Sunday, May 11, 2014

How Many Mothers Does It Take?

I have been blessed enough to be called "Momma" for 11 years now and as I sat reflecting on all the years leading up to this one and all the years ahead, it struck me just how many "mothers" of my own I have been blessed with on this crazy-wild journey into motherhood. 

My mom - the one with whom I share my flesh and blood - labored me into this world, and I am so thankful for her love and patience with me over the years, but there are so many other women that have loved and labored over me.  Prayed and pleaded, grieved with me and grown me. Given an ear and a shoulder. Today, I want to honor them as well.

Moms like Roni that never bore her own baby child into this world, but loved me as her own.  Checked in on me, encouraged me, always gave the best hugs and the sweetest smile. Was always ready for a laugh or a good long cry. She has loved me well. She is my mother.

Moms like Laurie, with 3 girls of her own that was always okay with me hanging around. She drove me to soccer practice and track meets and basketball & cheered and whistled LOUD even though I was never any any of it.  She was silly and good hearted and giving and patient and would bring me cough medicine and pray with me in the middle of the night when I wasn't feeling well at her house. She was always full of love and a little bit of mischief. She is a living example of what living your life for Christ looks like.  She has loved me well.  She is my mother.

Moms like Brenda, Verna Lee, Kathy, Sue and Susan who mentored me through the birth of my 2 youngest children.  They gave me confidence and assured me that I could do this mothering thing after such a long break. True Titus 2 women that taught me how to love my husband and children - and reassured me it was okay that those things didn't always come easy or naturally.  They were always ready with a smile and a hug and open arms to hold my sweet babies so I could breathe a minute.  They prayed with me through hard times, encouraged me, reminded me that I was not alone - that they had made it through these crazy mothering years and I would too. These ladies were constant and committed to me.  They have loved me well. They are my mothers.

Moms like Mary, who isn't nearly old enough to be my actual mom but loved me like a daughter. She gave me a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on and always gave sound advice. She was honest with me and taught me to love the hardest of truths.  She counseled and consoled me into adulthood and through some of the hardest years of my life. Through abuse and eating disorders and all sorts of ugly, she has loved me well. She is my mother.

Moms like Ora. Moms who are moms and grandmas and the-last-of-her-generation matriarchs.  She was always sweet and just a bit sassy. My daughter bears her name and some of that same temperament.  I loved that she was never too busy or sick - even when she was. She quilted and sewed and painted and loved and lived every minute of her life until the end.  I miss her and I am so thankful she was a part of my life. She loved me well. She is my mother.

Moms like Bonnie, my gracious, kind and loving mother-in-law.  I am not kidding and only slightly bragging when I say I married into the best family ever.  This woman has raised amazing children and given me the gift of my husband, Eric, as the man he is today. She has intentionally loved and guided each of her children to love and follow hard after God. She has embraced me as her daughter and I am blessed by her in my life and the lives of my children.  She is hard working, smart, funny and hospitable.  She blesses me everyday. She has loved me well. She is my mother.

Moms like Marla and Kim that have adopted me as their own. There is no doubt that they love me. They are kind and encouraging - brave and loyal.  I know they are only a phone call or text away at any time. I know I can entrust them with the burdens of my heart and that they will wage war on my behalf at the gates of Heaven.  They have loved me well. They are my mothers.

As I write down these names, I know I could list many more and I am in awe of all the ways that God has blessed me through the years. Some of these women have moved towns, or onto another phase of life or even passed into Heaven, but they have left a lasting impression on my life and the way I approach being a wife and mother.  I pray that I can be that woman for others as I walk out my days and that my daughter is blessed with many, many amazing mothers in her life as well.

I will never be the same for having you in my life and I am so grateful.  So today, I want you to know that I honor you. I cherish the time spent together and all the lessons learned from you. Thank you for giving your time, prayers, energy and love. I count you as my mother and you are treasured.
You have loved me well. I am your daughter.

Happy Mother's Day!
Love, Ashley

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