Monday, May 20, 2024

Devotionals for the Heart: Reflections on Mother's Day and leaving a legacy

Living a Legacy

A devotional by Joy Beless

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.”—Proverbs 31:30 (NLT)

May 12 was Mother’s Day in the United States and Canada.

It is a time to set aside to remember to call or visit your mom—perhaps even send a bouquet of flowers and let them know how much we love and appreciate them! For some, Mother’s Day is complicated and triggers a whole punchbowl of emotions.

Although not the norm, it worked out for some of our family to celebrate together. Four generations of women laughed, told stories, and absorbed the moment—with the newest being two months old and the oldest 87.

There are a lot of opinions and ideas about what being a woman encompasses, one popular idea is from the long-standing Maybelline beauty product slogan, “Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline.” Another idea is about experiencing “Real Beauty” when you use Dove (brand) bar soap. Media and movies portray popular stereotypes for women—perfect body size, flawless complexion, flowing hair, always youthful, healthy and fit, yet somehow juggling it all.

The Bible also has plenty to say to guide and encourage us in every area of life—including this one. A famous passage about women is Proverbs 31:10-31, noted in the Bible as “The Wife of Noble Character.” It is all-encompassing and can seem overwhelming unless we view it as a description over a lifetime rather than a snapshot. One of my favorite verses (for any woman and not just for mothers) is Proverbs 31:25 (NIV) that says, “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”

I’m thankful my mother has lived this out for me. One of four daughters born to a farming and ranching family, Mom had plenty of chores to do inside and outside. A favorite story shared is about her wedding day to my father. She had a daily chore of milking the cows every evening for their dairy business. This chore could not be missed or skipped over, even on her wedding day. A neighbor saw her milking and thought the wedding was called off. Nope, she just had to take care of the cows first! We laugh every time she tells this story.

More recently, I witnessed my mother's strength and faith as she cared for my father in his last years after suffering several strokes and losing mobility. As dreams for their future were worn away into daily caregiving tasks, Mom continued to do what she could on the farm and care for my dad. Those were difficult years and she could have understandably become bitter. Instead, she clung to her faith, family, and her church community for support. My father did pass away eventually, and Mom made the difficult transition into widowhood and a new chapter of life. She currently is “laughing at the days to come” as she leads a grandparent’s prayer group and chapel in her residential senior community.

What have I learned from Mom about strength, dignity, and looking forward with confidence in the days ahead? Here’s a shortlist:

*Strength begins by leaning on Jesus in the small obstacles and difficulties as we build up to the larger waves that knock us down. It is the “prayer without ceasing” that builds a habit of praying when we are at the end of ourselves.

*Dignity is synonymous with honor and is earned through small actions and speech that are full of grace and truth. It is cloaked in humility and the fruit of the Spirit that is attractive to be around. A life of honesty and integrity in the small and big experiences and daily decisions.

*“Laughing at the days ahead” is being confident that no matter what may come you can trust the Lord with the outcome–even one of hardship and grief. You are seen by a loving God and never alone, even in the darkest of nights.

*We move through the valleys of hardship and loss and will reach the other side of hope.

As we gathered over Mother’s Day this year, I looked around at the women surrounding me. My mother and mother-in-law are both 85, my aunt is 87, my two daughters (32 and 30) and their children (2 months, 1 year old and age 13), and I realize I’ve received a legacy of strength and dignity. The choice is mine to make whether to stand on the foundation of God’s Word, pray without ceasing, walk in humility, honesty, and integrity–to continue the legacy (or for some to begin the legacy).

Oh, how deceptive and fleeting beauty and charm are. A futile race of time and resources to run. Like my mom, I want to embrace the youngest little one in our family and laugh at the days to come–whatever they might be.

Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father, thank You for showing us how to live life abundantly. You know the ups and downs of life and never leave us but guide us through to the other side. It is because of You that we can laugh at the days to come! In Jesus’s Name, I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Legacy” by Nichole Nordeman. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Joy Beless is a worshipper of God and lover of people. 

A practicing Spiritual Director, she is a speaker for retreats and conferences and facilitates guided solitude retreats at the family ranch in North Texas.

A seasoned worship leader and songwriter, she frequently weaves worship, God’s Word and spiritual practices together. She is a chapel provider for a shelter for the houseless and a certified Grief and Trauma Healing Facilitator. Serving at global retreats for Kingdom-minded women delights her soul.

She has written for Global Trellis and Missio Nexus. She connects God’s Word with the reality of our daily in all the ups and downs.

Joy is married to Roger. They live in Coppell (Texas). Joy is called "JoJo" by her nine adorable grandchildren. She enjoys the outdoors and encourages flowers to grow in the Texas heat.

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