Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Mean Mama

"I hate the lead-up to Mother's day." So said a friend last week.
Silently, I agreed. For a different reason though. For her, it was a reminder of the bad relationship she had with her mother. That was not it at all, for me. My struggle is different. It's knowing how to fully show my appreciation for the amazing Mama that I have. And I never succeed at it. Because, each new day I come to appreciate her more.

As a young child, I used to wonder if other Mummy's were nicer than mine. Why, I had to be in the loungeroom at 7 every morning (and evening) for worship, even in winter! I had to wash the dishes too! When I didn't, I got punished. Surely, other mothers weren't that mean! It seemed the list was endless, what I was meant to do.

And why wasn't I allowed to drink soy milk straight from the carton? Too bad! I would do it when nobody was looking. After I had first prayed and asked God to not let anybody catch me though, of course. Mysteriously, it always worked. ;-)

It didn't make sense either why when I had to wipe the table after breakfast, that I couldn't wipe it onto the floor. I mean, Able could sweep the floor after me, instead of before I cleaned the table, couldn't he? Apparently not. Bethany demonstrated for 5-year-old-me how to properly wipe it -- into my hand; not the floor. I was not impressed. So yucky! I didn't want all those crumbs and food bits in my clean hands. Mum didn't bend though. She wanted me to learn to be tidy, and not leave a mess after me.
I learnt.

Another thing that used to puzzle me when I was four was, why couldn't I keep my eyes open in prayer? It was much more interesting than keeping them tight shut for ten minutes. It felt like that's how long the old people prayed for, anyway. One time, doing her motherly checking, she saw me with my eyes open during prayer. After worship, I was taken to Mum and Dad's bedroom.
"Did you open your eyes in prayer, sweetheart?" Mummy asked.
I didn't want to lie. I felt terribly bad. "Yes, I did, Mummy! I'm so sorry!"
"That was naughty of you, but because you told the truth, I won't punish you. Let's pray together and ask God's forgiveness."
Kneeling facing each other, Mama held my little hands, and we prayed.
I was so happy. It felt good to tell the truth! And to be forgiven. After that, I never opened my eyes in prayer again. Mummy had made me happy by not punishing me, so I wanted to make her happy too.

 Sometimes, I'd be walking on the veranda, and hear a certain sound. Crying. Praying. I'd tiptoe to a vantange point - where I could see where the sound was coming from. It was Mama. I heard our names. She was praying for us. Why did she have sad days?

Now I know. I've come to grasp more of what it would've been like for her to birth, potty train, discipline, raise, and worry about 8 children. I'm the second youngest. I never had to be the assistant mother, like my eldest sister and the other girls, did. I never knew the attitude that people had towards her for having so many children. But I am an older sister. And an aunt. I became an older sister at two, and an aunt at eight. As my summers have added up, so has my understanding. I know what it's like to cry and pray for a brother or sister that is struggling. Or a nephew that is lost for ten hours -- in the cold and dark.

The way Mum raised us, I come to appreciate each new day - literally. Every night I thank God for blessing me with such an amazing mother. She's faced a great deal pain and roughed it so many times. Yet, she's clung to God... and loved us continually. I love the way she trusts me. I can't help but trust her too.

Not long ago, I wanted to go overseas. I planned. I dreamed. I talked. And I prayed that God would convince Mum that she should let me go. Finally, I got an answer. A. Definite. No. It disappointed me -- to say the least. Why did my mother not want to me to enjoy myself? My hopes were dashed. But I accepted the answer, and moved on. Mum always said she wanted only the best for me, but why couldn't I see it right then? I decided to trust her anyway. One day maybe, she'd let me do something wonderful and adventurous.

One night, it was just Mum and I still awake. It was late. I confided to her about my discouragement over the happenings of the day. She encouraged me to keep going. We sat together on the bed. And talked. Slowly, she shared the vision she had for my life. I was stunned. They far surpassed my puny longed-for-adventures. She told of the desire she had for me to be more fully, a missionary. The plans warmed me. And I grasped a bit of the picture. Of what it means when God says He has good plans for my life, and not evil ones. And I realized the reality of how much Mum wants the best life possible for me and my siblings.

The little details of how she raised us -- from encouraging us all to learn music, even sitting beside us when we were unmotivated to practise; to holding my hand as I went to sleep as a five year old; to reading us the same Bible story every day for a week, until she was sure we'd grasped it (we never noticed it was the same!); training us to thing hard about deep things; to how when we asked questions, she didn't just answer, but showed us how to find the answer for ourselves in the Bible, as well as teaching us to read the Bible everyday.  The list is endless.

My Mama being mean, is a lie.

She's really the BEST!


  1. That was a lovely read Christella!
    love Heather

  2. Oh... I love it. :) Especially the "wiping the table" part. I can distinctly remember having that same conversation... "why can't we just sweep up the crumbs later?" :D

    Put a smile on my face.

  3. What a very sweet post for your Mom! You are blessed to have such a mother and I am too :)
    "I love the way she trusts me. I can't help but trust her too"
    Perhaps the sweetest words you could every say!
    Thank you for sharing!


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