OPELIKA, Ala. (BP)–Mothers. If Webster had given it more thought, surely he would have defined the word “mother” as, “The most dependable source of honesty known to man.”
When it comes to cutting to the chase and telling it like it is, mothers are natural pros. We all know that sometimes truth can hurt, but no one can soften the blow of painful honesty like a mother. When a mother speaks truth, even hurtful truth, there’s an unexplainable sweetness that helps the medicine go down. My mother is no exception. She’s the most caring, compassionate, nurturing being I know. She can speak truth to me that no one else can speak. The same truths fed to me by others and ingested as bitter pills, become spoons full of sugar when served from the sweet heart of my mother. However, there are times when I must brace myself for the brute honesty of the woman who gave birth to me. She is a lady of opinion, and holds nothing back in letting me know exactly what that opinion is.
For example, Mother always “fusses” over my white socks. Now, you have to understand, I love my white socks. I wear them inside the house to cook, clean, eat and relax. I wear them outside the house to check the mailbox, sign for UPS packages and walk the dog. I’m not ashamed to wear them to entertain guests for dinner, and I always wear them to bed. I wear them to work on my computer, home school my children, and talk on the phone. They’re familiar, comfortable, cozy, and as the most treasured part of my wardrobe, I never leave home without them. After all, as ankle length sports socks they are concealed easily by long pants and boots. I mean, really, if you can’t actually see my white socks, what difference does it make if they don’t match my clothes? Well, let me tell you, to Mother it makes a difference.
While modeling a potentially new outfit in a department store dressing room, she’ll raise one eyebrow and announce, “I don’t know how you can tell anything about that outfit with those white socks on!” If she’s traveling with me to a speaking engagement, she’ll complain, “I can’t believe you are going to stand on stage in front of all those people, wearing those tacky white socks under your pretty black dress!” “What difference does it make, Mama? It’s not like anyone knows they’re there,” I’ll argue. “Well, I know they’re there,” she’ll reply followed by what I affectionately refer to as the look.
I once made the mistake of wearing brand new boots during a three hour speaking engagement. By the middle of session three, I was in major pain and could hardly walk away from the podium to make my points. The pain became so intense, that comfort finally became more important than fashion. I paused in the middle of a story, proceeded to remove my sources of torture, and begged the audience, “If y’all happen to bump into my mama, please don’t tell her about my white socks.”
If there’s one thing you can count on with mothers, it’s honesty. I had the privilege of being a featured guest on CBN’s nationally syndicated television show, “The 700 Club”. In spite of my vain requests for the camera crew to film from my right side (my “good” side), they allowed the host to have first dibs on preferred camera angles. Turns out, we both have only one good side, which unfortunately for me, was the right. While the lovely host spoke into the camera zoomed in on the flawless right side of her face, I had to swallow the shame of allowing millions of people to view a close-up of my most self-despised and hideously ugly feature; my pea-sized baby tooth. Yes, I have a thirty-seven- year-old baby tooth. It’s right up front, and believe me, it’s not a pretty site.
The show was scheduled to air three times on the same day. Because I needed to assist my children with schoolwork, I planned on skipping the morning show and catching the afternoon show at my parent’s house. Mother was too excited to wait (she really is my biggest cheerleader), so she eagerly tuned in to the first broadcast without me. When the phone rang later that morning and caller ID revealed it was her, I grinned with anticipation. “Hello” I answered, anxious to hear “You did great, sweetheart!” or “It couldn’t have gone any better!” Instead, I got, “You really need to get that baby tooth fixed.” Certainly, she bragged as only a mother can brag, but she threw in that motherly honesty as well.
Mothers — you’ve gotta love ‘em. This dear woman has loved you through it all. She hugged you goodbye on your first day of school and cried as she drove away. She cooked your favorite dinner when you came home sad and let you put the sprinkles on the cookies. She listened to your hopes and dreams even when they were painfully silly, nursed you back to health when you were sick, and tucked you into bed at night. She kissed away the boo-boos and washed away the tears. She cheered at your games, laughed at your jokes, prayed over your struggles, cried over your hurts, and gave much of her life for you.
Who makes us feel better when we’ve blow it? Who offers encouraging reassurance when we’ve made complete fools of ourselves? Whose tender hug alone brings comfort when life throws an unexpected curve? Who makes things right for us when it’s in her power to do so? Her motive: to make every effort at affording her child the very best in life. There is nothing like a mother’s love for her child. Well, almost nothing.
As much as our mothers love us, there is another who loves us more. Not only does Jesus Christ adore us, reassure us, comfort us and pierce our hearts with truth, but He actually died for us. His goes beyond the nurturing affection of a mother, expressing unconditional love too pure and too powerful for comprehension. He literally sacrificed Himself on Calvary’s cruel cross in order that we might live abundant lives on earth and bask in the glory of eternity. He wants the very best for His children, and He stopped at nothing, even death, to give it to us. His eyes see through our attempts at doing good and looking good, past our darkest secrets, and into the deepest parts of our souls. He cuts through the chase of our sins, both hidden and seen, and makes things right with His own blood. His is a love that affords what a mother’s cannot — Eternal Life.
Ginger Plowman, author of “Don’t Make Me Count to Three” and “Heaven at Home (July 2006), speaks at women’s events and parenting conferences across the country. Visit her website at www.gingerplowman.com