My mom has given me some great advice over the last several years (really over my lifetime, but I am only willing to admit the good advice I have received since I realized how smart she really is…), but there is one thing she told me that I am really pleased with today. See, a couple years ago, I was really bummed because some baby didn’t like me. I think it was my niece Dyana, but I can’t really remember. Mama said, “Just feed her–that’s how you get babies to like you.” Spoken like a southern woman.
So for the last several weeks, Victor and I have been bribing the kids at meeting. They are the grandkids of one of the ladies, and the youngest is two. She is a beautiful little Mexican who cuddles up to her abuela and her uncle. She’s really the one I am after. Her brother is four, and isn’t quite as shy as she seems to be. We’ve taken candy from the presents my students gave me. Mexicans love weird candy with chile on/in it. She’s quite the mess, and last week when I tried to help her take the wrapper down off her candy–you would have thought that I was sneaking a taste. Today, however, she gave me a sweet smile when I gave her a kiss (the chocolate kind). Yes! It’s working!
I am reminded of a sweet lady and her husband who used to bring us candy and treats on Sunday mornings. Laura, my elder’s late wife in Tennessee, always remembered us! I remember her bringing heart shaped lolipops around Valentine’s Day. She was an amazing woman, and I can’t imagine being at her home for meeting without her being there!
What really got me thinking about Laura and other amazing women I’ve been around who nurtured me (naturally and spiritually) was a verse in Titus. I know I have read it a billion times, but there is something about reading it in another language that really has made it real to me. I think it’s because I have to read so slowing and really search for meaning.
That the aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
Oh! what I’ve learned from you, women in my life! How to take my service to God seriously! To love my husband as a helpmate–not the bossy britches I tend to be. To allow God to work in my family’s life–rather than instruct and preach. To love this unborn child and want what is best for him–spiritually, as well (if not more than) naturally. To love others despite their faults–and maybe even more! To recognize my shortcomings when I begin to judge others harshly–and even to fear the lessons the Lord steers my way after I’ve been particularly stubborn. To realize that my children won’t be perfect, but that my love will be unyielding. To understand that a word in season can lift the weary and downtrodden. To pray, pray, pray for others as you’ve prayed for me! To recognize a need and seek to fill it–without a show or desire to have reward. To make sacrifices. To bite my tongue when it’s hard. To forgive. To remember the saints and servants.
Oh! I could go on forever… But I’ll end with this: If ever you doubt the place you have in God’s kingdom, know that this young mama in Mexico has benefited beyond what words could ever explain from your life. Thank you.