She turned 74 on April 2. I can actually remember when she turned 40. She has always been beautiful and age is not a thief of that to her. She is the nicest person I have ever known and I know many, many people would agree.
To me, she is Mom. To many she is Mom, Grandma, Aunt Rikki, friend.
My mom, Rikki Jo, came from a little town in Texas. She was born there, the first of two daughters to hard working parents. They later moved all the way from Texas to West Virginia where she grew up with her beautiful sister, Candence.
Mom told me one time that all she really wanted to be when she grew up was a wife and mother. In my opinion, there really could be no more honorable an ambition than that. She married my Dad in 1962 and they had three kiddos; me being the youngest of the brood.
When I went to Kindergarten, my mom went to work as a secretary in our local hospital. She had never gone to any formal training beyond high school, but she knew she could learn and do well. And she did. In fact, she ended up working there for over 25 years. She loved it. They loved her. She was the glue of that emergency room for a long, long time.
I can remember coming home after a long day of school. My mom worked the 3 p.m. – 11 p.m. shift in the E.R., so she had really just left to go to work. You can ask anyone in my family what you would find lying on the kitchen table as soon as you walked in: the list. The infamous list!
This list was on the back of a used envelope. The envelope was really a bill that had long been opened, but she would reuse the envelope. Mom was kind of way ahead of her time in reusing and recycling. But this list was really a “To Do” list for us kids. My brother had his part to do and my sister and I would do the other parts.
Now, the list most certainly included gathering, folding, and putting away the laundry from the clothes line. Yes! We used a clothes line all of my growing up years. Many of you have probably never even seen a clothes line. I’m a country girl from West Virginia. Clothes lines exist. They do!
After the clothes were finished, there was cleaning to do in the bathrooms, kitchen, etc… and then off to homework we would go. I can still hear the, “Are you kiddings?” as we read the list. It was pretty much the same every day. Long and important. I can even remember one time when we decided that we had simply had enough and we were not going to get the list finished. So, off to bed we all went.
Well, 11:30 ish arrived and Mom had arrived home. All three of her little cherubs were safely tucked in bed and fast asleep, but not for long. She promptly came into our rooms and woke us. She then told us that it was time to finish those chores.
So, in the middle of the night, all three of us were working. Many of you might think, “how mean, how cruel?”, but I can tell you that her decision to do that worked. We never failed to get our chores done again. Never!
My sister and I have talked many times over the years about how our upbringing prepared us. Prepared us for managing a household, prepared us for cleaning a home, prepared us for many, many things. Of course we did not like it at the time. LOL Oh no, we were pretty mad, but the message was clear: you have responsibilities – Do them and do them well.
Have you ever heard that Bible verse, “Work as if for the Lord and not for men?” I am sure you have. I often told my third graders that their hard work was not so that they could get an “A”. That might be a side benefit. And their hard work was not to please their parents, although that is always a good thing. No, their hard work was to please the Lord so they could know that they had done all that they could to do their job and do it well. Their effort was pleasing to the Lord. My mom showed us this in that one, now quite infamous, night.
Do you find yourself thinking about that? Am I working as if for the Lord? I think a lot of times I am and a lot of times I am not, but our God is forgiving and gracious. These two attributes are by far some of his most wonderful attributes. If we are off track, like we were that night as kids, the track is forgiving and we can get back on and move forward.
Here’s the thing. We have to be brave enough to make that step. We have to give ourselves enough grace to get back on track. My mom helped us get back on track that night. And our heavenly Father can do the same thing. We just need to trust him and get back on the track and move forward. If you feel off track, it’s okay. Get back up and let God lead you back to the track.
So happy birthday, Mom! I am glad God gave me you. Thanks for helping this girl realize the value of hard work!
And thank you, God, for being gracious enough to let this girl get back on track in the places that I need to every day. 🙂
Have a blessed day!
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.