night, because of the way she held my hand and walked with me, because of the way she went to church because she wanted to, because of the way that she opened her Bible, every day and read from God’s Word!
My grandma lived out the unconditional love that God calls us as mothers to have for our children and grandchildren every day of her life! She gave when she had little or nothing to give, she cooked and prepared when she didn’t really have enough time. She bought fabric and sewed when it took every spare minute she had, and she served and loved God because He was the Lord of her life, He was her friend, and she desired to spend time with Him! That made this little girl want to love Him too and want to have Him as her friend!
My grandmother truly lived out the verse, “Unless The Lord builds the house, the laborers labor in vain.” -Psalm 127:1
She was not attempting to do this thing called motherhood by herself. She was trusting in the Lord her God to accomplish it through her! And boy did He! I not only saw what it meant to be a good mother through her life, I saw what it meant to completely love and trust in her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Thank you, Grandma, for helping me to see what Godly motherhood truly looks like!
The world has turned motherhood into more of a production of what we can put out, and produce, rather than a relationship.
Your children will remember the time you spend together and the special things you do for them, just as I do with my Grandma. They will remember the acts of love you show them and what you sacrifice for them. They will remember the truths you teach them. They will know how great the Father’s love is for them, because of you.
Don’t allow the world’s and especially social media’s picture of Motherhood to pressure you into trying to “put out” great children. Remember, being a mother is truly a gift from God; a relationship that you are blessed to have. Enjoy that relationship, and rejoice in the day that God has given you!
Remember, “This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.”
My grandmother gave me her pearls, some of her “pink” glass that adorned her living room as long as my memory goes back, her treasured recipes that we made together, her grace, her dignity, but more than anything, my grandma gave me the example of her devout love and dedication to her Lord Jesus Christ! My grandma showed me through the way she lived, not just through the words she spoke, that being a mom meant loving like Jesus! It meant going the extra mile whether you had the energy to or not. It meant giving forgiveness when forgiveness wasn’t due, it meant laughing together, crying together, praying together, and always, no matter what, loving unconditionally with a pure heart.
Motherhood means pointing your child or grandchild to Jesus! Not just simply through the words you speak, but through the life you live!
Speak Truth Love