I was walking past the mirror in the hall the other day and I as I glanced in the mirror I was expecting to see my own image but I stopped short as I saw my mother in that mirror. I always thought I looked like my Dad, not at all like my Mom, but there she was staring back at me. It was the first time I ever saw myself in her physically.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12
Mom had a heart of compassion, in fact she was the ultimate caregiver. She was a magnet for people in need, always offering a hand or a shoulder to someone. She would literally give the shirt off her back when she saw a material need even if that shirt was the last one she had. She loved people and it gave her great purpose to care for them any way she could, all of them.
Her gentleness and endless patience made her the favorite Gramma and Great Aunt to all of her grandkids, nieces and nephews, and there were many. She loved to play games with them, teach them to sew, make jewelry and bake. They still talk about those memories to this day.
“Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together and his faith was made complete by what he did.” James 2:21-22
Her face always shined with her love of Jesus. Her greatest gift was her faith which colored everything else she did. She believed in loving like Jesus and did her best to do that. She was a shining light of love, compassion and grace. Her light shined brightest when she was sharing Jesus. Her bible was full of highlighting and notes giving a glimpse of her thoughts at different times in her life. I loved finding a bible study she was writing on her tablet, one more way for her to share about Him. Her entire life was about loving and caring for others so that they would see Jesus.
She was a strong woman filled with a grit and determination that got her through the good times and the not so good times. She survived divorce from Dad and the death of the love of her life. She knew what it was like to have little and she knew what it was like to have plenty and she handled life the same way regardless, living simply.
Her blue eyes always had sparkle that showed her love of life. She was the perfect combination of solid organization and wild creativity that ensured amazing results with everything she did. When we were little I had no idea we didn’t have a lot of money. She made sure we had fun creating magic and memories in the mundane and could create masterpieces out of the simplest things. We never wanted for anything and she made every holiday and birthday special.
She carried this zest for life up to her final days this side of heaven. She spent the month of June doing the “body of iron” at the YMCA in Delaware. The body of iron consisted of doing an iron man over the month or doing 26 miles on the treadmill, 2 miles in the pool and 100 miles on the bike. She finished her body of iron on the 27th of June. I can still see her smile as she danced with her hands in the air singing, “I did, it, I did it!”
As I glanced back in the mirror I blinked and saw Nita again. But I know Mom’s in there, and maybe someday I won’t just look like her but I will have her character as well. I can only hope to someday carry the strength, compassion and zeal for life she lived every day, showing the world the beautiful light of Jesus.