"You won't be lost if you believe
You can't lose me..."
- Faith Hill*
March is National Women's History month. So, off and on, for the rest of the month, I would like to share what I have learned from women, like you and me, who are doing...and have done... things that profoundly inspire me.
The first, not surprisingly, is my mom.
My mom, Nancy Rosetta Clark McCullough, is the most inspiring woman I have ever known...personally. And since this series is about what I have seen and experienced, I will not be sharing stories of women I have heard about, or love historically...but, women I have actually known and watched. So that said...
Okay, so try to imagine your 38 year old self waking up one morning, and suddenly, you are a grieving widow with eight children under the age of 19. The youngest are 2 year old twins. You don't own your home. You have no family to depend upon. You haven't worked in 20 years, and there is no money in the bank to pay bills with. On top of that, there is no life insurance policy or pension payout to look forward to for the financial support of you and your children.
What do you do?
Well, if you are Nancy Rosetta Clark, you pray...and then you pray some more....and then you rally your eight children around you into an army of love.
You refuse to be broken by sorrow or fear. You challenge despair like a prize fighter, and you pray.
Did I say you pray?
I have asked my mother about this time...many times. Especially when I felt overwhelmed by the prospect of raising, and caring for, three children as a single mom...I couldn't imagine eight!
She said that she was pretty darned terrified...especially during those first few months after the initial covered dishes and caring friends naturally drifted softly back into the demands of their own busy lives...assuming mom had other back-up support in place. When in fact, there was actually no money, and very little food. But, mom always explained that when she saw how the love she felt for each of us was never exhausted or diminished, she knew there was a source of supply that was even more reliable than a salary or a job. It was as infinite as the breadth of her love, and came from a well of goodness that was, in fact, as fathomless as her hope.
And it has always been there...for over 40 years now.
My mother's love for each of her children, grandchildren, and now, great grandchildren...has never been reduced by the demands placed upon her, as her large family has continued to expand. In fact, it has only grown. Her love goes beyond the boundaries of what we have asked of her. Her ability to listen without judgment, to share generously, to stretch the borders of her heart without reaching its limits, and to forgive...anything...has only grown more diffusive, as we have grown in numbers.
I know that she still faces some of the same financial concerns we experienced after dad's passing, but she never lets them distract her from wisely distributing the real riches of her life's purpose...those of her heart. She shares her gifts richly, generously, and freely with anyone who needs a kind word, warm hand, a strong shoulder, a gentle voice, and a life that is rich with experience and wisdom.
Her history in trusting God's care for her children, is breath-taking. And the more demanding the times, the more she seems to give.
Mary Baker Eddy promises that:
"A mother's affection cannot be weaned from her child,
because the mother-love includes purity and constancy,
both of which are immortal.
Therefore maternal affection lives on
under whatever difficulties."
So, what did my mother teach me? So, so, so much. But as I sit here writing tonight, I think the lesson I am most aware of is this: that I can lose money, I can lose my way, I can lose a race, or a bid for a house...but I can never lose her, or God, or my right to love -- my way through....well, anything.
She is my hero.
Love you momma...
Kate Robertson, CS
*Enjoy this video of Faith Hill's tribute to motherhood, "You Can't Lose Me."
[photo credit: Lila June Jones..child number 6...2009]