Mother's Day is here. I can't believe it.
Out of the many holidays my family celebrates, Mother's Day is undoubtedly one of my favorites. Our mothers lay their lives down for us each and every day. Yet the recognition of their efforts, joys, toils, and sorrows is seldom seen. I know I fail to do this with my own mom, and to her I say this:
Mom, you honestly mean the world to me. You are imperfect, but you are there. You are my only mom, given to me by my only true and relentless Heavenly Father.
And this cycle of forgetting to love and thank our moms? Mother's Day breaks it. If even for an hour, our mothers get the love they give out. Finally.
But what does it mean to be a mom?
Thankfully, the best biblical answer comes from an excerpt we all know too well: Proverbs 31. But as I read through it this past week, I saw something different. In my mind passed the faces of many women who have been my mom the past 20 years. For each verse, a different Proverbs 31 woman came to mind. And so now, I choose to thank and recognize them.
Proverbs 31:10, "A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies."
To Grandma: Who all the years of her life has shown me what it means to be a married woman with character and respect. You and Papa love and share each other's burdens in a beautiful, fluid way that I hope to have in my own marriage. Even going through Breast Cancer a few months ago, you never lost your hope and care for all of us. You are selfless. You are worth more than rubies.
Proverbs 31:15, "She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants."
To Amanda Sanders: Who I know would do anything to provide for her family and those around her. You are the reason I got involved at Real Life, which is a decision I will never regret. Because of you, I found a spiritual home, a place to gain my confidence at UCF, a group of people who love me for me, and a renewed faith in God. Even though you aren't at Real Life-UCF anymore, the legacy you left forever is. Thanks for being an example of love and sacrifice for me: I forever appreciate it.
Proverbs 31: 16, "She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard."
To Jenny DeWitt: A woman who literally makes a vineyard out of everything she touches in life. From the moment I met you at Spirit Splash 2016, I knew you would leave a lasting impact on my life. You are so, so driven. It amazes me. You make decisions, you constantly hustle, but you always leave time to care for those around you. More than anything, you led me to my true passion in life: social media. I 20/10 doubt that I would be this invested in social if it weren't for you. A lot of adults treat college students as inferior due to our age and lack of experience, but you do just the opposite. You acknowledge that we are still growing, but capable of amazing things when given the chance. Never lose your mind of wonder and appetite for adventure! You'll always be my social mom and mentor <3
Proverbs 31: 17, "She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks."
To Terri Jo Fox: For keeping your sanity in life's craziness and instilling work ethic in me. I get it: being a teacher is never easy. You honestly deal with so much, and go way beyond your job description to help students like me become adults like you. Each year, I looked forward to attending your class the most. Not because I was going to major in music, and definitely not because I had the voice of angels. No, I looked forward to your class because it changed me. You changed me. You'll forever be a part of my annals *wink*
Proverbs 31: 20, "She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. "
To Pastor Julie: Who literally embodies this verse with your life. My faith growing up always felt disconnected, impersonal. God was there, but I felt hopeless in reaching Him. That is, until you came along. I felt God's presence in my life for the first time. You introduced me to Luther Springs, to calling soda "pop," and much more. You were there for me when I went through anorexia. You helped me see that I could heal myself with God working inside me. Thank you.
Proverbs 31:25, "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come."
To Grammy: Who, in all your years of life, has always lived with a positive and giving mindset. Whenever I flew off the handle or felt stressed, you were always there to comfort me with a hug, calming words, or homemade sweet tea. You are the voice of reason in our family. No matter what we go through, you stay constant and supportive. Your life has taught me what it means to be clothed with strength and dignity; to remain constant in the crazy. I owe a huge part of my success growing up to your life example (and I will always be able to sit on your lap, right?).
Proverbs 31:26, "She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. "
To Heather Iseminger: Without your presence in my life, this blog might never have started. Because of you and the lessons you taught me years ago in AP Language class, I found my passion for writing and blogging. Your curriculum gave academia heart. But more than that, I finally found a mentor who shared my unending faith in God. I admire your gentle spirit, your loving smile, your beautifully-placed words; they will forever be in my mind. Thank you for guiding me in starting my first blog. Thank you for continuing to be a source of inspiration and love in my life.
Proverbs 31: 28, "Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:."
Finally, to Mom: You are the true reason I celebrate this day. As the verse says, I believe you are blessed in so many ways, and a blessing to me in even more ways. God put me in your life in 1997 for a reason. He chose me to be your daughter because He knew you could handle a crazy, extroverted, stubborn, emotional child (even if, admittedly, you had doubts at times). As I grew up, there were moments I doubted your ability to take care of and lead me. But for every doubt, I was met with a billion more reasons why you could. Your drive got me through years of school. Your encouragement pushed me through moments of self-doubt. Your cooking skills always kept me fed and happy. Your humor kept me from growing sad. Your punishments helped me learn life lessons. But more than anything else, your love exemplified what it means to be a mom. I love you so much for that.
To every woman that has ever taken a chance on me: You all have changed me for good through your examples of love and leadership. I pray that you enjoy this Mother's Day. I pray that you feel appreciated, loved, and understood. I pray that you understand that being a mom doesn't mean having children. It means being a mentor and guide to another. Think about this responsibility, and never take it lightly.
You are the moms of now shaping the moms of tomorrow. And if we'd all just listen, tomorrow will be one heck of a great place.