Soon we’ll set aside a day to recognize women who have devoted their lives to caring for their children. Mother’s Day: a day we honor women who have recently stepped into the role and those who have been mothers for many years. Women who have one child to raise and those who have a house full. Women who care for children with special needs and critical illnesses. Women who grieve the loss of children. Women who support their children in education, sports and the arts. Women who partner with husbands to raise children and those who fill that parenting role alone. Women who now mentor and support their adult children as they leave the family nest to build their own lives and perhaps become parents themselves. Women who have added the role of grandmother to their lives. Women who wait with prayers and hope that their children who have disconnected from family will someday come back into their lives. Women whose hearts are filled with joy and those whose hearts are heavy with disappointments and pain. Women who have overcome life challenges and others who hold onto hope as they weather life’s storms. Our mentors, our caregivers, our teachers, our friends. While attending a recent college reunion (“hello” to fellow UMHB alums), I had opportunity to meet some dear ladies who graduated many years before me. As I captured brief glimpses of their life stories, I realized I was in the midst of strong women who were touching lives and making a difference in their families, their communities, and throughout the world. Many are mothers and grandmothers whose legacies are shaping the futures of those they love. A few of these precious ladies grew up in the same time period as my mother so my thoughts shifted to the legacy of love and faith she left for my family and for those whose lives she influenced. She was a quiet woman of Irish heritage with a gentle spirit, only 4-foot-7 in stature. Yet she was strong and unwavering in her faith, even in the most challenging and painful times. Mom openly and authentically lived what she believed. She studied her Bible and spent time each day in prayer. She taught little ones at church as well as her own children about God’s love for them. She made certain the coffee pot was ready and always had something sweet in the pantry, in case someone dropped by for a visit. She counseled women who were struggling as wives and mothers to seek God’s wisdom for their lives. She sacrificed herself for those she loved. She cared for my father during his many illnesses. She battled cancer as long as she could while ready and waiting for the Lord to take her to be with him. My mother taught me the value of sharing spiritual beliefs with children and grandchildren of all ages through our conversations and through our own daily living. As adults, we can teach powerful lessons as we talk about our relationship with God and how we’ve worked through our own spiritual struggles. I sometimes wondered how Mom could hold on and press through difficulties she faced when many women would have given up. She was quiet about many aspects of her life but open and honest about her love for God, her understanding of him, and her trust in his faithfulness. She didn’t waver, and I watched as God faithfully cared for her. She showed me that we don’t need to preach, we don’t need to condemn, and we don’t need to give up hope. We do need to hold fast to the spiritual truths that guide our lives and ask God to let his light shine through us into the lives and hearts of those we love. My mother and the women I recently met have all passed on a consistent, clear legacy: Love God. Obey him. Serve him. Follow wherever he leads. Trust him with your whole heart and hold on to his promises, no matter what life brings. I know there are many other mothers whose lives reflect that same legacy of love and faithfulness. Let’s be sure to thank them this Mother’s Day. Nancy Williams, LPC is a licensed counselor, life coach, speaker, and author of Secrets to Parenting Your Adult Child (Bethany House, 2011). Send questions or comments to her at www.nancywilliams.netwww.nancywilliams.net .

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