I think it's Matt Chandler who said: "Where the ideal is lacking, grace abounds." That's true. What's also true is that even where the ideal is present, grace may abound. Since I wrote that post last week about all the wise women God has placed in my life, I haven't been able to stop thinking about the wise woman who gave me life.
I have the most amazing mom. (Mama, to me.) Those women and their wisdom aren't filling in a gap she left. They're grace poured right on top of it.
And isn't that just like our Father? To pour out grace where the ideal is lacking. To pour out grace where the ideal is present too.
I'm so grateful for all of these women who have helped to raise me. But I'm especially grateful for this mama of mine.
I just need to spend a day bragging on her. Because she's wonderful.
She is one of the kindest people that I know. But not in a sappy, enabling way. She's kind as in she wants what's best for you--desperately, almost aggressively, even when you don't. She will fight for you, even when that means fighting with you.
She is loyal. Sometimes in her kindness I forget this. She's prone to take up for people, even people who are making me angry. But when someone wrongs me--as in doesn't just offend me but actually does something that isn't okay, she is the fiercest. I was reminded of this last year. She always taught me that there are two sides to every story. But on the days when I needed to hear it, she reminded me that she is on my side. Always. To the end. And that is where I needed her to be. Right there in my corner. She'll do the same for you if you're one of her people.
She pays attention, and she really knows the ones she loves. So well. She knows that when I'm upset about something, I need time to talk through it. Lots of time. Because I won't tell her what's wrong the first time she asks. She usually knows the words that I hesitate to say. She is a very hard person to fool. She knows what I'll think is funny. She knows what I'll think is ridiculous. She knows when to step in and when to step back. She is intentional with her friends and with her family.
She hears from God, and she does what He says. It's no wonder He continues to speak to her. He can trust her with His heart. I have watched her pray with women, speak the Lord's heart to them so clearly, and then watched them walk away different. Not just feeling better. Actually better. It's the coolest thing. And it's just because she listens to Him.
She taught me that ice cream and coffee, while unable to solve the world's problems, are excellent temporary fixes. Ice cream is medicinal. You've probably heard me say it. I heard it first from her.
She taught me not to be afraid to get dirty, to work hard, to break a sweat. She makes me braver than I'm naturally inclined to be. I taught her that it was okay to do all of the above in a dress. Life's a dance, folks, and we keep each other balanced.
She taught me that we don't have to buy into the world's lies. When I turned fifteen and developed a little bit of an attitude, she took me to our favorite Chinese food restaurant, and she informed me that we were not going to believe the world when it told us that moms and daughters don't get along during the daughter's teenage years. We can choose to get along, she informed me. And that is what we are going to do. And we did. Not always. Not perfectly. But we sure didn't buy the world's lie that we had to hate each other. She still reminds me that it doesn't have to be the way the world says it does.
(I also think that watching Gilmore Girls together was beneficial to our relationship while I was in high school. In the words of a friend from high school: "Yall are just like the Gilmore Girls! Your mom is super cool and you're ... Well ... Kinda into books." Yes. Thanks for that.)
She was my first friend. But she's also always been my mom first. Careful to balance the roles. It must have been difficult, and sometimes it was tricky. But it worked for us. She mothered me by knowing me. And that's what she always tells other moms when they ask: "Know your kids." It's exactly what she did. She was a different mom to me than she was to my brother. I don't know what she'd have done if she'd had 12 children, but I'm confident she would have figured it out.
I love you, Mama!