I was recently asked who the most influential person in my life has been. I didn’t even have to think about it; my mom has, hands down, been the most influential person in my life. All of my life, my mom has been the picture of grace under pressure and gentle strength.
At the age of four, I had an awareness of what it meant to have a relationship with Jesus Christ and that this relationship was something I desired. My mom set a lifelong example as she chose what was right over what was easy, as she chose what was good over what was popular and as she consistently sought opportunities to teach my brother and me what it meant to honor God with our lives. That of course doesn’t mean that he and I always chose to live a God-honoring life, but we knew what one looked like.
Prayer was a major part of our household. My mom believed that you should pray in, through and for all things. That’s just what we did. My mom taught us to have a morning prayer before we went to work or school each day, and we always shared in mealtime prayers every night. She taught us to pray about everything—to bring all needs, joys and concerns before God. During the times when her children chose their own way over God’s way, she would pray for us without ceasing. But above all else, it was the bedtime prayers that were extra special. Not only did this practice teach me as I got older to end each day in communication with God, but it also showed me, through my mom’s faithfulness and diligence, how much she loved me. No matter what had happened that day, regardless of how I had disobeyed, what stressors came at her or how tired she was, she would stop and pray over me each night.
Throughout her life my mom has faced adversity. She has experienced more loss than anyone I’ve ever known, and yet, her faith has never been shaken. On what I can imagine to have been her darkest days, she maintained strength and hope because of her rock-solid faith, because she believed that God was with her and would never leave her. She has shown me what scripture tells us in Romans 8:26: “The spirit helps us in our weakness.” Similarly, she has lived 2 Corinthians 12:9 boldly:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
I have learned the power of prayer and the strength available to us with Christ’s help because of my mom’s faithfulness. I have learned to strive for excellence, never doubting that I was capable of such, because of her example. Proverbs 31:30 tells us, “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” My mom, while outwardly beautiful, has shown me what true beauty looks like. For, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1Samuel 16:7). I hope to become as beautiful as my mom someday.