This is the post I wrote for my other blog this week – I thought I’d add it here today.
LADYFINGERS AND LETTERS
My first day in the third grade and I was scared.
For the earlier grades, we lived in town and I walked to a school right up the street; close enough for me to eat lunch at home.
But now we lived in the country and school was an eleven-mile-bus-ride away. No more coming home midday. I would have to take my lunch.
I still remember sitting in the cafeteria that day, opening my lunchbox and looking inside. We ate healthy foods at our house, so when I saw ladyfingers tucked in between the sandwich and apple, I was absolutely sure I had the wrong lunch. My mom didn’t buy things like ladyfingers (tiny sponge cakes – kind of like Twinkies).
Furtively I glanced at my new friend’s lunch: a peanut butter and pickle sandwich! That didn’t sound like something my mom would give me either, so I hurriedly ate the food in front of me, fearing all the time that some big kid would find me and beat me up for stealing HIS lunchbox. I can still feel that fear that comes when you’re nine years old and something is wrong with your world.
When I got home that afternoon I asked my mom about the ladyfingers. “I knew the first day at a new school would be hard for you, so I bought you a little treat,” she explained.
Mom didn’t tell me I didn’t have to go to school. She didn’t say she would sit in class with
me all day. She made me face the situation, but gave me encouragement in the form of a couple ladyfingers. (Even though I didn’t recognize it as such.)
And isn’t that what Moms are for? They can’t (and shouldn’t) always take away the difficulties of life, but they give us the encouragement needed to walk through them.
A mom will stick a note in your soccer uniform reminding you to do your best or give a squeeze of the hand before you go up front to play your violin solo. A mom will send you umpteen postcards at camp just to say “I love you” and to make you feel special because the counselor who hands out the mail has to call your name umpteen times. A mom will tell you she is praying for you or remind you that Christ gives us strength to face any situation.
Many years later when I was in college, I hit a couple months when nothing seemed to be going the way I had planned. I had a lot of big life decisions to make and I wanted to do the right thing.
In the middle of all this brain turmoil, I went to my P.O. box and found a letter from my mom. Hearing from my parents was not unusual. I didn’t live that far away and was home almost every weekend. In between Sundays, we talked on the phone. That’s why I didn’t get long letters from them. But in this letter, Mom reminded me of the good things in my life, shared some of her own decision making when she was my age and reminded me to depend on the Lord. She assured me He had everything under control and I didn’t have to worry about stuff. She encouraged me to pray about the situation and then patiently wait on the Lord to see how things turned out. I don’t know if she remembers the letter, but I do. I took her advice, stopped being panicky and “waited.”
I’ve always known that two of my mom’s favorite verses are Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.
And that’s the way she still lives her life. And that’s the way she always encouraged me to live my life, too.
So, on this Mother’s Day I thank my mom for her encouragement.
And remind all you other mothers out there to encourage your kids, too. That could be a reminder that you’re praying for them, a hug, a letter (or email), a note stuck in a pocket or lunchbag, a verse of Scripture and … sometimes a special treat like a ladyfinger.
Just let your kids know it REALLY IS from you.
Happy Mother’s Day!