Five Things Mother Taught Me

With Mother’s Day coming up this weekend, of course, I’d be thinking about my mother. But on top of that, I’ve been staying at Mom’s this week to help out Dad while Mom isn’t feeling well. Spending time at her bedside, I’m reminded of all that she has taught me over the years. Here are the most important things I’ve learned:

6893Strength is not about power. As we are told in the Book of Psalms, “She [a woman of worth] is clothed with strength and dignity, and laughs at the days to come.” Clothed in strength, not exhibiting strength, not showing power or aggression or loftiness, but clothed in strength. That’s quite remarkable when you think about it. Strength and dignity should be what we wear, what we exude, what we show others. It’s more than being strong or powerful. It’s letting others see what you’re made of, but in a dignified way. My mother is not only the matriarch of our family, she is the bloodline that gives us life literally and figuratively, the glue that holds us together, the giver of advice, and the pillar on which we lean. Everyone thinks that my father is the strong one, but, like the rest of us, all his strength comes from Mom. It always has.

15732720_10154924178131349_440735058246395734_oLove has no bounds. St Paul tells us that “Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen (1 Corinthians 13: 7-8). No truer words could be spoken about my mom. She loves her family fiercely and would do anything for them. The same can be said for her friends. My love for my family and friends is a direct reflection of the love she has always shown to me and my brothers. It’s a love without end, without restraints, without jealously. I think that the simplest way to describe the love that my mother gives is that it’s a direct reflection of the Father’s love for us.

Every person deserves love and mercy. Everyone has that friend, the one that nobody can figure out exactly why you are friends. They seemingly have nothing offer, and perhaps they aren’t even that good a friend in their treatment of you or others. There have been times when my mother has mentioned one person or another, and I’ve wondered, “Why do you even put up with them?” But I know what her response would be. In life, it matters not what someone can do for you. Sometimes, all that matters, is what you can do for them. There are some people in this world who, through no fault of their own, need you more than you need them. And I’m not talking about handouts or such. Some people have nobody else to talk to, no shoulder to lean on, no one to whom they can vent, nobody to pray for them. Sometimes we need people in our lives to show us that things could be worse or that we shouldn’t take anything for granted or from whom we learn to be merciful. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5: 7).

Move Heaven and Earth for your family. No matter what she has going on, no matter how busy she is, my mother will let nothing stop her from being with her family. Aside from God, family is all that really matters. That’s why there was no question, when I received word that Mom was being admitted to the hospital, that I was going to pack my things and make the two-hour drive to be there for her and for Dad. It’s the least she would have done for me or my brothers or her own siblings. We are told, “if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith” (Timothy 5:8). My mother is the most perfect example of providing for her family, all family, whether they are actually related to us or not. I pray that I am able to follow her example.17884100_589736467897030_5760503867601997137_n

Be the embodiment of Christ’s light. Jesus told us, “You are light for the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in people’s sight, so that, seeing your good works, they may give praise to your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5: 14-16). My mother is certainly the light of Christ for all to see. She is patient, loving, kind, humble, sincere, honest, and trustworthy. She puts everyone else before herself and gives without asking for anything in return. If I can be half the person my mother is, emit just a single beam of the light she radiates, then I will have become the best person I can be.

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Can’t you see Mom’s glow in this photo with her friends?

DSC_7689.JPGSo to all mothers everywhere, but especially, my own, happy Mother’s Day. Thank you for providing your strength, showering us with your love, showing us how to treat others, being there for your family at all times, and radiating the light of Christ for all to see, an example to us and the world. I love you, Mom.

What I was writing about one year ago this week: The Family that Travels Together.

Things I’ve read this week that are worth sharing:  I Never Wanted to be a Helicopter Parent. But I Am. by blogger, WonderOak; Why kids today are out of shape, disrespectful – and in charge by Leanne Italie in The Wichita Eagle; 18 New Historical Fiction Novels to Read with Your Book Club by  on the BookBub Blog.

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages.  She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me  and Whispering Vines, are recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top three inspirational fiction books of 2015 and 2016. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Amy’s most recent novel, Island of Miracles, is now on sale.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me(2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017)

Raising Teenage Daughters

I recently read an article in the New York Times about parenting teenage daughters.  I had such mixed feelings about the woman’s story!  I couldn’t quite grasp whether she was complaining, venting, musing, or just rambling.  She seemed to be saying that teenage girls are horrible beasts almost all of the time, but that every now and then, she saw a spark of the girl they used to be.  I was confused and almost irritated by this.  Ever since reading it, I’ve asked myself, is this the way it’s supposed to be?  Am I doing something wrong?  Am I missing something in my child-rearing skills?  Do my children have to hate me, treat me with disgust and disrespect, and talk horribly about me behind my back in order for them to grow into mature women?  Should I try to turn back the hands of time and make this happen?

You see, that has not been my experience at all, and I’ve been raising teenage girls for quite some time now.  My three daughters and I taDSC09582lk about everything, spend quality time together, and honestly like each other.  My girls are the ones who come home talking about how horribly other girls talk bout their mothers, and they always tell me that they say “My mom is my best friend.  I tell her everything.”  In fact, another teen was recently spending the weekend with us (hoards of teenage girls are always spending the weekend with us), and upon hearing Katie declare this, she said “I know.  I tell your mom everything, too.”  But there is that worrisome guilt again.  Should she be telling me everything?  Shouldn’t she be telling her own mother?  Where does that line get crossed?

Okay, to tell the truth, things aren’t always so happy-go-lucky between my daughters and me.  Sometimes they tell me things I wish I didn’t know.  That’s when the “good mother” in me comes out, the one who lectures and admonishes.  But then I have to remind myself that I raised them to have their own opinions and think for themselves.  Sometimes they tell me they don’t want me to join them, and that’s okay.  It’s important for them to go their own way and do their own things.  We are not joined at the hip, nor should we be.  Sometimes they talk about going far away to college (though my oldest ended up less than three hours away) or moving to another state one day, and I have to smile and encourage them even though I think to myself, what if you get sick?  What if you get hurt?  What about our monthly family days?  How will you join us?  What about birthdays, and holidays, and days we just want to go shopping?  What am I supposed to do without you?  So I have to remind myself that Ken and I have worked hard to nurture their roots but to also give them wings.

And then I look at them, these beautiful young women who come to me with their problems, who text or call me just to tell me they aced a test, or didn’t, who smile when they get out of school and grudgingly answer the questions they claim to be so tired of me asking.  I look at these young women and I know, they are my daughters, my lifelines, and my friends.  So while I’ve always been told, “be their parent, not their friend,” I will continue to listen to their idle chatter, and dry their heartbreaking tears, and sing with them at the top of our lungs as we drive to school.  And I will lay down the law when necessary.  Perhaps I will look back and think about what a better mother I could have been if I had been stricter with them and drawn more of a line between mother and friend, but my girls seem to be happy, healthy, and excelling in school and life, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s all that matters.

Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels.  Her first book, A Place to Call Home may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks.  Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.

https://amyschislerauthor.com/amyschislerauthor.com/Books.html You may follow Amy at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com