Greatest Influence

This Thanksgiving is different than any Thanksgiving I have ever lived before. Never in the 51 years I have been living have I been more grateful. So many reasons contribute to an overflow of thankfulness. Age and maturity have made me more aware of what is truly important; and, among other reasons, I have gleaned much from reading everyone’s list on social media of what they are thankful for. I have made a list which is too long to share so I have decided to write about “someone” who I am deeply thankful for. Someone who has been probably the “GREATEST INFLUENCE” on my life and that someone would be my Mother.

This past year I have been able to spend more time with her than I have in the past 20 years. She is very sick with a rare brain disease called, “Cortical Basal Ganglionic Degeneration”. Its symptoms mimic those of Lou Gehrig’s disease. Currently she is very immobile and mostly sits in a chair and has very broken speech. Her ability to communicate has declined significantly over the last year. I am very grateful to my immediate family for allowing me to take time away from them so that I could be with her. As I have sat many days in silence and watched her doze, I have had plenty of time to reflect on HOW SIGNIFICANTLY GRATEFUL I am for a Mother who has modeled Psalm 28:7, “The Lord is my strength and my shield, my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks in song.”

As I have journaled previously, when I was growing up she woke me up most mornings singing the song based on Psalm 118, “This is the day the Lord hath made I will rejoice and be glad in it.”

I am very grateful this Thanksgiving for my mom who:

  • Loves Jesus and has taught me to do so.
  • Loves me unconditionally.
  • Puts our family’s needs above her own.
  • Loves the poor and needy and has taught me how to also.
  • Loved and cared for her parents and has taught me as well.
  • Believed in me when no one else did.
  • Saw the good in others when there wasn’t much good to see.
  • Is quick to forgive.
  • Is faithful to my dad and has loved him unconditionally (been married 57 years).
  • Worked harder than anyone I know.
  • Opened her home to all my friends.
  • Invested in her grandchildren.
  • Prayed daily for me and now my family.
  • Took the time to come and visit me when I was newly married.
  • Came to every golf tournament she was able to and watched our children play.
  • Loved all my friends and their families.
  • Taught me to be strong.
  • Taught me to cook.
  • Taught me to value the day and embrace it with hope.
  • Taught me to clean.
  • Taught me to value worship and church.
  • Taught me to explore and develop my God-given talents and abilities. Encouraged me to go to college (something she never did).
  • Taught me how to manage money.
  • Confronted me on the hard things I didn’t want to hear so that I could change for the better.
  • Now is very ill and hardly complains in order to keep those around her happy and take the focus off of herself.

Today I am grateful for the ULTIMATE ROLE MODEL who we fondly call, “The ROCK”.

Proverbs 31:25-29, “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’”

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