|date||Feb 1, 2010|
|author||Voddie Baucham||topics & issues||Biblical Ethics, Children, Discipleship, Family, Theology|
“STRENGTH AND DIGNITY ARE HER CLOTHING”
Last summer, I spent a week in Louisiana with a dear friend of mine who was there for the summer nannying for her aunt and uncle. I had never been to New Orleans before, and hadn't seen my friend for several weeks; also, it was my first time away from home alone (my family had to leave me in Houston with friends once, when a spur-of-the-moment sinus and double-ear infection kept me from hopping a plane to Georgia with them, but that was the closest I'd gotten until then). I was nervous and excited to board the plane with my friend's dad and to head off to new and exciting places.
Three days later, I was as sick as a dog, calling home to tell my parents that I had ruined the carpeting and smeared the vinyl in a stranger's car. My dad kept me on the phone for twenty minutes, making me laugh with his intense worry, trying to joke off the waves of nausea that kept me from watching Food Network for two days. After a few minutes, I asked where Mama was so that I could repeat my story.
Daddy paused. "Um... she's right here."
"Can I talk to her?"
Another pause. "Uh... not right now."
Now, I was worried. "Why not?"
The last pause. "We're in the emergency room. She didn't want you to worry."
* * *
When you look at my mama, several words probably come to mind. Beautiful is one. Elegant is another. Radiant. Youthful. Poised. Something you might not think of is strength. But my mother is a strong woman.
My mother grew up in a turbulent home where she was taught that children are a burden, not a blessing, that certain adults want to prey on their innocence while others don't have time for them; she was taught that men treat women like objects, and that women should learn how to fend for themselves, or they will be trampled upon by those who are meant to protect them.
In spite of all of this, the Lord's hand was on my mother's life. She met my dad at a college dance (he petitioned her to step out onto the floor with him; she flatly refused). They got to know each other over the next few weeks; six months later, they were married. Ten months after that, I was born. I always tease my dad that I've almost known Mama as long as he has. Almost. ;-)
My mama was a public school teacher for seven years. She came home for a year before my dad announced, upon returning from a trip to England, that we were moving to Oxford. I was right there when he said it. I watched my mother nod her head. "Well, all right then."
Less than a year later, we landed on foreign soil, hailed a taxi, and pulled up to the home that my dad had procured in a harrowing last-minute transaction days before we arrived. She homeschooled us that first year in England -a seven-year-old and a ten-year-old -without a support group to speak of, starting from the ground up.
She's amazingly intelligent, my mother, and far less passionate and emotional than the rest of us -her level-headed practicality has anchored each one of us in the dramatic moments of our lives (yours truly especially). One thing she's got an abundance of -something that seems harder and harder to come by these days -is common sense. That first year of homeschooling took a lot of practicality -a lot of common sense -and a lot of patience. The kind that can move mountains. Rebellious, stubborn, headstrong, ten-year-old mountains. =)
Once back in the states, a new adventure awaited my parents. For years, they'd been talking about having more children. They researched every avenue before announcing that we were going to be adopting a baby soon! I wasn't there when they walked into the agency and announced that they wanted to adopt, when the social worker behind the desk said, "all right, how many?" or when my parents replied, "We're thinking ten is a good number." I didn't see her eyes bulge, or watch her rush out to grab her supervisor in excitement. But I've heard the story a thousand times.
My mom and dad were serious. 2004 brought news of Elijah David's birth. 2007 brought us Asher Augustine. 2008 brought us Judah Benjamin. 2009 brought us Micah Alexander. Who knows what 2010 may hold? But my mom is up to the task. She's already making plans. She says having a baby is like riding a bicycle. With eleven years between Trey and Elijah David, she proved her mettle. My mama wrangles her sons like a well-oiled machine. My mom is a home-keeper extraordinaire who proves that being a homemaker isn't for wimps.
My mom is full of life. She is laugh-out-loud hilarious. It's her keen observational skills, her common sense, and her down-to-earth country girl flavor that gives her humor such a riotous edge. Many times, she isn't even trying to be funny. But when she pokes fun at the things that we all notice, but can't quite put into words in that sweet, southern Dallas accent of hers (an accent that none of the rest of us -Texans thought we may be -quite have), she brings joy to our home.
My mom is full of life. She's a fighter. Not too long after Asher came home, she was diagnosed with lupus. Soon after that, she was diagnosed with advanced osteoporosis. Still later, arthritis in her lower back. When I got that call from Louisiana, she was in the hospital with some complications from the treatment of one of these ailments. And I was miles and miles away, calling home because I caught a stomach bug.
My mom is selfless. She didn't even want me to know she was sick, because she thought it would ruin my trip. And when I cried myself to sleep every night aching to be home, she rallied her strength to get on the phone and talk to me and soothe me -big old, nineteen-year-old, stand-up-in-the-middle-of-the-road crybaby that I was. And she said, "Jas, you can't be afraid to leave home. When Johnny comes and claims you next Tuesday, you've got to go and know that you can't stop bad things from happening to me. The Lord protects me. Your dad is always here for me." She says things like, "I'm glad none of this is hereditary. I wouldn't want you to have to deal with these things later in life." Last week, when everyone in my home except for me had a nasty flu bug, she said, "I'm sorry I'm so sick today, and that you have to help around the house more."
My mom is humble. She hates the spotlight, so much so that her own daughter can't get an interview. =) She cringes when she finds out there's a picture of her on the internet. She shies away from center stage. She'll kill me when she reads this blog post. =) But that doesn't keep her from encouraging each one of us to shine boldly and brightly for Christ, and it doesn't stop her from keeping her prideful children's visionary feet planted firmly in the realm of reality.
My mom is beautiful. It's an all-encompassing adjective. She's gorgeous in all of her particulars, from the inside out. She's a keeper of her home who gives this place a joyful atmosphere. She's an example who is more to me than any words could express. She loves her family with everything she has to give. She is intelligent. She is articulate. She is hilarious.
This Saturday is Mama's birthday. During her birthday week, everyone at our home tries to find ways to show her how thankful we are for her, day by day. Today, I thought I'd formally introduce you to the amazing woman who is my mommy. In the heartfelt prose of her lyrical daughter, my love for her is matchless and depthless. She is beyond amazing. I've wanted to be like her all of my life -the older I get, the more desire increases, day-by-day. This is a Proverbs 31, Titus 2 woman who understands the beauty of her femininity. She's radiant with the love of Christ.
Happy birthday to Mama. January 23 all those years ago (not too many years =) brought her mother a beautiful blessing. All of the years since then have shaped her into a woman who has blessed so many more people than I think my grandmother ever imagined. But the Lord knew just what was in store for his precious daughter. And we -her family -are so blessed to stand beside her as we see what the Lord has in store for all the years to come.