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Sunday
May122019

Mother Was Right—What My Mother Taught Me and Why It Matters Now

Janice Thompson is my sister-in-love. We share a love for her mom, Adele Wilson. In this Mother's Day UPLIFT, Jan shares some of the powerful lessons she learned from her mother—lessons all of us in the "Wilson clan" have come to love and appreciate—and I hope they encourage you as well.

"I vividly remember the day when as a young adult I said to myself, 'Wow, Mom was right!'" Janice says. "Perhaps you look forward to the day your child "gets it" too!"

Yes, I (Dawn) remember a moment of awareness. I'd thought my own Mom didn't understand the complexities of today's culture, but as it turned out, the principles that guided her life were timeless—much like those that guided Adele Wilson.

Janice continues . . .

Mom and Dad grew up together in a children’s home, each having lost a parent at a very tender age. Raised with 180 other children they called family, they both speak with gratitude of the care they received and the friends they made.

They also, however, determined when they married to try to create what they had missed—a welcoming home and intimate family life.

Mom is the first to admit they were clueless where to start, but God had His hand on them. They became Christ-followers shortly after marriage and immediately began to seek His wisdom. Between their study of Scripture and surrounding themselves with Christian families they wanted to emulate, they look back on their 72 years of marriage and trace God’s hand throughout their journey.

They are now enjoying the fruit of that dogged determination as they changed the course of their family’s trajectory and created a living legacy that has left a blessed imprint on three successive generations.

Mom gave me many gifts—including ones I didn’t always appreciate at the moment! I still marvel at how, without a mother’s role model, God gifted her with extraordinary wisdom.

She was undeterred during my adolescent years—that unpaved section of life—when I burst out in a tearful, “You don’t understand me!” She was on a mission, however, and nothing stopped her from standing firm on every value she held dear.

Here is my short list of what she taught me then and why it matters to me now.

1. Pursuit of God’s best.If you’re going to do a job, do it right—the first time.”

If I were ever tempted to skim the surface, I’d best think again. I dreaded her white glove inspection of my half-hearted dusting chore. Good enough simply wasn’t. God deserved the best I could give, and I was never to short-change Him or her!

Gratefully, she was relentless, and that value served me well in my academic pursuit, career path, and raising my own children.  

2. Pursuit of Family Harmony. Conflict resolution was a non-negotiable. Frustration, even anger, were acceptable expressions as long as it wasn’t accompanied by disrespect, yelling, or fighting.

In Mom’s words, “There is enough fighting in this world; when you entered the doors of our home, it will be a place of peace, joy, and support.”

Mom had mastered conflict resolution skills that somehow allowed me to feel valued and heard even as I stewed in my anger. This led to a joy-filled home where my friends longed to be. Laughter was the norm, and my friends were always welcomed.

I found myself applying those same conflict resolution skills as we raised our children and in turn, enjoyed the blessing of being “mom” to many of our children’s friends as well.

3. Pursuit of Wise Stewardship. This one still amazes me as I see how much she taught me about God’s values concerning the use of time, talent and treasure. Let me start with...

TIME: Mom loved and served sacrificially. She worked long and hard, yet would always greet me with a cup of tea when I’d come home from a date no matter the lateness of the hour. She enjoyed sharing every detail of my experiences and used those late night chats to help shape my values.

I realized shortly after marriage how much she shaped my wishlist for my life’s partner and kept me from settling for less than God’s best. My husband is still my best friend, and I have Mom to thank for helping me understand that priority.

TALENT: Giving more than you take was another top priority. Mom taught me to always look for ways to contribute. If you are faithful with what God has put in your hand, He will, in turn, bless you with more to give.

I can’t begin to describe all the ways that value has played out in my life.

TREASURE: Wise financial stewardship was another non-negotiable.

Mom (and Dad) always put God first, spent less than they earned, avoided the use of debt, worked toward long-term goals, and were generous toward others. Those habits prepared them to live comfortably now.

That example also prepared me for a career helping others wisely steward their resources and their families.  

4. Pursuit of a Proverbs 31 Woman.  Mom was—and still is—a very beautiful and strong, independent woman. She modeled pushing through obstacles to achieve goals.

While always supportive, it was not her job to make life easy for me. She taught me to own my mistakes, minimize excuses, and figure out how to resourcefully get back on track.

She believed in me when I felt vulnerable and encouraged me to step into my calling even if it didn’t look “normal” or “traditional.” My subsequent career path landed me in what years ago used to be considered a man’s world. I ignored gender, however, and never allowed inferiority to keep me from starting my own company. Mom taught me to push through the hard stuff and count my blessings with every opportunity to make an impact.

Like my Mom, you have little control over the legacy you inherited, but a great deal of influence over what you leave behind.

Since a legacy is inevitable, I encourage you to make it intentional because wisdom is challenging to transfer without it. Experiences and how you leverage them can turn brokenness into a blessing even when it doesn’t look like it at first glance. You don’t have to be perfect; just authentic and tenacious.

We have the powerful ability ever day to leave a lasting imprint on those we touch.

Prov 31:30-31 says,

She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed….

Charm is deceitful and beautiy is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised....let her own works praise her in the gates.

Mom, you were right on every point and I rise up today and call you blessed.

What makes you unique because of the legacy you’ve received? What value or wisdom point can you change or build upon to make the biggest difference in future generations you influence?  

Janice Thompson is the co-Founder and CEO of One Degree Advisors, Inc., a comprehensive wealth management firm focused on biblically-based financial solutions. Janice is a Certified Financial Planner®, a Life Stewardship Advisor, and serves on the Board of Directors of Kingdom Advisors. She has two married children with three grandsons and one granddaughter. She and her husband Tom live in San Diego.

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