May 15, 2008

My Mother, My Example 
by Meghan Kleppinger, Editor, Christianity.com

She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."
Proverbs 31:26-29

I watched with excitement as Big Brown passed the rest of the horses and crossed the finish line making him the winner of the Kentucky Derby. I jumped up and screamed with glee over the win. Minutes later, however, I was sobbing as I watched Eight Belles, the second horse to complete the race, sustain a devastating injury and immediate euthanization.

My mother called me from Florida when she saw what happened to Eight Belles. She knows me so well, and knew I would be a wreck. She was in Florida for my grandfather's funeral, and it touched me deeply that in the middle of her grieving, she would be thinking about how the death of a horse was hurting me. The truth is that's just like my mom… and it’s also true that the soft spot I have for horses and all animals was strongly influenced by her.

Yes, she taught me a lot about animals and other things during my growing up years, and she continues to teach and inspire me in my adulthood. She didn’t hit me over the head with scripture or demand I agree with her views; instead, she taught by example and gentle correction. She didn't preach love, she showed it.

As I’ve shared in previous devotionals, when I was eight years old my mother led me to Christ shortly after her own conversion. She has continued to grow in her relationship with Christ and finds joy in studying and sharing what God teaches her through His Word.

She genuinely cares about people, and when she says she is praying for you, she means it. Once, when I was in high school, very sick and sitting miserably in an over-crowded hospital waiting room, my mother popped out of the seat next to me and walked up to a young woman who was crying by the pharmacy counter. I couldn’t hear the conversation but I saw my mother embrace the girl. I sat in awe as I watched my mom approach and comfort this pained stranger.

Not that I need it yet, but she has also taught me a lot about being a good wife and mother. She and my father are best friends and completely committed to one another. When my father was deployed to dangerous places, she put on a brave face and comforted her girls who were missing our dad. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized she might be missing him too!

Whenever the family was transferred to places none of us wanted to go, she pretended it was the greatest thing in world, and before we knew it we were excited about going too.

I could go on and on but in a nutshell, she is a pretty fabulous woman and I’m blessed to be able to call her mother and friend.

Proverbs 31 is often a place of reference for women to see what they should aspire to. When I read this scripture I don’t see a check-off list of characteristic I need to try to emulate; instead, I see a picture of a mother… in other words, an example.

I’m not sharing all of this about my mother to brag or to get out of buying a Mother’s Day gift, but because she is an inspiration in doing what we have all be called to do. She puts her faith into action everyday and because of that, is a walking an example of Christ-likeness.

Intersecting Faith & Life: I encourage you to seek to be an example of Christ-likeness to others but continuing to grow in your relationship with Him through prayer and study and by putting your faith into action.

Further Reading

Following Christ's Lead