What a difference a year makes! Last Mother’s Day, I cried most of the day. I had not seen my mother since Christmas, and I’m used to seeing her a few times a month. It was even harder because my brothers live close to my parents and were able to stop by, but I am two hours away. I knew that others had it worse than I did, and there are some who are just now seeing their families for the first time in over a year, so I count myself among the very blessed. However, I’m still the happiest girl in the world that I got to spend Mother’s Day this year with my mom, the most special person on earth.
I know, you’re all thinking, my mom is the most special person on earth, and I bet you’re all right.
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:
Strength 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.
Love 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.
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.
So 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.
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.
Memories are funny things, elusive little pieces of time that slip in and out of the mind on the tails of the spirits of the past. This time of year, those spirits conjure up so many memories for me. Mother’s Day always reminds me of my grandmother who I loved so much and miss every day. The smell of lilacs in the spring brings to mind carefree days reading books in the backyard of my childhood home. The anticipation of summer reminds me of all of the time I spent in a little town in St. Mary’s County called Bushwood. How I loved spending long, lazy days at my grandparents’ home in the country. I crabbed with my grandfather in the Wicomico River in the mornings and walked the tobacco fields next to the house in the afternoons. I can still close my eyes and remember the sweet scent of the leaves that were so large I could sit under them and shield myself from the sun’s scorching rays.
One of my fondest memories was helping Gram with the wash. It amazed me that every morning, before most of the world was awake, the first load of the day was already in the washer. When I wasn’t crabbing with Granddad, I enjoyed wonderful country breakfasts of fresh eggs, scrapple, and sliced peaches in cream while Gram sat with me and said her morning prayers. Then we would load the laundry into the baskets and take it into the backyard to hang on the clothesline.
Long before anyone spoke about global warming or carbon footprints, Gram knew that a dryer was only to be used when necessary. Hanging out clothes and linens was much more economical. It kept the house cooler, used less energy, lowered the utility bills, and best of all in my mind, just made everything smell better, sweeter, and cleaner.
I’ll never forget the feeling of slipping beneath those cool, crisp, line-dried sheets at night. I would fall asleep to the sounds of the crickets and tree frogs outside of my window and the feel and smell of the country air on my skin. Even now, there is nothing quite like enveloping myself in a freshly made bed with sheets that smell of country air and sunshine. If you don’t believe that sunshine has a smell, then you’ve never had the pleasure of laying your head on a pillowcase that has been warmed by sunlight and dried by the gentle breeze of God’s waving hand.
I now live on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in a little town that is similar in many ways to the beloved Bushwood of my youth. We crab in Grace Creek, take walks through our woods, and enjoy the quiet, country life. And every sunny day from April through October, you can find our family’s laundry on the clotheslines that are strung up in our backyard. On breezy days, when the wind gently blows the clothes against my cheek as I hang them, I smile and look up, knowing that Gram has just whispered “hello.” Always on my mind and in my prayers, I whisper back, “I love you and miss you.” And I think of her that night when I lay my head on my crisp, clean sheets.
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 latest book, Picture Me, is the recipient of an Illumination Award, placing it among the top three eBooks of 2015. Her next book, Whispering Vines, is now available for pre-order.
I have been so very blessed in my life when it comes to mothers. I have the best mother any girl could ever want. When I was growing up, I knew that my mother was an authority who needed to be respected and obeyed, but I also knew that she was my friend. From an early age, my mother included me on her girls only weekends and day trips with the ladies. I suppose it was because it was just the two of us in a house full of men, but I always looked at it as our time as friends and not as mother and daughter. I called Mom’s friends by name, and they treated me like one of them. In my teen years,I knew that I could talk to my mother about everything and that somehow she would understand. As a wife and mother, my Mom is my rock, my go-to, my wise sage. I don’t know how I could have gotten this far in life without her. Read more →
Let me start with a disclaimer – I am not a gardener. Truth be told, I hate gardening. My parents have the most beautiful gardens, and I always dreamed of having a yard resembling a Thomas Kincaide painting. Of course, that would require countless hours of planning, planting, weeding, and scolding children and dogs. I would much rather be reading a book! But I do have to admit that I love flower gardens. I love the romance of a vast collection of fragrant blossoms bowing in the breeze. A fully in-bloom rose trellis makes me practically giddy, and there’s nothing quite as beautiful as a lilac bush bursting with little flowers that tickle one’s nose with their sweetness. If only I had the patience, skill, and desire to create such a masterpiece. Read more →