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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Salter Goodwin

Ten Lessons I Learned from my Mother

This Mother’s Day I am thinking about my mother’s most important lessons to me. I pray my life will demonstrate their lasting impact on me.

1. Work is a privilege, not a job.

When work is a privilege, it blooms gratitude. Mother never thought work was her right; it was a gift. Treating work as a gift brings more contentment than treating it as a duty or a step to something else.

2. Idle hands are unnecessary hands.

She never said this; she just lived it. Her hands sewed, hemmed, patched, cleaned, cooked and later quilted. She wasn’t a workaholic or a “too busy” mother. That means she found the right balance.

3. Listening starts in the heart.

Mother listened to my stumbling as I read my first pre-readers. She heard pieces from my journal that I read to no one else. Her heart heard my dreams, my fears, my insecurities. Then, she knew where to encourage me and where to warn.

4. The Bible tells me so.

It was her simple truth. She never argued theology. She simply took the Bible as something to obey. The result was theology in action, theology I could see.

5. Food feeds more than the body.

Sunday roasts, a frosted, chocolate cake, or spaghetti and meatballs. Food brought our family together 2-3 times a day. Gave us a place to linger over empty plates to talk. She served us joy, love, and availability, not just food.

6. Frugality is an opportunity for creativity.

Money didn’t buy sunsets on camping trips, family game night, or cooking lessons. With limited resources, we always enjoyed good food, an annual vacation and a slew of extras. Besides, being more creative with resources doesn’t take as much as time as making more money.

7. Beauty is medicine for the soul.

She called our attention to sunsets, a still night, a beautiful flower. The mountains of Colorado mesmerized her. She loved simple beauty wherever she found it. She always looked more content after a new dose of beauty.

8. Traditions stitch families together.

She fixed our favorite cake and food for birthdays. She insisted on lighting all the Christmas candles on Christmas Eve. She loved bringing out the china for Christmas and Thanksgiving. But it was never about the show or decoration. It was about honoring the day and the people who gathered.

9. Endurance is the back side of hope.

Mother fought through many physical issues. A persistent anemia plagued her, depression always knocked at the back door, surgeries and the fear of another was her constant shadow. She endured but not fatalistically. Her endurance demonstrated the truth of hope. You don’t keep going unless you think it could get better. She taught me that you can’t fail if you never quit.

10. Confidentiality is next to godliness.

Mother kept more confidences than anyone I know. Sensitive information was part of her job, yet, she never told anyone what she knew or that she knew it, not even my dad. I learned that someone else’s information is not mine to tell. Not ever. She never n

eeded to know so she didn’t need to tell.

I know my mother wasn’t perfect. However, I know that if I can live my life with the same Christ-pleasing faithfulness to family, friends, and work, I will be glad to credit her model as my most steadfast influence, even now.

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