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twenty-five lessons my mom taught me by example

22 July 2012

today’s post is in honor of my mom’s birthday today (july 22) – happy birthday, mom!! i’ve decided to share my birthday note to her here so that the world can know how great she is, and so that others can join in celebrating her (and their own mothers). also, i think all moms feel concerned that the things they want to teach their children aren’t getting through, while the things they’d like to avoid showing their children are inevitable – so, to the young moms, may this be an encouragement. so, without further ado…

25 lessons my mom has taught me by example (in no particular order): 

  1. be hospitable – i know it’s not just me who enjoys spending time at my mom’s house, because she knows how to make people feel welcome. she’ll sit on the couch with you, tea in hand, and ask the kind of questions that tell you she really cares about what’s going on in your life.
  2. give good gifts – my mom loves to give people gifts, whether it’s for a birthday, christmas, or just for fun. she’s constantly sending delightful packages to us overseas simply because she knows they’ll put a smile on our faces.
  3. keep your house clean, but don’t fret about it – sometimes when my mom says, “this floor really needs to be mopped,” the rest of us squint at the floor and try to see the dirt. her house is very clean & smells nice, so guests are comfortable, but she’s never uptight about things needing to be “just so.”
  4. work hard – my mom’s job is stressful and she probably works too much, but i’ve always admired how much effort she puts into her work. she strives for excellence and is a great leader in her field.
  5. keep your promises – my mom is a really reliable person who does what she says she’ll do. even when she’s busy or tired, if she’s made a commitment, she’ll see it through.
  6. give good hugs – my mom is a great hug-giver. my favorite, of course, is the swaying-in-the-kitchen hug, but i know i’m not the only recipient of a great hug from mom.
  7. try new things – my mom is constantly learning. she signs up for classes & reads books, especially when it’s something her kids are interested in. she’s willing to humbly admit she doesn’t know everything.
  8. be a good listener – i remember in high school, my friends would come over and one friend at a time would inevitably be missing. “where’s so-and-so?” “talking to your mom upstairs.” she cares enough about people to listen to their stories.
  9. give wise counsel – my mom doesn’t have all the answers, but she does have a lot of good answers. she’ll listen and respond with wisdom. i still benefit greatly from her advice and usually seek it out.
  10. learn to cook for company – my mom’s a great cook. she not only makes great food, but she really considers the needs of her guests. at my bridal shower, all the food was gluten and dairy free because one guest had dietary restrictions – my mom wanted her to be able to enjoy all the dishes! we can’t always cater to everyone, but i appreciate how she knows how to please a crowd & consider individuals.
  11. be a good nurse – my mom actually is an RN, so she’s qualified to care for the sick. but it isn’t just her medical training that makes her a good nurse. she’s attentive and caring, seeking ways to give comfort to her patients as well as healing.
  12. go out of your way to help others – i’ve seen this most recently in her willingness to drive an hour after work every day for a week to help my sister’s family move, but it’s not just her kids she’s willing to help. she has a servant’s heart and she’s always willing to lend a hand.
  13. pray – my mom is a “prayer warrior” if i’ve ever seen one. i know she prays diligently for so many people & peoples around the world. it’s incredible how powerfully and personally she prays to her heavenly Father.
  14. maximize your potential – my mom is really brilliant (even if i do make fun of her for making up words on occasion). when my sister and i were in school my mom pushed us to do our very best, and she never allowed us to slack off. i see that she pushes herself in the same way and strives to understand new things.
  15. make good financial decisions – my mom has shared a lot of her mistakes with my sister and i so that we don’t make the same ones. it’s so neat to see how she’s worked hard to get out of debt, to pay for our school, and to manage daily expenditures.
  16. look for opportunities to disciple and mentor others – from VBS and AWANA to youth group and Perspectives, my mom always seeks out younger people who need guidance and affirmation in their faith. i love seeing how she encourages others to grow and learn by opening up her own life to them.
  17. read God’s word daily – my mom has her favorite spot on the couch all worn in from where she sits to read the word & journal. even though she’s read through the whole thing multiple times, she’s commited to continuing to study & soak up God’s truth.
  18. go ahead and take a nap – sometimes you just need a good nap. so curl up and sleep, whether it’s for 20 minutes or 2 hours. and when you can take a nap, be grateful – it’s a gift!
  19. tithe and give to missions – my mom has set a really good example of generous giving, even in times of financial stress. and the great part is, she’s not throwing money at problems, but investing in relationships with people & commiting to serve with them through their ministry.
  20. keep things in perspective – even when things seem really stressful or dramatic, my mom can see beyond that moment to what’s really important. she would often remind that the seemingly “crucial” moments in high school or college weren’t as pivotal as they seemed, in the long run. it’s always helpful to remember the big picture.
  21. technology is useful, but shouldn’t take the place of relationships – my mom has facebook, a cell phone, and skype, which she uses to communicate with her friends and family, but she can’t turn the tv on by herself. she knows that no one needs 800 kitchen gadgets or the latest, fanciest iProduct, and she prioritizes people over new toys.
  22. don’t let your pain become bitterness – i know that my mom has faced difficult times and has struggled through painful relationships for long periods of time, but she’s never let that pain take root in her heart to become anger and bitterness. instead, she takes her hurt to God for healing and continues to love and serve others.
  23. love your family – my mom loves to spend time not only with her husband and children but also with her siblings, cousins, parents, grandson, grandma, nieces and nephews (and their kids). she values all these relationships highly and puts in the time and energy to show love to and encourage her family.
  24. let your heart be moved by compassion – my mom loves to be an advocate for others, which is why she’s great at what she does. she doesn’t let “the system” stand in the way of providing good care for her patients or let indifference lull her into inaction. when she sees someone who needs her help, she lets God’s love compel her to act on their behalf.
  25. share what you’re learning with others – sometimes it’s over a cup of tea, sometimes through recommending a book, sometimes through a powerpoint presentation in a class, but no matter the format, my mom is willing to share her victories and her struggles with others. she’s willing to open up and share with others so they can learn the truths she’s learned through experience.

thank you, mom, for being a wonderful example to me and so many others. thank you for your love, encouragement, friendship, wisdom, and patience. you are a precious gift and i love you so much!

if you know my mom, feel free to leave a comment below about how she’s impacted your life, or let us know an important lesson your mother has taught you!


5 Comments leave one →
  1. Heidi permalink
    23 July 2012 00:01

    What a beautiful tribute to an amazing woman! Blessings on you, Jenny, for modeling these wonderful characteristics to your daughter. And blessings on you, Rachel, for having the wisdom to appreciate your mother and for taking the time to ponder and write about her godly qualities. God has blessed you both with each other. Happy birthday, Jenny!

    • jenny messier permalink
      24 July 2012 07:41

      Heidi, Thank you for your kind words & birthday wishes! I truly am blessed!

  2. Melissa Hunsinger permalink
    23 July 2012 03:04

    I just about started crying when I read this!! jenny you are so wonderful and such an amazing example of how we are meant to live our lives! Thank you for all the long chats and amazing advice!!! Rachel, thank you so much for sharing all this about your amazing mother! I see so much of your mom in you!! Love you both so much! Happy Birthday Jenny!!!!!!

    • jenny messier permalink
      24 July 2012 07:44

      Liss, I did cry & I have probably loved our long chats more than you! I look forward to hearing about your journey as a new wife & seeing your new home! Thank you so much for the birthday wishes! I love you!

  3. jenny messier permalink
    24 July 2012 07:39

    Rachie, Thank you so much for your encouragement & thoughtfulness!! (even if you did make me cry on my birthday 🙂 I am so grateful that God can use even an ordinary, broken vessel like me to teach His children & that He gave you a gracious spirit that sees the best in others! I love you bunches!

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