What My Mother Taught Me by Example

What joy for my mom to experience her first Mother’s Day in Heaven! It feels strange to not get her a card or a gift this year, but she is feasting on all the riches of God’s grace, basking in His eternal light, where there is no more tears or pain. So instead, I’ll honor her for Mother’s Day by sharing some of the things she taught me, mostly by example.
If you don’t have a mom you can brag on, I hope you will be blessed by my mom’s example and find much to learn and emulate. If you feel you’ve fallen short as a mom, remember none of us are perfect, and it’s never too late to become a legacy. (click to tweet)

First, my mother taught me to love thy neighbor. Mom liked everyone and treated everyone the same no matter what their situation or background. She always thought the best of people, wasn’t critical and didn’t judge them. 

She wasn’t a gossip – I never heard her gossip with friends. As a teen, if I was on the phone with a friend and she thought the conversation turned to gossip, she would make me get off the phone. (That was when phones were attached to the wall in the main part of the house.)

Although she was an artist, when it came to people, she didn’t see color. 

My mother had honesty and integrity. I never witnessed my mother cheat in any way.

She was very forgiving (as was my dad).
My mother wasn’t shy (I wish I inherited that from her). She would talk to anyone, and she wore a smile whether she was smiling on the inside or not. She was welcoming and hospitable.
From her I learned to be a good and devoted wife. I learned to weather the storms that come in marriage. She and my dad were married 72 years, literally through good times and bad. I learned forgiveness, strength and perseverance from watching her (although I’m sure my dad made it easy being as good-natured as he was). I learned it is worth it to stick together in the bad times and not give up.
Mom loved gardening, however, I did not inherit her green thumb. The picture below is her standing with some of her harvest at the entrance to her garden. My dad had the sign made for her. 

She taught me much about nutrition and organic foods. She often repeated what her mother used to say, “What are they doing to our foods!” Did you know the dandelion, those fuzzy yellow flowers people try feverishly to rid their lawns of, is one of the most nutritious foods on earth? My parents used to pick the greens and put them in their salads.

One of mom’s many talents was coming up with poems off the top of her head. For fun, I thought I’d share a few of them.
Ode to the Dandelion

When God created planet earth
He planned it all for our rebirth.
Then satan came and had a plan
To spoil it all and poison man.
He said, “Don’t’ eat this weed, it’s not for you,”
And killed it all wherever it grew.
And God was sad and He was not pleased,
He knew that man would be diseased.
The plans God had for man to flourish
Meant now that man would not be nourished.
What can we do to stop this evil?
And change the course of this upheaval?
Look to God and all He gifted,
And then your health will be uplifted.
© Alice Arakelian, February 2017
Mom also loved bird watching. One day when my Dad was failing with Dementia, she sat on her porch watching the birds at her feeder. She noticed one looked different than the others and upon a closer look, discovered it had a broken wing. Here is the poem that came to her:
O little bird with broken wing,
How lovely that you still can sing.
You fly around from place to place,
Ignoring what you have to face.
When other birds push you aside,
You wait your turn and still abide.
If I like you could sit and wait,
I would not fret about my fate.
God made us both, I’m told it’s true.
If only I could be like you!
© Alice L. Arakelian, June 2014
This is the poem she wrote literally while my dad was passing:
Relax, my love, it’s time for you
To join the loved ones who raised you.
Mother, sisters, Walter, too,
All the family you once knew
When God says it’s my time too,
I’ll spend eternity with you
© Alice Arakelian, March 4, 2017

Unlike my Dad, Mom had her wits to the very end. And witty she was. When her health was failing and we knew it was getting close to the end, my daughter and niece flew in to visit her. Five days before her final breath, she was sitting up on her bed visiting, talking and even making us belly laugh. What a sweet time!

My mom had a simple faith; it wasn’t full of theology or religion, it was just pure faith in God and in His Son, Jesus Christ, who died on that old rugged cross for our sins.

My mom loved to read and learn. As a result, she was one of the smartest people I’ve known. One of the books she read consistently was the Bible. (Even her little doggie loved when she read it.)

Her example prompted me to read mine as a young girl. Soon, I was hooked. This book made me want to follow the Jesus I was reading about and saw in her.
Over the years, we had many opportunities to discuss what we were reading in our Bibles or devotionals. One such discussion was about Mom’s favorite hymn, My Jesus I Love Thee*. A young Methodist teenager who had recently become a believer originally wrote this hymn as a poem in 1864. William Ralph Featherston didn’t have the longevity my parents had, though. He died at age 27. Several years later, Adoniram Judson Gordon (founder of Gordon College and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) put the poem to music and published it in his book of hymns.
So fitting were the words for my mother’s memorial service, we had my daughter sing it, because I just know she’s in that mansion of glory with a glittering crown upon her brow, singing in that beautiful voice she used to have, “If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, tis now”.

Tell me about your mom. What is your favorite memory of her? Leave your answers in comments. I can’t wait to read them.
*My Jesus, I love Thee 
My Jesus I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
I love Thee because Thou has first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.