Monday, September 3, 2018

Woman of the Word - My Mother

If you stay open and allow yourself to experience everything you feel, you just may realize your emotional capacity. The reality is I miss my mother. We weren't always close in that classic mother-daughter sense or the way I am with my daughters because we came at this thing called life differently. From what she shared of her upbringing with me over time it wasn't idyllic, and some parts were hard. It was hard for me to hear but also hard for her to live through. It gave me a new appreciation for my mother.

When I got married and eventually became a mother, I realized that I am who I am because of my mother. I was strict - because of my mother. I was frank and blunt - because of my mother. I was exacting - because of my mother. I liked all of those things. I disliked that I was a yeller - because of my mother. The yelling forced me to become introspective and separate the good from the bad; because overall my mother was a good mother.

And then when I was tired as a mother and only because I was a mother, I realized my mother must have also been exhausted, often.

But though tired, she never lost that distinctive laugh, and more importantly, her Christian beliefs never wavered. There was a verse for every situation we were going through. Sometimes it was tiring, but when a person has that faith, even as a child you can't help but notice. And that was primarily what was imprinted on me - no matter how flawed you are as a human being with faith in a Person more prominent than you, you can navigate life, you can figure it out, you can be confident. Out of all of this, she became an encourager - she was my first encourager. She also modeled what it means to be a Woman of the Word.

When I won the first Spelling Bee in the Bahamas, she was so proud of me. And the trophy is still in her house to this day. When I started running track and I was finally able to go to track meets she was so proud. In my junior year, my times were horrible, and I was despondent. I'm not sure why this happened, but she told me not to quit, and in my senior year I performed so well, I got one of the Most Improved Athlete awards. She was there at that dinner, and she was happy for me. In her mind, I was an Olympian. She told me I was smart, and I could do anything I put my mind to, and she meant it. Because she meant it, I believed it. This is what allows me to tackle anything - my mother thought I could do it, and therefore I could.

Even when I moved to California and I found myself signed up for a half marathon (out of boredom and the sheer loneliness that moving produces) and had to fundraise. I was feeling some sort of way about fundraising; it felt like begging. She said, "Don't be afraid to ask, you have to ask. There's nothing wrong with asking." How did she know that? What did she know about fundraising? So I continued to ask and came pretty close to my goal.

Eventually, later in life, I could do for her what she did for me. I could encourage her, and listen to her and tell her I love her. She told me that she really appreciated me calling her just to talk to her about her and ask her how she was doing. She said that I should keep doing that. I think it was at this point our relationship came full circle: we were mother and child yet two adults who appreciated and respected each other.

Mummy had 80 years with us, so we had her for a long time and for that I'm grateful. She was a truth teller and didn't mince words. This didn't endear everyone to her but those who knew and loved her knew her truth came from a good place. This quality may not have been the best trait of hers as a mother but she meant well. So I learned to have a thick skin and see the intention behind the words. I learned that grace and forgiveness were available for parents also if not resentment and estrangement could define your relationship. Even if you're estranged from your parents, recognize that without them there would be no you. Try to extend grace and mercy toward them as an adult so that you can have a degree of a relationship with them because whatever you have is better than nothing and when they're gone the opportunity for a connection is over.

I was at peace with our relationship when she passed and I miss her so. Sometimes when I pray these days, I find myself saying Hi to her. I know she's walking around heaven, smiling and laughing and thanking God for all He did. Mummy, I miss you.

Her children stand and bless her. Proverbs 31:28 [NLT]

I'm not embellishing my mother's traits; it was a testament to her life that there were over 300 people in attendance at her funeral. She is sorely missed.

Enjoy your parents while you have them.


  1. What a lovely tribute to your mother, Nylse! I can tell that she formed and inspired who you are today! I don't know if she died recently, but if she did, I'm sorry for your loss. Regardless, I'm sure her loss is still felt and because of that, you are in my prayers, my friend!

  2. This was so beautifully written and reminds me so much of my own mother! Sending you so much love.

  3. I miss our mother too. It was great to get together a family on the two year anniversary of her passing. I continue to talk about Mom and ensure that her legacy lives on. I have many fond memories like yours. There is power in death in that the work is finished. But the legacy is not over.


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