Jen’s Gem: When you know better, do better.
This week marks the ninth anniversary of my mom’s passing. Nine years. In some respects it feels like it was only yesterday that I sat on her hospital bed speaking words that I’d no idea would be my last to her. Other times, it feels like centuries ago that I’ve felt her warm embrace.
Hardly a day goes by that I’m not reminded of my mom. A random penny found in a parking lot, a dish she gave me that’s serving up a meal for my children or simply a glance at her picture on my dresser. These are all signs that make me think of her. If only for a moment a feeling of peace and love comes over me as I sense her love reaching out beyond the clouds for her fifth child.
I often wonder what my life would be like if my mom was still alive. What are the conversations we’d have? What would she think of the many changes I’ve gone through? How would she have supported me through the ups and downs of job losses or financial struggles or simply being a single parent?
What Do You Know?
While I may not know the exact words or actions that my mom would’ve offered, here’s what I do know.
If I was feeling scared, she’d remind me of my capabilities.
If I was feeling sad, she’d offer comfort and give me a hug.
If I was feeling confused, she’d talk it out with me and offer her wisdom.
If I was feeling overwhelmed, she’d tell me to focus on the most important thing first.
Of course, all of this would be done with a whopping dose of love, support and possibly a good “talking to” if I was really over the edge. Moms have a way of saying it like it is, don’t they? They can snatch you out of your pity party pretty quickly because they see the innate strength, ability and potential of their children.
I see this with my own children. I see beyond their current situation. I see how the gifts and talents they’ve been blessed with may one day be used. I can help them sift through the debris of the day to see a clear path ahead.
Now – whether or not they will listen to me is another story and if you’re a parent of a teenager? Spoiler alert – they won’t! But that’s ok. I didn’t believe or listen to anything my mom or dad told me when I was their age. I had to figure it out on my own to really get it.
Taking someone else’s word for something doesn’t always work. We have to feel it in our bones. We have to experience our own flavor of it. We have to see how it would apply to our life. After all, their situation is not the same as ours.
Don’t Take My Word For It
I’m learning that this is how God works. He’s given us His advice on how we can be happy in this life, yet for many of us, we have to figure it out on our own. We have to test the waters. Some of us have to test them multiple times before we really get it.
Like my mom, He sees the innate gifts and talents and abilities in me. He sees the path ahead for me. He also sees the hiccups along the way. Yet, he doesn’t judge or admonish or cast me aside for these hiccups. In some cases, I believe He gets a good belly laugh at my silly mistakes. However, like any parent who sees their child suffering, I’m sure a tear or two streams down His face when He sees me stumble.
My mom is no longer here for me to talk to and get advice. Of course, I can talk to her but she can’t speak back to me. Only God can do that. God shows up every day, rain or shine to help get me through my day. His advice is always perfect and if I just trust Him, everything goes well. When I don’t – can you spell hot mess?
Hindsight is 20/20
Here’s the rub though. What He tells me is not what He’s going to tell you. That’s the way it should be, no? How my mom used to talk to me is not how she’d talk to you, right? It’s likely her words of wisdom would not be a fit for you. She doesn’t know you.
She doesn’t know you, but God does. He created you and knows everything about you. Everything. So of course His words are going to be custom-made for you. Now, whether you choose to seek out those words is totally up to you. Whether you choose to act upon His words is also totally up to you.
I will tell you this. I sure wish I would’ve taken some of my Mom’s advice. I sure wish I would’ve listened to her. I can’t begin to describe the heartache I’d have avoided if I did. And I sure wish I’d have taken God’s advice when I clearly heard it too. But like my two teenagers, I thought I knew better. Another spoiler alert – I didn’t.
I didn’t know better, but I know better now. And when you know better, you do better.
Do better today.