Tag Archives: Mom

Mama Tiger

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The following is an excerpt from Girls with Gusto, a book I am writing for young women. I always think of the image of the mother tiger with the baby piglets around Mother’s Day. I hope you appreciate it, too. Happy Mother’s Day!

MamaTiger

Tiger with her baby piglet. (Photo obtained online, courtesy of the zoo in Thailand.)

Fear

I’ve always struggled with the idea of fear as it’s shown in the Bible. Over and over, Scriptures tell us not to fear, whether it’s the future; an individual; groups of people; or strange, miraculous events. But then the Bible commands us to fear God (see Joshua 24:14 and Proverbs 3:7). In fact, there are warnings throughout the Bible for those who don’t fear God (see Exodus 9:30, Jeremiah 5:22, and Malachi 3:5).

If God is love (see 1 John 4:16), why should we fear Him?

 

Mama Tiger

Strangely enough, I found my answer in a story about a tiger…and a litter of piglets.

I once read of a zoo in Thailand that would coax tigers to suckle piglets. (Don’t ask me why.) I’ve seen the pictures of one of the tigers, all teeth and claws, loving on her adopted babies, oblivious to the fact that they had curly tails and flat snouts and made grunting noises instead of mews. The piglets were also oblivious to the difference, and climbed all over the tiger without a care in the world. To be sure, that tigress was a dangerous creature…but not to the ones she called her own. To them, she was a protector, provider, and source of love and comfort. She was Mama.

 

God

That’s how I envision our relationship with God. When we first come face to face with Him, our sin makes us feel exposed and vulnerable—like a defenseless piglet in the tiger’s den. We’re afraid of God because He is righteous and can execute judgment against us. We have the urge to run the other way, with our curly tails between our legs. Thankfully, the Spirit speaks to us in loving tones, encouraging us to trust in God. If we do, He forgives us and accepts us as His own.

Once we belong to God, we no longer have to be afraid of His judgment. We can rest securely between His teeth and claws and know that He will use them to protect us and provide for us, and nothing can separate us from Him (see Romans 8:38-39). There is no greater safety or calmer peace than in God’s presence.

 

Believe and Obey

But, like any good parent, God has given us rules for our own good. When we fail to be obedient, there are consequences. He still loves us, but we have to learn from Him so we can mature in our faith and take the next step in our journey.

Moses said it this way: “You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.” (Deuteronomy 13:4) When we fear God, we cling to Him with loving obedience. This is the opposite of being afraid of something and running away from it (like I run from spiders).

The statement, “Fear the Lord your God,” means two things:

  • Believe in God—that He exists and His Word is true (see 2 Timothy 3:16-17); and
  • Obey God—that we should accept Him into our hearts and follow His commands daily (see Deuteronomy 13:4).

This is why the Bible says that we are to fear only God (see Deuteronomy 6:13 and 1 Samuel 12:24). He is the only one worthy of such honor.

If we will believe in God and obey Him, we will have the same peace and security as those little piglets snuggled up warm and safe in the arms of the tiger.

 

Encouragement

Doesn’t God care for you, nurture you, and love on you? Isn’t He every bit as attentive and protective as a new mother? As you celebrate Mother’s Day, I encourage you to think about the “mothering” role God has in your spiritual life.

What is a mother?

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Guest blog by Ashley’s sister, Madeline.


Ashley took this photo of a buckeye butterfly in 2009.

Ashley took this photo of a buckeye butterfly in 2009.

What is a mother? Someone who cooks for you? Cleans up after you? My mom is so much more. She’s a confidant and she’s my best friend. She gives me the best advice and has taught me to be a strong warrior and champion for Jesus.

My first memory of Mom is from when I was around two years old. I was waiting for my sister to get off the school bus, and Mama was playing with me and giggling and giving me snacks. Little did I know the important role Mama would have on my life.

When I was 13, I noticed how my friends looked up to her and how she was always there for them if they needed anything. She would continue to be a mama to so many of my friends over the years.

When I was 17 years old, I came home past my curfew one night. She chewed me out and let me know that I was the kid, that I had rules, and I’d better obey them. She knew when to be my parent and when to be my friend. Little did I know, I would need her to be both throughout my life.

When I was 18 years old, I went through a breakup with my first love and numerous lies were spread about me. Mama continued to tell me that it didn’t matter what people said, that my people knew me and my life would speak for itself. Little did I know how much her advice would mean to me and how her courage would rub off on me.

When I was 19 years old, I was hospitalized with a serious illness. It took over two years for me to get well. Mama was there with me every day, fighting with doctors and nurses, praying for me, taking care of me. She took my pain on her shoulders and helped me through that terrible time. Little did I know how strong and fearless Mama could be, and how much I would need her during this time.

When I got engaged and married to my favorite nugget of a Cajun husband when I was a young 22 years old, she supported me. I only wanted 20 people there at my wedding, but I knew some people might hate my guts for not including them. Mama encouraged me to do it my way – It was my day! Little did I know that, even in good times, I would need Mama to be my champion.

These are just examples of how Mama has been there for me, supporting me, encouraging me, and keeping me on the straight and narrow. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know that Mama will be in my corner every single day of my life. That’s what a mother is. And I don’t know what I’d do without mine!

My Ups and Downs with Mom

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May is the month for mothers. For some, this is a happy time; for others, this a time of sorrow, grief, or regret. I am so blessed to have a great mom who is still here, a mom with whom I can spend quality time. If you’re not that fortunate, it’s OK – I’ll share my mom with you.


My Ups and Downs with Mom

The other day, I was thinking about what Mom was like when I was younger, and one particular photo came to mind. It was taken at some banquet I attended in middle school. I don’t remember what the banquet was for, only that I received a certificate. Family members were encouraged to come, so my mother and grandfather came to support me.

In the picture, I’m sitting across from them at the table. I look excited, smiling in my pretty floral dress we bought just for this occasion. Papa looks very nice in slacks and a polo shirt. Mom, on the other hand, is still wearing the button-down dress shirt and khakis that made up her uniform for her job at the doctor’s office. Now, my mom is a very pretty lady, and she always looks immaculate and put-together, but she doesn’t look particularly great in this photo. In fact, she looks really worn out. And with good reason.

I now realize that Mom worked over 45 minutes away from the restaurant where the banquet was held. She probably had to leave work early; she definitely had to race to the restaurant in rush-hour traffic; and she sure didn’t have time to run home and get dolled up for a banquet. As an adult, I am also painfully aware that smiling through two hours of teacher-parent conversations in the back room of a Ryan’s Steakhouse had to have been complete and utter torture, especially after a long day’s work. But she was there – for me.

Mama Panda with Baby Bear (Photo by Ashley Jones from Atlanta Zoo)

Mama Panda with Baby Bear (Photo by Ashley Jones from Atlanta Zoo)

That’s why I love that photo, because it’s a reminder of all the things Mom has done for my siblings and me. I was thinking about this and all the other times that Mom put us kids first. I started to make a list, and I noticed they all included the word “up”:

  • She stayed up with us when we were sick.
  • She cleaned up after us constantly.
  • She stepped up when grown-up decisions had to be made, allowing us to just be kids.
  • She manned up when it was time to get to work, put food on the table, or kill spiders that frightened us (even though she was really terrified of them).
  • She paid up for all those things we just had to have, from clothes to school trips.
  • She dressed up for everything, teaching us girls the value of modesty and gracefulness.
  • She prayed up every day, asking for God’s guidance and protection.
  • She showed up when we needed her – every time, no matter what.
  • She got worked up when we were wronged.
  • She stood up for us when we needed someone on our side.
  • When one of us messed up, we always found a way to make up.
  • But even when we were bad, and she had plenty of reason to, she never gave up on us.

This is why I look up to her – because she’s always been such a great mom.

Now that I’m older, though, things are a bit different. Now, I appreciate it when we sit down…for a meal, a movie, or a laugh. It’s because of these sweet moments together that I think of Mom as more than just a great parent; I appreciate her as my friend.

Life is full of winding roads, and we never know where it will take us. However, if you are fortunate enough to have a mom like this in your life, she’ll be with you through those “ups” and “downs.”

(Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!)