My daughter recently gave me a picture that was taken many years ago of her and me. If my memory serves me correctly it was Mother’s Day, 1983-84? So long ago, yet only yesterday.
As I ponder the picture and the time, my mind swirls with so many emotions. The emotions written on my face then still unsettle my heart even today as I look at myself looking back at me. Happy, sad, insecure, and yet, thankful. As I look at the young woman and bride that I was, I see someone who thought she simply didn’t seem to measure up on any level. By this time in my five-to-six-year-old marriage, as a wife, I was reminded more than a few times that I simply wasn’t enough. Please understand, no hand was ever raised to bring the point home. The words and actions were enough. Sadness and insecurity were constant companions.
Kneeling beside me in the picture was the center of happiness I experienced each day. My baby girl loved me unconditionally and depended on me for everything. We could laugh and play and all would be right. I remember well a little red wagon she had. On occasions when we had a few extra pennies, she’d get in the wagon and I’d pull her up the street to get ice cream. I love that memory. I hope she remembers it too.
The dress: A few weeks before the picture was taken, I owned one dress and one pair of dress shoes. They were both light brown and boring. But it’s all I had and could afford. I was not allowed to work outside the home and there was little money for extras. So, each week when the gospel group my husband and I were in did a concert, I sang in that brown dress.
One day my mom showed up and asked if I wanted to go look for a new dress for “her.” I was excited about the opportunity! Even though I had no money, my inner—and highly suppressed—Diva still liked to window shop!! Mom and I were about the same size at this time so we both tried on the latest styles to see which ones we liked—for her. At the end of the day she had three new beautiful dresses! When she dropped me off that afternoon she said that she wanted to “share” them with me. She gave me the one in the picture to keep for a bit and then took the others along with her. The plan was then to swap them back and forth!
That’s my mom. Always putting her children before herself. She really didn’t need the dresses, but she knew that I did. To protect my pride she pretended to buy them for herself so that I could have what I needed and WANTED! Of course, they spent much more time in my closet than they did hers. Some thirty-five years later I still look back at that time with tears and smile.
Yes, I still look at the young woman in the picture and ponder, trying to remember everything that was going on in her heart and mind. I know she was very sad and insecure, wondering what the future would hold. At the time, she really didn’t comprehend how much, but, she was loved. Her baby girl loved her and so did her mom and dad. They proved it over and over. Even more than that, her Heavenly Father loved her more than she knew, and still had big plans for her life. Little did she know that He was about to do things ‘far exceedingly and abundantly above all that she could ever ask or think’. (Eph. 3:20)
There still are days when those thoughts and feelings of fear and doubt try to plague the now much older me. But as I look back to where my Lord has brought me from, I can say like David in Psalm 30: 11-12 “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.”