Saturday we celebrated my Mother-in-Law's 95th Birthday. A milestone many of us will never see. As we gathered around to enjoy her life, I couldn't help but compare her walk on this earth with mine. Appreciating the fact that God had given her to me as an example, not just a relative, shows that I too have grown in my walk on this earth.
She wouldn't win the most children award....she had two children 13 years apart. She didn't understand how full my arms could be while raising four under age 7, but she always encouraged with "don't work too hard." She excitedly welcomed our announcement at ages 52 and 44 that we were having our sixth child.
She raised two children who have always walked with the Lord and set shining examples of Christ before their children and grandchildren.
She lived a debt-free life...yes, DEBT-FREE. She and her husband paid cash for every purchase they made...even two houses, while living on one income. He didn't possess a high paying job, nor did they inherit money, but they knew the value of being content.
Because of this debt-free life, they did and she still does help financially with her children and grandchildren. The scripture talks about this kind of inheritance...I have seen it first hand.
She didn't home school.
She didn't have home births....
yet, she supported me when I chose to do both with her grandchildren. She did threaten to have an ambulance parked outside my house on our first home birth....and she was disappointed that none of our children played in the high school band. She, however, become one of my greatest supporters.
She never lived life with full-time stress, as has become the norm for most people today. Simplicity was her mantra or maybe just pure contentment with nothing to prove to others....something can be learned from that.
She walked the journey of seeing her husband's face blown apart through an accident...standing by his side through numerous surgeries and then loving him tenderly through Alzheimer's disease. I still remember him chasing her down the hall with a love pat and they were in their 80's.
She calls everyday and keeps up with everyone. You can ask at anytime how her family is and she can tell you in great detail what is happening in each of their lives. She also prays for us daily and will call with a Bible verse to encourage us in our Christian walk.
She has never missed one of her grandchildren's events, even though we moved four hours away 12 years ago. She will still make the journey to support and cheer every accomplishment. Birthdays are still remembered and cherished, as each child receives their annual gift, arriving just on the day of their birth.
She is independent and has lived on her own since her husband's passing to glory 15 years ago. He would be so proud of her.
She continues to walk out her faith. She will still invite the newest neighbor to church, while attending herself. Her large print Bible is continuously open and read.
Her world has been very different from mine (mine not necessarily better) but in the most valuable lessons in life, she has spoken well. Her priorities are her God and her family. The world never crept in and stolen from either of these priorities.
I salute my mother-in-law. She has taught me more than I can read in a book just through the way she has chosen to live her life. Isn't that the real answer....chosen? I am sure my appreciation has only come through the many years of marriage, but I am glad I have learned.
This past Mother's Day, it was she who called to tell me what a wonderful mother I was and how proud she was of me..................and she loved me. What more could I ask from my mother-in-law who set the example before me?