|God is faithful| “If you are faithful to God, He will be faithful to you!” That is such a true statement and it's been proven true time and time again in how my mother lives. In every aspect of her life, she’s always been steadfast, and not just when things were easy. Perhaps what makes her exceptional is that against all odds, she held on and trusted that the Lord would make a way, no matter what the situation was. For many years, she lived in turmoil at home, but she still made sure me and my two siblings were at church every opportunity we got. Simply because she wanted our lives to turn out better than hers did--talk about a mama's love. As a single mother, she would work long hours Monday through Friday, and sometimes on Saturday, but still made the house of God a priority on Sunday. She’s taught me, as a mother now myself, to do the same with my two boys, making sure they know that being in the house of God is not only a privilege but a necessity in this life.
|God provides, but he won’t bless laziness| At a young age, my mother started her own cleaning business and was (still is) a one-woman show. She handles the finances, scheduling, and is the only cleaner for her company. She works incredibly hard, and is highly sought after in our area—regularly having to turn job opportunities down now! God has been so gracious to have placed the perfect clients in her path at the appointed time, that were just as much a blessing to her as she was to them. Even though the Lord provided for her, she still had to work. Her blessings came in the form of job opportunities, and never once did we go without, only because she made up in her mind to show up and do her best. Her business and her finances have been so blessed by God, but she would’ve never made it this far had she not been dedicated in the beginning. She’s taught me to view work as an opportunity to be blessed, and to give my all, no matter the job.
|Prayer makes the difference| I have watched her graciously walk through some of the darkest, toughest trials with the most beautiful, hundred-watt smile on her face. Up until the past few years, her life was a constant rollercoaster of chaos and heartache brought on by others' poor choices, and she refused to let it get the best of her. As a young person, it was not uncommon for me to walk into her room and hear her praying and crying out to God. I cannot tell you how often I’d hear someone say to her, “I don’t know how you do it!” She never made giving up an option, as she knew that would be detrimental to her and most importantly, her children. She just did all she knew to do—she prayed and then she trusted God to do His part. She is the strongest woman I know—a strength that is not physical. She has taught me that when life gets to be too much to bear, I can take those burdens to the Lord and trust that He will see me through.
|Time is the greatest gift| Not only has she been at everything I’ve ever done in life, but she’s made sure that I know she’s “my biggest fan” along the way. Let’s be honest, it doesn’t even matter if I absolutely stink at something, she’s going to cheer me on like I’m the greatest thing since sliced bread. I'm thirty years old now and to this day, if I need her, she is there. She’s always in my corner and always has been. She has never once made me feel like an obligation, or a burden, even though she had me at such a young age. She is one of the most giving individuals I’ve ever met, of gifts, yes…but most importantly of herself. Presents from parents are often quickly forgotten, but a parent’s presence is not. As a mother, she has taught me the importance of just being there for my children and cheering them on throughout their lives.
|The sunshine is healing| For as long as I can remember, my mama has always loved sitting outside in the sunshine. When I was younger and lived at home, I would regularly watch her pull into the driveway from a long day at work, grab her lounge chair, and just sit with her face towards the sun. At first, I’d look out the kitchen window and wonder how long she was going to sit out there; after a while, I caught on and started joining in. To this day, if I go to her house and she isn’t inside cleaning, it is likely that she is outside somewhere, silently soaking in the warmth of the sun, letting it wash away the stressors of the day—it’s like therapy, but it's free! She’s taught me to appreciate the simple things in life, like sunshine and fresh air and because of her, I make a priority to get outside with my boys every chance I get.