While preparing for Sunday school last week, I read about the influence Timothy’s grandmother and mother had on his faith (2 Tim 1:5). The verse got me thinking about the way mothers impact their children’s lives, which led me to ponder the many wonderful lessons my own mom has imparted to me. As I thought about those lessons further, I realized they would benefit anyone. So, I decided to share them here 🙂

IALAC or I Am Lovable and Capable

My family jokes my mom is the original pioneer woman. We know she could have built the log cabin, planted the field, and killed the bear had she been born in the era of westward expansion. But In her time, embodying that kind of capable woman meant holding down the fort while my father served in two wars, while my father went on countless assignments out of the country, and through his many illnesses and cancers.

My mother taught us the same attitude throughout our lives. No matter what obstacle appeared before my siblings and I, Mom would smile and say, “IALAC.” This one term bolstered us and reminded us of our own inner abilities. It is this attitude that keeps me pushing forward when anxiety tries to slow me down. It is this attitude that kept me pursuing publication despite the many rejections inherent in the process.

Sorella shares her favorite story about Mom exemplifying IALAC. “I was an active, athletic girl. I had participated in gymnastics, but wanted something else. This particular season the [army] base offered basketball or cheer. At that time, cheering was not the elite, competitive sport it is now. Mom took me to sign up for basketball, but was told it was for boys only. The coach said I could cheer. Mom responded, ‘My daughter is not going to cheer for someone else’s accomplishments.’ She went on to say that Title IX had been signed in the states and the base, though in a foreign country, was the United States. She didn’t raise her voice. But stared him down with determined firmness. She wasn’t going to let him intimidate her. I did play but had a habit of fouling out. I guess I was a little too aggressive. Those boys didn’t know what hit them.”

Everyone should Feel Welcome and Wanted

Most people think of hospitality as hosting a perfect party. When the Bible talks about hospitality (Rom 12:13), the word means much more. Christian hospitality means making sure everyone feels comfortable. Christian hospitality means treating each person with the same regard. Christian hospitality means opening your home and arms to all people despite their circumstances.

Mom lived this philosophy. My sibling’s and my friends tended to hang out at our house because Mom made them feel welcomed. If a friend spent Christmas with us, there were presents for them under the tree. With my mom, there was always room for one more at the kitchen table. One year, one of Sorella’s friends even lived with us while her family struggled. My siblings and I have carried this mindset into our adult lives, welcoming people into our homes and lives.

Spread the Wealth

Christian hospitality tends to go hand-in-hand with generosity. It certainly does with my mom. As far back as I can remember, she’s included us in blessing others. Buying gifts for the Salvation Army Angel was a family affair–she took us with her to select gifts and clothes for these children. I helped her distribute gifts to the elderly in the apartment building she managed. I observed her helping people with their bills. From her I learned to bless others just as God has blessed me. I also learned generosity extends beyond money to my time and resources.

I’m thankful for a mother who showed me to love myself and others. The lessons were formative in my adulthood and Christian walk. But these ideas aren’t just for my siblings and me, anyone can benefit from my mom’s life lessons.

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