Monday, May 15, 2017

Lessons Learned

In honor of Mother’s Day, I’d love to dedicate today’s post to the greatest woman I know…my beautiful mother and dear friend, Shirley Roberson.  I can’t even begin to describe how much I love this woman and how much she means to me.  It would be impossible to tell you all the things I love about her.  There is simply too much to write in one post! 

For those of you who don’t know my mother personally, she is full of Godly wisdom!  She is a mother to many because people are drawn to her sweet spirit and wise words.  She’s a Proverbs 31 woman through and through!  Today, I’d love to share some wisdom that my mom has imparted into my life over the years.  If I have learned anything over the years, it’s that Mom’s words are always filled with truth and wise counsel.  Once again, there are too many lessons learned to mention them all, but here are a few that have been life-changing for me.  These lessons ultimately made me a better person and shaped me into the person that I am today.  So thankful for a mom who chooses to speak truth into my life even when it wasn’t what I necessarily wanted to hear.  She’ll never know how her words have impacted my life.  I pray that as I share some of these valuable lessons from my mom, may her words speak life to you as well!  Be blessed friends as you soak up her wisdom!

Lessons Learned from Mom:

Lesson #1- Establish  Healthy Boundaries

The week before I got married, I can remember laying in my room talking to my Mom just as we did pretty much every night before I went to bed.  I can remember talking about the wedding and I broke down in tears and told my mom that I didn’t know why I was crying!  I explained to her that I loved Nathan so much and couldn’t wait to marry him, but that I was so sad about leaving home at the same time.  My heart was being pulled two different directions and I was having such a hard time making sense of it.  I had such a close relationship with my Mom and Dad and I was dependent on them for so many things that even though I was only moving a few miles away, I literally felt like I was preparing myself for a death in the family!  I know that probably sounds ridiculous, but that’s how close we were.  My heart felt such a void just knowing that I wasn’t going to see Mom every day and get to have our talks at the end of the day, or have her there to help me through my panic attacks, or have her lay hands on me and pray for me anytime I needed.  I was so confused about my sad feelings in the midst of such a joyous occasion! 

I remember Mom telling me that my feelings were completely normal and she assured me that it would get easier.  She told me it was time to start leaning on my soon-to-be husband for those things and that as I did that, our relationship would change and she assured me that was okay too!  I can still remember telling her just a few days before I married my husband that there was no way I would or could love Nathan more than her! 

During those first years of marriage, there were some defining moments.  I still called my mom several times a day and because we were close, I even stopped by often just to hang out.  There were times when I was struggling with fear and anxiety that I would call Mom in the late hours of the night just to have her pray with me.  There were days when I was sick and I just needed my Mom.  As a mom now, I could see where that must have made Mom feel so good and met a desire to feel needed.  I’m sure the separation was just as hard on her, if not harder, so I can only imagine how easy it was for her to just jump back in to the role of being my caretaker and go-to person when I reached out to her for help!  But being a wise woman and a woman of the Word, my Mom taught me something in that first year of marriage that changed my life.  She taught me boundaries.

I know my Mom well enough to know that setting boundaries was probably one of the hardest things she had to do, but she had to let me go no matter how much she wanted to hold onto her baby girl.  And she did.  There came a time where my Mom started to tell me she loved me, but that I needed to turn to my husband.  She recognized that I was never going to put my husband first as long as she kept allowing me to turn to her for advice, for spiritual nurturing, and care.  As much as she desired to help me, she knew it would eventually cause marriage trouble if she continued allowing me to turn to her anytime I needed something.  When I’d call her for advice, she began responding with, “Well what does Nathan think about that?”  When I’d ask her for her opinion, she’d respond, “I think that’s a decision that needs to just be between you and Nathan.”  It was a process, but my parent’s actions taught me such a valuable lesson by setting those healthy boundaries in our relationship.  They taught me what a marriage should look like and they taught me what the role of my husband should be in my life.  Over the first few years of our marriage, these healthy boundaries ultimately lead my husband and I to becoming each other’s lifeline, confidante, and best friend.  Although I never thought it was possible, I began to see my heart shifting and my husband eventually became the most important person in my life.  He’s my very best friend and I love him more than anyone else in this world…and I have my Mom to thank for that. 

My husband has so much love and respect for my parents and I truly believe it’s because my parents have always set healthy boundaries and never overstepped into our relationship.  Over our fourteen years of marriage, my husband has come to cherish the opinion of my parents and I believe that’s because he has never felt threatened by their opinions in the past.  They have never offered unwanted advice or stepped in with an opinion when unwarranted.  They have remained silent when they disagree and they have never said an ill-word even when I vented my frustrations about my husband.  They never took “my” side...rather, because they were on “our” side, they always encouraged me to be submissive and respectful to my husband and to not let things fester.  They always encouraged me to go to my husband when there was an offense.  They have always offered sound Godly wisdom and never an emotional response.  I love them for that.  They will never know how this lesson of healthy boundaries has shaped me as a wife and a mother!

Lesson #2 -  Choose Joy

Over the years, I have called my Mom and filled her ear with plenty of complaints and frustrations about life.  It's nice to have someone to talk to where you can trust your words to stop there.  It doesn’t matter how bad the situation is, Mom’s response is always the same.  Choose joy!  She always has an encouraging word!  Mom is not the one to call if you want someone to have a pity party with or if you need someone to tell you they understand why you are so mad, sad, or upset!  She’s going to tell you to get over it and choose joy!  As frustrating as that may sound, this is a lesson that has been invaluable in my life! 

Life is not always fair and it’s not always sunshine and roses.  But for those who have a relationship with Jesus, we have a hope and a joy that doesn’t depend on our circumstances!  Mom has taught me to look past my circumstances and focus on what the Word says about it instead!  When you look at things with a Kingdom mindset, your perspective changes and you are able to see the blessings in the storm.  It’s life-changing and life-giving!  Whatever you are going through, just remember it is only temporary and because of Jesus, there is hope and a way out.  There is nothing in this world that can steal your joy, but you can sure give it away.  I choose joy!  Thank you Mom for teaching me that I have a choice.  Because of your wisdom, I am able to choose joy daily…often many, many times…instead of letting someone or something ruin my day!

Lesson #3 -   Respond in Love

You can’t always control people’s reactions, but you can control your response!  That’s one of the greatest lessons my mother has taught me!  Life is unfair.  People can be ugly and mean.  But just as the Bible says, “Do not repay evil with evil”, my mom taught me that I can and should respond in love even when others don’t “deserve” it. 

Mom, thank you for choosing to not feed a reaction.  I can always count on you to change my perspective when I am out of place.  Even in moments when I know it was hard for you to hear that someone treated your daughter poorly, you have always encouraged me to keep my head up and to respond with love and to pray and ask God for help.  As a mother, there is nothing that gets my feathers ruffled quicker than for someone to be mean to my babies so I know there have been times where it would have been easy for you to jump on the bandwagon of getting even!  However, you always take the high road.  Because of the lessons you have taught me, I take the time to control my response and although there are times when tough conversations may need to happen, I can choose to respond in love because of the lessons you have taught me.  You have taught me that the Lord will equip me with the words to say when I choose to respond in a way that is pleasing to Him and you have taught me that when I pray about a wrong that was done, Jesus has a way of changing my heart so that it doesn’t bother me anymore or He just completely makes it right again!  Thank you for your many lessons in love and forgiveness!  It has freed me from so much heartache over the years because you have taught me to not focus on the reactions of others but to just be responsible for my own response.  When I stopped trying to change other people’s opinions of me and trying to respond in a way to please other people all of the time, it brought so much freedom to me and it ultimately brought healing to my heart. 

Mom, thank you just doesn’t seem like enough.  The wisdom you have poured into me over the years has been life-giving to me.  Thank you for always speaking truth.  You are the most loving and selfless person I know.  I watch you serve your family and your church and I’m always amazed.  I have never met anyone in my life that serves with such a cheerful heart as you.  You never complain.  I love that about you.  You choose joy and that joy is so contagious.  I love being around you because I always leave feeling better after spending time with you.  That’s just the kind of person you are.  You are kind, compassionate, and always encouraging.  Your love for Jesus and for others is so evident.  I feel so incredibly blessed that God chose you to be my mother.  They just don’t come any better than you!  Love you dearly and I am so incredibly thankful for you Mom!  Happy Mother’s Day!

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