// Lynette Hagin
"The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be Like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." -Isaiah 58:11 (NIV)
This month we set aside one Sunday to honor mothers. As I have said previously, I came into this world on Mother's Day. I often told my mom that I would never be able to top that gift to her. She would just grin, laugh, and have a witty comeback as only my mother could.
My mother passed away in February of 2011 at the ripe age of 95. This will be the fifth year that I have been unable to express my appreciation to her for her life, love, and example. As I reflected on my years with her, I began to realize the influence she had on my life.
Of course, she taught me many things. One thing she consistently pounded into me was, "Lynette, keep your head high and look people in the eye." She knew that two characteristics of low self-esteem were walking with your head down and avoiding direct eye contact. She wanted her children to know that with God's help, we would always be successful in life and could stand tall. When she was being photographed, I would be amused to hear the photographer constantly say, "Lower your head a little." She always held her head high.
My mother taught me more by example than by instruction. Through observing her, I learned to be a caretaker. Mother was always there to take care of any family member who was sick. We knew that her potato soup was just the right antidote for any ailment. It seemed like that soup started the healing process. And she didn't just open a can—she made the soup "from scratch," as she would say. It had the right ingredients to settle every symptom.
My mother taught me to be a protector. Her brother and other family members died in a storm when I was very young. Consequently, whenever a storm arose, she would be concerned for her family's safety. Since we did not always live in a sturdily built house, when a storm came (and they seemed to usually come in the middle of the night!), she would drag me out of bed and take me to our neighbor's storm cellar.
My mother taught me the importance of preparing meals for my family. She loved to cook. Nothing fancy—just country cooking. Biscuits and gravy was her breakfast specialty. She always presented a beautiful table. Whether it was for family or friends, you would have thought she was hosting the president. We sat down to a tablecloth, placemats, cloth napkins, and unique china. I never saw a paper plate or a cooking pot on her table.
Did she sit down and instruct me in cooking and table-setting techniques? Absolutely not. However, I watched her prepare food time and time again, and I desired to follow her example. Therefore, I began to ask her what I could do to help in the kitchen. That is when she began instructing me.
My mother showed me by example the importance of taking time daily with the Lord. Each morning I would find her reading her Bible and praying. Whatever was going on in our lives, she assured us that God was in control and would take care of it all. I saw the importance of giving to God as I observed her each week write out the family tithe and offering checks.
My mother showed me by example how to be a ministry partner. I observed her always standing beside my dad and being just as committed to the ministry as he was. She never complained of the sacrifices required. When I was just an infant, Dad left the church he was pastoring to start a new church in South Texas. He told my mom, "Can up all the food you possibly can. At least we won't starve while starting a church." (In those years you did not freeze food—you canned it.) They often laughed as they reflected on those memories.
This brings me to my last points: my mother never lost her sense of humor, nor did she consider herself old. She would always say, "If you want to stay young, hang around young people." She'd mention that when she was around 80, someone asked for her identification to make sure she qualified for the senior citizen discount. Obviously, humor and not dwelling on her age kept her thinking young, even in her 90s.
I encourage you to take time to do something special for your mother. Express your gratitude for all she has done for you. Don't wait until it's too late for her to hear your kind words.