Sunday, December 2, 2012

Outer and Inner Beauty...

Part 2: Inner Beauty...

My mother was full of inner beauty too.
She was loyal to her family and friends, often giving of herself to a fault.
She was there for her friends when they needed her, whether helping serve a ladies tea or taking care of a friend after their surgery.

When my four daughters were young, my mother was very involved in their lives.  She freely babysat them, taught them how to sew, paint, crochet, knit and bought them clothes and toys.

She hated knowing they'd grow up one day.  
She grieved when I left home.  
She grieved as each of them left my home.

As a child my mother was painfully shy.  She had stark, white hair and was called "cotton top" by her school mates.  When she had to talk in class, she turned bright red, again becoming a target for ridicule.  Her teachers often  compared her to her older sister who was very smart, pretty and out going.  She had a younger brother who got attention because he was the boy.

My mother hated school and just barely got through.

(Front row: 2nd from the left)

Education was never important to her, only things of God.

Being raised in a strict Pentecostal church, she was very sheltered.   

Her parents were hardworking, strict, practical and no-nonsense. Her father was a sheet metal worker and her mother worked for Sears after her children were in school.

Both of her parents had grown up without their parents.

Her mother could not say, "I love you." 

My mother and her sister were very close, even sharing the same bed until the day her sister married.

 My mother grieved this loss acutely.  
My mother did not like change.  

My mother was told she was beautiful often by those around her.  Growing up in a small college town, she was chased by the college boys when she reached high school age.

One day, when she was 20, her father declared, 
"You will not bring an illegitimate child into my home!" 
"You will marry him." 
She obeyed. 

Despite their weaknesses, my mother felt her childhood was wonderful.  Her parents took them camping and fishing.  They permitted she and her sister to wear pants or cu-lots (shorts) and let them climb trees which was against their church community rules. Always industrious with little money, they grew vegetables in the summer and canned them. 

My mother cut her own hair, made her own clothes and never followed the trend of what everyone else was doing.

She loved pretending fairies were real and picking her way through the snow in dainty high heels.

My mother had an intense sense of justice and right and wrong.  
She was ALWAYS for the underdog.

She often said about life, "It shouldn't be that way."  
But it was.

In her later years, she would pick up hitchhikers and tell them about God.  She never feared for her safety.   "I pray first and obey the Spirit" she'd say.

My mother regularly felt the pain of others profoundly and sometimes in a real physical sense.

More than once, she told me her true self was deep inside peeking out through her blue eyes.

She felt no one really SAW her. 
I believe she didn't allow herself to be known.
My mother loved God with all her heart and was a true prayer warrior.  In her later years, she spent hours in  prayer walking around her house, praying out loud, shouting, jumping and proclaiming God.

She hated weak prayers.  For her, yelling and shouting and claiming your prayers was what it took.

The louder the better.  
The same with praises.

My mother loved Jesus, the miracle worker Jesus.  
She had no tolerance for the suffering Jesus.

She hated sports crowds cheering for their team.  
"We should be cheering like that for God", she'd say.

As my mother aged, she began cutting people out of her life.  Her sister, her brother, her friends. They had all "hurt her" at one time or another, so she didn't want to spend time with them anymore.  She did, however; stay close to her parents until their deaths and somewhat close to my mother in-law.

She spent less and less time with me and my family.

She stayed home, dressed in her bathrobe watching what she called "her preachers" on TV or the internet.  She lost all interest in sewing, home decorating, gardening, oil and watercolor painting, crocheting and cooking.

Once, genuinely gifted in those areas, none of it mattered to her anymore.

My mother was generous with her money.  She was an impulsive shopper too, buying things for me or her grandchildren on a whim.  

She was generous with her money until her death.

She flew her California granddaughter and her two sons and a daughter-in-law home when she was on hospice.

My mother was beautiful...inside and out...

"Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.  The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear of God."
Proverbs 31:30

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