From the inside out

Prov 31 30 1440x900

We often fail as parents. Although we love our children dearly, the truth is, we aren’t perfect. We make mistakes.  Since I’m older and one of the reasons I blog is to share something that might inspire, encourage or teach someone, I thought I’d share one of my failures.

One of the areas I missed the mark on was in putting too much emphasis on outer appearance.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I realize we want them to bathe, brush their teeth and look and smell at least somewhat approachable. This can be a feat in itself in those elementary years.

But, I was overly concerned with appearance. I didn’t realize I was doing this because I was verbalizing all the right things. Beauty is as beauty does, God looks upon the heart; out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks and what’s inside is what truly matters.

Here’s the quagmire……

While I was telling them all the right things, my actions were betraying my words. You see, I was standing in front of the mirror (in their presence because how often does a mom ever get alone time in the bathroom), saying, “Do I look fat in this?” while pointing out all of my imperfections. Effectively telling them one thing and showing them another.

Thankfully, by the help and grace of God, and the words of a very wise woman I stumbled upon on the radio one day, I realized this and began to concentrate more fully on the inside and kept my own insecurities to myself (for the most part, not always). Obviously, the reason I had struggled with this, was because it was also a personal struggle.

Although I do want to look nice and be healthy, my life no longer revolves around that. I have learned that I have a purpose in this life and it isn’t just to look pretty.

Concentrate on becoming the woman that God created you to be. If you are loving, kind and gracious, it will shine from the inside out. We’re all beautiful, in many different ways, but we are all also aging every moment. Beauty is indeed, fleeting. People will remember you, for WHO you were to them, not what you looked like.

Personally, I find myself praying for the ability to accept aging gracefully, to acknowledge that for every wrinkle, there are even more beautiful memories and experiences!

There is nothing wrong with taking care of ourselves and looking our best, but we can’t make this our God. It can’t become an obsession. I share this in case there are other mothers who can benefit from it, or girls or women who need to be reminded that they matter; their talents, their gifts and all of the wonderful things they bring to the lives of those around them.

If I should die before I wake


If I died tomorrow, what would people to say about me?

I think it’s helpful sometimes to think of your life this way.  My parents, my kids, my friends, those who don’t even know me well, the ones I meet at the grocery store, on the plane, at the sports event.  How would they remember me, what words would they use to describe me?   How was I perceived?  How did I treat people on a day to day basis?

If we look back even in the last week and consider this, it brings what our personal legacy will be into focus.

When people think about a legacy, they often think in terms of money, prestige or power.  None of that matters to me.  What matters is that people see me as a virtuous, compassionate person, someone who would listen to them, love them, offer advice, give second chances, encourage them and live the life I so highly recommend, the one with Christ at the center.

When I reflect on the past week of my life, I can already see glaring failures.  Opportunities missed.

I am challenging myself to think this way more often; to realize that the little, seemingly inconsequential things, really do matter.  We can merely look at someone in the wrong way, or not allow our look linger long enough to show our interest in them.  What about when we half-hardheartedly listen while conversing because our heart isn’t in it?  There are the times we are tired and grouchy and speak before we think.  We can be callous in our topics, not taking into consideration the entire audience and things some of them might have been through or we neglect people and make them feel left out.

On a positive note though, we can also seek out opportunities to smile, to tousle that little ones hair and tell them they’re awesome, to pat that elderly one on the back and ask about their health or their grandchildren.  We can tell that teenager that many have given up on that they can do it.  We can seek out that single parent and see if there is anything we can do to make the load a little lighter, let them know that we really do love them, that they’re in our prayers.

Think about your own life, about all the little things that gave you strength when you didn’t think you had any left.  Think about the people who spoke goodness into your life and gave you hope or a hand up from the mire.  Those are some of the sweetest memories.  Those are the people that you remember fondly.  Just a small amount of kindness might mean the world to someone.

I know I fail often, but by the grace of God, I will grow into a more considerate, loving and giving person.

Heartache in the making

English: High Heels on pink background

Do clothes really make the woman?  I think we all know the answer to that and it’s a big negative.  However, you have to admit, there is just something about getting all gussied up.  It makes us feel good to look our best.

I had the pleasure of taking my daughter and her friend shopping today for that perfect dress and shoes for a special event.  Both of these young ladies are very girly and have been known to be somewhat picky, so I was dreading the hours of scouring the stores, possibly to no avail.  The road trip to the particular store they had in mind, took about an hour.  I got to listen to them talk and sing and laugh and ask me how much longer.

When we arrived, they started by rifling through the racks to see what was available.  After tossing several over their arm, they headed to the dressing room.  Then they proceeded to try on, turn, twirl, take pictures of each other, try another and then try on the same one again.  They look to see who might be looking at them, and hope for some input.   There is something about the look on their face, when they find “the one”.  It is quite different than the look on my hubby’s face when I tell him what it cost us.

The moment when my daughter says, “Thanks mom, you’re the best”, is the highlight of the day.  You see, I’ve already done this with one daughter and I know that she will be gone far sooner than this mama’s heart is prepared for.  This is why I relish these invites and tolerate the aching back and forget about the money spent.

This is my youngest daughter’s last year of school and every “event” is making me emotional.  Just thinking about it, my heart has a pang of grief in advance for the times that I know are coming.  Next year at this time, when I think back on this, I will have the memories and the knowledge that she has them too.  I will also take comfort in knowing that every time I possibly could be, I was there.

Mitch Teemley

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