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Lessons from MY Superwoman

August 8, 2016

I haven’t written anything lately simply because I’ve been in a funk. My beautiful Mother celebrated her 60th birthday on July 4, 2016 and exactly one week later on July 11, 2016 she slipped into eternal rest. We said our “see you later” on July 26, 2016 in a celebration of her life and I’m just attempting to figure out what my “new normal” is with my constant, my Superwoman, my Mother. My heart has been broken in places I didn’t know existed, but in this season of extreme grief I will hold on to God’s unchanging hand! So as I was looking over all the cards and things that I’ve gotten since the funeral, I came across the reflection I wrote about her and wanted to share:

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Lessons from a Superwoman
·        The difference between religion and relationship: Though my Mom used to drag us to church when we were younger, the older I got the more she stopped going. At first I didn’t like the idea of my Mom not going to church because of the values she instilled in us. But it was during one of my visits home while I was in college that I saw my Mom’s brown bible on her nightstand where she usually kept it opened up to Romans 8…she always kept her Bible opened up to Romans 8 (that was her favorite scripture, in addition to the 23rd Psalm). Out of curiosity, I asked her why she would read the Bible but not go to church. I remember her response as if it was yesterday. She said to me “Going to a building does not negate my relationship with God”. I held on to that because she understood John 14:6 that reminds us that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, and that one can come to the Father except through Him and taught me that though I loved going to church, I had to have the church in me first and foremost. My Mom had a very intimate relationship with God and one that was rooted in prayer. This lesson taught me to cultivate my relationship with God and everything else would fall into place.  
·        The difference between tolerating and loving: Because of this relationship, she knew the difference between tolerating someone and loving someone. There was one time during the Christmas holiday when she was in the kitchen baking up a storm. I mean decorated sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, pound cakes, strawberry short cakes and even pie. My chunky and greedy-self attempted to swipe a chocolate chip cookie, and she popped my hand with the spoon she was using. Come to find out she was baking for a friend/co-worker and her family. I asked her why she couldn’t just go to the store and buy some cookies and leave the homemade ones for us (namely me) since she didn’t have a lot of money. She told me that it’s not always good enough to tell people you love them and care, you have to show them. My Mom had a heart of pure gold and would give you the shirt off her back. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Mommy was still her sassy and no-nonsense self, but even in sickness, she wouldn’t hesitate to ask us what we needed or to make sure we knew we were thought about on our ­­–birthdays. She genuinely loved and cared about people. This is a lesson that I have taken to heart. We all tend to merely tolerate the people in our lives because they are there, but to truly love those we have been blessed with demands us to be selfless and requires sacrifice. She lived out 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a – “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.” No, it doesn’t.
·        The difference between knowledge and wisdom: It was a joke, but truthfully something I wanted to see happen, where she had her own website called “Ask Pam” because anyone that knew my Mom knows that she knew a lot about everything. She gave teachers, lawyers, doctors and politicians a run for their money, and was always a salesperson’s worst nightmare. You would think she had about 10 degrees, because if she didn’t know the answer she would find it for you. My Mom taught me how to bake my first pound cake and I started selling them in middle school (I guess you can also add entrepreneurship to the list of lessons as well). Orders started pouring in and it was overwhelming to say the least, yet I kept baking and was delighted that I was good enough at something that someone actually wanted to spend money on it. It wasn’t until I dropped a cake after fulfilling a heavy order that the lesson of knowledge versus wisdom applied. I cried and felt like a complete failure. After cleaning up my mess, she simply said “Shanah, sometimes you have to recognize when enough is enough”. In essence, wisdom is applied knowledge. As for us, we know when enough is enough, or when we need to speak up, sit down, go forth, hold back, make changes, change ourselves and so forth and so on, but just knowing is not enough without the discernment to judge how to move forward. That is one of the most invaluable lessons my Mom taught me, for Proverbs 4:6a says “Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you”. This experience protected me from severing possible business relationships due to my lack of enthusiasm, or stressing myself out due to the demand. To this very day, I hang on to this lesson and make sure that I move when enough is enough.
·        The difference between giving up and giving in: In the whole 6 years of my Mom’s sickness, she cried one time. We were in one of her physical therapy appointments and she couldn’t lift her arm. She cried and that broke my heart because my Mom has always been the strongest person I know (and she has been through extreme adversities). So I sat next to her, and Joi wiped her tears and we reminded her that we will get through this together. She fought hard and never gave up, but she gave in to the harsh reality that her body wasn’t going to cooperate like she wanted it to many times and allowed those around her to assist her along the journey. She never gave up even after she had to have both legs amputated, but she gave in to the reality that there was a new normal and she tackled each day with a new enthusiasm.  No, she didn’t give up and never complained; she let God do what God does and be her strength, for 2 Corinthians 2:9 says But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” His power surely rested on her.
·        The difference between existing and living: I gained a newfound respect and a different level of strength while witnessing my Mom over the last 6 years. She didn’t allow her state to keep her from enjoying life. She still ate her Popeye’s chicken (which consisted of 2 piece, mild, dark meat with red beans and rice, a biscuit with honey and a Pepsi), she still watched the Young and the Restless without missing a beat, she still went outside to breathe fresh air when she was able, she still offered up her beautiful smile and always carried on a conversation with those she was around. Truthfully she had every reason to be depressed and stay psychologically confined to the 4 walls that enclosed her, but she chose to live and taught me and all of us that life is indeed too short to allow situations and circumstances to keep us from enjoying this gift that was given to us. John 10:10 reminds us that the thief comes to steal, to kill and to destroy, but Jesus came that we may have life and have it more abundantly. The thief came to steal her passion, kill her purpose and destroy her legacy, but because she chose to live instead of exist, the thief had no choice but to flee.
·        The difference between being prepared and being ready: Ever since I received the first phone call in September of 2010, my mind started preparing for the inevitable, but as anyone can imagine, my heart was not ready. I was unemployed a half of the time that she was sick, and battled my own health issues in the midst of it, but her fight with Multiple Sclerosis gave me the strength to keep on keeping on to be with her every step of the way. For 6 years I grieved a part of her because we went from talking every day, to once a week, to only when someone was there to call me so that I can talk to her, to only being able to talk to her when I saw her. Her health declined to the point conversations had to be had, decisions needed to be made and truth needed to be given. I prepared for the day that I would get that phone call and when I did, I still wasn’t ready. The thing is though, my Mom was. She was ready because she knew who she was and Whose she was. She was ready because she knew she would be joined once again with other loved ones in Heaven that she longed for. She was ready because she knew that though she wanted to be healed physically, her ultimate healing was in eternity where her body would be made whole. She was ready because she knew that the Lord was her Shepherd and that she lacked nothing. I’m not sad because she is gone, I’m sad because she is not here, but there’s a quote that I heard a long time ago that applies to our celebration here today. It says “I don’t stop when I’m tired, I stop when I’m done”. Lord knows, I miss my Mom so much, but I’m grateful for the lessons she taught me and it is clear that her work here was done. Rest in peace beautiful one, my Mommy, The Original Diva, my Superwoman, I love you to life.
Your Daughter,
Raushanah

 

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