Sunday, May 13, 2007

You Don't Have to be a Mother

Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too.
Romans 16:13

Do you skip over all the genealogies and lists of names when you get to those chapters in the Bible? One thing I love about BSF is that we study each chapter and try to glean God's reason for the inclusion of each verse in scripture. I thought that this verse was especially relevant for this weekend. There are many women for whom Mother's Day can be hard: those without children, those whose children may have gone astray, or who are facing some other difficulty that causes them to look at their role as "mother" in a different light.

Let this verse remind you that regardless of our present situation, as women we do nurture and influence someone. It could be a close circle of friends, our husband, nieces and nephews, stepchildren, or friends of our children. Rufus' mother influenced Paul and think of how many people he has influenced, perhaps as a result of the care and attention that she showed him at some point in his life.

I had a really nice day with my family today. Terry had made reservations over a week ago(!), so we had a very nice lunch. Kyle even stuck it out, so we could enjoy a leisurely meal. Amanda presented me with a poem that she had written at school. Kyle slept late. All good stuff. But something unexpected really brightened my day. I had an email "Mother's Day" greeting this morning from my favorite babysitter and college student. I thanked her this morning at church and she said that she was sending one to her mom and thought of me as well.

Being in the throes of motherhood can sometimes cause us to stop looking around at who else might need us. We also sometimes influence people in ways that we don't know.

The post below (about my special friend who sent me the unexpected greeting) was originally published August 21, 2006:

I have come to realize that we influence others more than we know. How many of you have a book on your bookshelf that someone else recommended? How many of those reads actually ended up changing your outlook and affecting you? What about your favorite recipes? Are they all ones that you found on your own? You probably cook some of the things that your mom or grandmother cooked, or you may have a new favorite or two that was passed on from a friend. A Christian friend might make a comment about something that they have chosen to avoid (a certain TV show or movie or music), and that gets you thinking, "Perhaps I should also avoid that." How many times have you run out to Target to stock up on the latest sale item touted by a friend?

Last fall I was talking with a young girl at church who had finished high school and was taking the first semester off. She didn't like high school at all. Her father wanted her to go to college. In the course of our chat, I mentioned that there were many two year programs that were specifically designed to train you for a specific career, which would allow her to begin supporting herself, and to take courses related to her end goal. I think she might have equated college with four years of boring classes. I mentioned things that I knew existed, such as dental hygienist school, an education degree at a four year college if she thought she might like to teach (because she loves children), and we talked a lot about nursing. Because my sister-in-law is a nurse, I know a little bit more about it. I know that nurses are in demand, and whether you have a two year RN degree or a four year BSRN, you can make pretty decent money. The other thing I love about nursing for a woman is that one could actually continue working after having children, on weekends or in the evenings, contribute to the family income, and mostly stay home as well, if that is a goal.

My young friend had mentioned that she was going to be registering for her classes. The next time I saw her, I asked her if she had chosen her classes, and if she was just taking the general first year stuff. "No, I'm doing the nursing thing," she answered casually.

Well, I'm glad I didn't tell her to jump off a cliff. But seriously, I am humbled and honored that she listened to me. I don't really see myself as the answer-giver to her. I think that her heavenly Father, who knows what she will enjoy, excel in and be able to achieve, used me to help her find a comfortable option for her. I hope she will do well. I hope that I will be able to continue to be an encouragement to her.


Shauna said...

I have come to realize that we influence others more than we know.

Sometimes God gives us a glimpse of that! The summer after I graduated from high school, I was in line at a movie theater when a little girl I didn't know asked me, "Are you Shauna [Lastname]?" I told her I was and she confided to me that her big sister X talked about me all the time and how nice I was and went on and on. I felt embarrassed because I didn't really even know her sister, who was a few years younger. I did remember talking to her after school while we were waiting for our rides one day; she was pretty shy and didn't say much back. I smiled at her in the hall whenever I saw her, but that was the extent of it.

The experience startled me because it made me realize how little we even need to do to have an influence on someone. And conversely, our seemingly insignificant actions can also have a negative influence that's greater than we realize. It's so important to keep that in mind when we're having a bad day and are tempted to treat people unkindly, whether we know them or not.

Heather said...

Happy Mom's Day! (Um, a day late, but who says we can't celebrate mothers every day of the year?)

Blessed Beyond Measure said...

It is amazing that sometimes the smallest comment can have such impact on others; and the same for us. Good reminder, and glad it was a good thing for her to get some direction.