Sometimes God drives His word home using illustrations from my life that smack me right in the face. And He uses the simplest things to do it.
Case in point – recently, at the gym grunting through a BodyPump class, the young male instructor flippantly said to the class of moms, “Never underestimate yourselves. You’re kids will do it for you!” I laughed and thought about it while I changed the weights on my barbell getting ready to kill myself with clean and press.
At first I thought, glad that doesn’t apply to me. My daughter totally believes in me. She encourages me all the time, in fact, she encourages me to go way beyond where I thought I could go. So there, Mr. Smartypants!
Then, right there in the gym, muscles screaming and sweat pouring, God drops this little bomb in my heart: “What about your mom Kate? Do you underestimate her?” Gotta love conviction in the middle of the gym.
Tears welled up as the truth hit me dead between the eyes. I completely underestimate my mom and I always have. I’ve totally pegged her and dismissed her influence in my life. Not only that, I’ve pretty much settled in my mind that at 91 years old, she’s mostly just marking time.
We weren’t close when I was growing up. She wasn’t the kind of mom that encouraged me and made me feel like I could do anything in the world. And we were never ‘best friends’. Honestly, she was rather critical and still is, yet I still feel like I need her approval.
So, I’m in class, fighting back the tears and wiping sweat and trying to do a decent clean and press when I realize I have underestimated her all these years. I’ve only known her as a daughter and, in my mind, we are nothing alike.
So, lying on the floor getting ready for crunches, guilt hovering, I begin taking inventory of my life, my personality, my gifts and talents and ask God to show me where we share common ground. Here’s a partial list:
- My gift for hospitality. There’s nothing mom loves more than a good party and by helping her at dozens of her parties over the years I learned just how to make people feel welcome in my home.
- My love of cooking. She’s a wonderful cook, in fact she wanted to study in France back in the 40’s but my grandfather wouldn’t allow it so, she taught herself. She gave each of my sisters and my brother a real love of food and cooking.
- My love for decorating and beautiful things. Because of her good eye, I’ve been blessed to inherit some lovely antiques and a desire to make my home a pleasant space to live in. She would have so loved Pinterest!
- From as far back as I can remember she was always volunteering somewhere. She helped at the hospital every week and the local consignment shop and I love volunteering too.
- She’s a voracious reader to this day and instilled in me a love of culture and literature.
- I’ve inherited her dry sense of humor and love of music and theatre. She taught me to love Masterpiece Theatre way back in the 70’s with Upstairs/Downstairs so of course, we are both total Downton Abbey fans. In fact, she reminds me of the Dowager Countess. A lot.
- We both love getting and giving presents and I have her gardening green thumb and love of beautiful flowers.
Thoughts kept coming and I was stunned to realize just how truly alike we are.
Truth can be so truthy when you it hits you between the eyes.
So, as Bodypump moved into cool-down, God let me see her the way He sees her. And I realized, I’ve been so wrong all these years trying desperately to see how different we are rather than how like her I really am.
Her days are short and my job is to love her intentionally, without judgement and keeping no record of wrongs. And to honor her. Because, we share common ground and truthfully, I’m glad I’m like her.
So, recently I made a point to send her flowers. When she called to let me know she got them, she was grateful but then she said, “Thank God you sent me roses and not those cheap TULIPS!” That’s my mom!
Love your mama this week. And try to see her through His eyes:)
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12
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Kate Battistelli, author of Growing Great Kids, is a wife, a former Broadway actress and the mom of Grammy nominated Christian contemporary artist Francesca Battistelli. She adores being Mimi to Francesca’s 2 children-2 1/2 year old Matthew Elijah and 10 month old Audrey Jane. She blogs at www.KateBattistelli.com and is writing her second book, The God Dare, scheduled to release this summer.