Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. – Proverbs 31:28
Last year the Lord impressed on my heart to write a manna to share some of the important lessons that my dad has taught me over the years. This morning I’m going to attempt the impossible. I’m going to try to express in words just how much my mom has meant to me over my 52 years of life.
As long as I can remember, my mom has always been her two son’s and husband’s biggest fan. No matter what we did, my mom was always there to encourage us, or help us pick up the broken pieces. She was not always happy with her three boy’s decisions, but she has always loved us unconditionally. Her unconditional love, along with the unconditional love of my beautiful wife, has taught me most of what I know about love. The love that I have felt from these two amazing women has taught me most of what I know about the unfathomable love that God has for each one of His children. Especially for the ornery ones…
My family has been blessed beyond reason by the Lord, but we have also experienced significant pain and struggle over the years. My mom has been a rock through it all. I’d like to share a few things that she taught me over the course of my life, and I’d love to hear about the things that your mom taught you too!
If you don’t ask a girl to dance you’re not going to dance. When I was in middle school I was a chubby, short, red headed, freckled ball of emotion. I still am (minus the hair). One evening I came home from a middle school dance and went straight to my bedroom and plopped on my bed and cried and cried. My mom came into my room and hugged me while I sobbed. Eventually she asked me what was wrong. I told her that, “No….girls….d..d…danced….with….me…. ” In a way that only moms can do, my mom looked me in the eyes lovingly, with tears in her own eyes, and asked me, “Well did you ask any girls to dance?” Of course I hadn’t asked any girls to dance, because I had zero self-confidence at that time. I didn’t have the life wisdom like my mom to know that none of the other little boys or girls at that dance had any self-confidence either. This advice from my mom has reminded me often over the years that you will never achieve your goals if you are too afraid to ask.
Miracles still happen. Over the years, I have marveled at my mom’s simple faith in the goodness and power of God. When my dad found out that he had six months to live right before he retired, I was crushed. I knew that God could heal my dad, but I didn’t actually expect Him too. I’m a man of faith, but I’m also a scientist, and sometimes I rely on data more than faith. My mom is different. When she found out that my dad was sick, she prayed and prayed. She confidently told her two boys and husband that she believed that God was going to heal dad. God did.
I will never forget the call from my mom when she explained to me that the original diagnosis was “somehow” wrong, and the doctors did’t understand it, but dad now has a very treatable form of leukemia. My dad will tell you that going through chemotherapy was no treat, and he almost died during the treatment, but my dad is still alive today, and my mom’s faith is even stronger. So is mine.
God hasn’t answered all of my mother’s prayers over the years, but my faith is bigger now because of my mom’s child-like faith in God. Now I really do believe that all things are possible with God, even science-defying miracles.
Love is patient. I have to be careful with this one haha. Let’s just say that my little brother, dad and the son writing these words, were not always little angels. We all tested the limits of my mom’s patience in our own unique ways. My mom certainly got angry with us, and we deserved it, but she never stayed angry. She loved us too much. My mom has always looked at her three boys through a lens of love.
I watched my mom and dad suffer with my younger brother over the years as he struggled to cope with life. Every time that my brother would make a bad decision, my parents were right there to pick him up and put him on track again. My mom and dad did everything that they could to love my brother back to health, but sometimes even a parent’s love is not enough to overcome the free will that God has gifted us all with.
My mom was also patient with my dad who worked very hard and had to deal with a lot of stress, which didn’t always bring out the best in him. My mom was also patient with me. Because of her love and patience, I always told my mom everything. The good, the bad and the ugly, because I knew that my mom would always love me and pray to God for me to straighten up and be strong.
You can be anything that you want to be. My mom always told us that we could do anything that we wanted to do if we worked real hard and believed in ourselves. Throughout life, my mom often did without, so that her boys and husband could have more. My parents helped me become the first Winneroski to graduate from college and my mom still thinks that I’m pretty smart. Boy have I got her fooled 🙂
My mom is the kindest, gentlest, strongest, humblest, most loving, most caring, most fearless mother that a chubby, short, bald-headed little man could ever hope for. Now my mom is facing a challenge, and she needs her remaining son and husband to pray for her and support her the way that she has prayed for and supported her three boys over the years. I love you mom. I’m praying for you mom, and I will be there for you, until you go home to be with Jesus. I feel confident that when you do go home to be with Mike and our loved ones who are in Heaven, you will hear those special words from Jesus, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”