Friday, March 28, 2014

Lessons I Have Learned From My Mother

I asked Hal to bring me my old journals on his most recent visit to DC. The other night I went through them looking at old things I had stuck in there to remember. I found this package, this amazing package. My senior year of high school my seminary (a religious class you could take as an elective) asked each of our parents to write letters to us of their testimonies about our church and what they hoped to see from each of us by the time we were 21. Those letters with other things we wrote in his class were mailed out to us on our 21st birthdays.

This is the last paragraph from my mother's letter to me.

"I knew you were born to our family for a special purpose, it could be for many purposes. I have had a wonderful time seeing you grow to be this age; I will have a wonderful time seeing you grow more."
My mother never made it to my 21st birthday. She passed away when I was only 19.

Reading this letter from her for the first time in 5 years was like reading it for the first time again. Reading her words of wisdom to my 21 year old self made me realize some of the things I have learned from my mother; so I thought I would share some of the lessons I have learned from my mother, and how her example is still teaching me today.

To Love People.
"If you don't remember anything else, remember that your dad and I love you with a love that you will not fully appreciate until you have your own children. We want all that is the best for you. We will be here for you no matter what, you can come and talk to us about anything and it will be OK. We will support you in anything that you do." 
This was my favorite part of the letter because I know it is true. My mother had a kind heart, and her children didn't always make the choices she hoped they would make, but each of us know that our parents loved us unconditionally no matter our choices. Granted, we knew her values and what she wanted for us, but we still knew she loved us no matter what.

This is something I really value that my parents taught me. People are people. People make mistakes, people need love, and to know that others are going to be there for them, loving them no matter what.

To Have Useful Skills, and to Work Hard.
"I hope you chose a degree you can use in your home, something that you can "keep up" on after you are married. It is important in this world to have a backup. You just never know when you might need to not only bring some money into the home, but if need be, you could support your family."

There were definitely times growing up that both of my parents worked, and times that each of my parents solely supported our family. My mom was the hardest worker of anyone I have ever met in my entire life. While my degree was not the most useful, gaining an education was. And I think my mom would be proud of the fact that I have supported Hal and I the last two years while he finishes school.

To Listen to Promptings / Intuition.
"It is easy to want something so badly that we pray for that thing and we push all the prompting away. Be prepared to receive direction in an area you had not thought of, or hear advice you don't want to hear. Having the courage and openness to receive and act on these directions will make a huge difference in your life"

Oh boy did my mom ever know this was something that I constantly struggle with. It is so easy to get so focused on what I want to happen that I completely miss the road I should have taken.
To Take Care of My Body
"I hope that you have learned to eat healthily and to get at lease some exercise. In the coming years, you will need that good foundation for your bones and general health. You will need it for work, home, and maybe even motherhood."

This is definitely advice that I took me a long time to listen to. Just because I was naturally thin I thought I could eat and do whatever I wanted. Only recently have I started to pay attention to what I put into my body, and how my body responds when I exercise regularly, and the value in doing both together. It makes for a happier mind and body.

Never Sacrifice Your Values.
"No matter how much you like or love someone, it is better to walk away and have the pain of loss than it is to sacrifice your values."

I glad this is something my mother taught me. The person I was dating when she wrote me this letter is not who she wanted me to end up with. I am so glad I did not sacrifice my values and was able to find someone amazing in the end.

To Gain a Testimony of God and Never Let It Go.
"Being true to the testimony that I received has brought me such peace and had helped me through some unbelievable hard times. I didn't have to re-decide with each day or with any given situation."

This is probably the best advice a mother can give a daughter. Gain a testimony of God, and never let it go, and then you always have it with you and never have to question it. This can be used with any type of faith. It can be used for establishing morals and values, and even just having faith in who you are as a person.
My mother was a beautiful person inside and out. Both of my parents taught me so many values that have led me to make big decisions and have led me to become the person that I am today. Even though my mother is no longer around every day to share her advice and lessons, they still live on in each of her children and how we live our lives, and the stories that we share with each other about our parents and how lucky we were to always know that our parents loved each other, and us unconditionally. 


Tanika Rice said...

I got so many goosebumps while reading this and I started to cry. <3 <3 <3 Beautiful words form a beautiful woman. <3

Torrie said...

What an inspiring post. Thank you for sharing something so personal! This is beautiful.

Autumn said...

This gave me goosebumps and I might have teared up a little bit. What an inspired seminary teacher! I can't imagine not having one of my parents, but I am so happy you have this letter to give you advice throughout your life.

Michelle said...

Thank you, Sam, for sharing your mom and her wonderful advice with all of us! I appreciated your thoughts and responses and insights as well.

Angela said...

That is so special that you have that piece of your mother to read... she sounds like a very wise woman.

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