Friday, May 18, 2007

Amazing Grace

As I look back at my blog entries, it seems that I have portrayed my life before moving to Minnesota as less then attractive. My life in my mother's home was a struggle, yet as I look back on it now, I know that God has used all those tough and sometimes painful situations to make me more sensitive to those with the same struggles.

I wanted to take some time to thank my mom for the things that she did right and praise God for reaching down to us and saving us. Maybe we (my family) have been fighting many generations of sin, I don't know that - the Lord took my grandmother home when I was in high school - she was young, in her late 50's. My grandmother came into a serious relationship with Jesus in the last years of her life in a hospital bed. Who knows, maybe this is what she needed to find salvation - to be forced to be still without alcohol or cigarettes. She became devoted - having hours and hours of time to fill sitting in a hospital surviving on a respirator.

My Grandmother was not perfect. In fact, we joke in our house that she was married 7 times, twice to the same man, and would always have a clean pair of underwear and a toothbrush in her purse, because who knew where she would wake up in the morning. This was my heritage. So, I often consider it a miracle that I came to Christ at all. Then I step back and think that this was the kind of life that my mother had to live. It was so unstable - different men coming and going - digging for money to buy some food for dinner. How could my young 16 year old mom even have the skills to raise a kids and have a successful marriage? She really wasn't prepared.

With all this as background, this is what my mother did accomplish regardless of the tools that she started with.

My mother is faithful to her man. My parents did not divorce because of infidelity or even money problems (though we have always been poor). From what I can decipher, my mom wanted to go back to school. My dad wanted her to stay at home. So, my mom went to work instead. My dad was very jealous of anyone that even looked at my mom - I get my flirtatiousness naturally. It seems to me that he walked out on her because he didn't trust her. I think he was wrong. (I am an adult - I think I can say that now).

My mother has a great work ethic. She has worked very hard to provide for my siblings and I without asking the "government" for help. We didn't always have the best clothes, but we had clothes. We lived in some questionable rented housing, but we were never homeless. I learned how to work hard and pull my weight from my mother. I learned independence (this can be a bad thing sometimes too.)

My mother stressed the importance of education. She always had a desire to go back to school and be a lawyer or paralegal. She is intelligent and loves to learn. Our house was always full of books. The library was our favorite place to go. It was free and the knowledge was there for the taking. My mother and grandmother's thought was that if you can read you can learn to do anything - quilt, design landscapes, build a deck (I have used library books to learn how to do all these things). I have greatly benefited from her love of learning by going to college. I never would have gone without believing that it was valuable.

So, yes, I am thankful for growing up the way I did. I am thankful that the heritage that I can pass down will include Jesus as the center. It is His amazing grace that saved my grandmother, mom and myself from much worse fates. May His name be praised for further generations.

Thanks for reading.