Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother—which is the first commandment with a promise—that it may go well with and that you may enjoy long life on earth. Fathers [Mothers], do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:1-4 NIV.
One evening sobbing over the phone, “Lilian, your sister is demanding me to write my weekly expenses so they can give me a weekly allowance. Am I an incompetent mother after I raised you and your six siblings?”
“Oh, I’m sorry Mom,” as I sympathized with her thousand miles away.
My sisters warning was confirmed, “As Mom’s age advances her generous heart for the needy outweighs her personal needs. How can we help her?”
“Mom do you remember when you spanked me for not fixing our lunch because of my fear of using match sticks to light the wooden stove in the farm home?”We giggled and the mood lightened. “If you did not spank me, I would not be able to overcome my pyrophobia.”
When I was three years old my middle finger was burned while playing with a match.Anything that involved fire I promised to myself that I will not get involved with it. Mom’s spanking with loving rebuke taught me.
My Mother’s love and lighthearted nature fascinates me even now. We laughed andtalked like friends sharing secrets, dreams and struggles. I can stand on the cliché “Like mother, like daughter,” when it comes to love and sacrificial service to family. In matters about cleanliness, I would be the knock out loser.
My Mom reflected the love, wit and sacrifices necessary to make things work for our big household. She cooked our food at 5:00 AM. She fed the baby, assisted my younger siblings bathe and get ready for school. She helped us with our school homework, prepared pack up lunches for us to school and for Dad to the farm.
When we returned home from school, hot meals were always waiting for us. She fixed delicious meals from simple ingredients like vegetables, chicken and fish. We ate breakfast and dinner as a family with prayers and joyous sharing.
In cleanliness, Mom was one of the best. She scrubbed our wooden floors, bamboo staircase and beds, and hung flowery curtains on our doors and windows. She was a dressmaker that sewed or refurbished our limited clothing, school bags and kept our footwear looked good by cleaning and fixing it.
As the eldest among seven siblings I enjoyed Mom’s playing and undivided attention. She braided my long hair with ribbons that matched the color of my clothes. We went to the streams close to our farm house to wash our clothes. She taught me the best way of washing white clothes and up keeping the house.
When I was about to leave for college, my Mom bought me several white blankets and white pillows with my name embroidered on them. She taught me everything that I needed to take care of myself before I lived in the boarding home.
Above all, Mom was my first teacher at home. She taught me how to write and read. Before I reached the age of four I could write my name legibly without pattern. At six years of age I could read the alphabet and the book for first graders that my cousins loaned to me.
When I was in college and the rest of my siblings were in high school and grade school my mother felt the need to help Dad support our family. She wove palm mats late at night to earn extra money. My Mom with Dad’s help gathered the palm leaves in the farm, sliced them, and make them soft to weave by hand. In our village, there was a heavy carved rolling stone with handles on each side. On each side were a person holding as they rolled it back and forth on top of the big board on each side where the weavers hold and moved slowly the bundled sliced leaves till they softened. My Mom was one of the fastest and excellent weavers that made her mats in demand to the vendors.
One day, Mom’s left three middle fingers were trapped under the stone. She kept doing her weaving and house work with bandaged fingers for months. Her deformed fingers continued to prove her love and passion to care for her family.
As we grew up, the growing financial needs motivated Mom to work as a sewer at the ready to wear clothes factory in our town. I recalled when she took my younger brother to work when he was sick to monitor his medication and fed him on time.
At some point in her life, she traveled with her friends to the farming communities selling homemade delicacies and ready to wear clothes. They carried the goods and bartered it with farm produce. She and her friends would sell the bartered produce to the town market and kept a portion of it for their family’s consumption.
She served our wealthier relatives by cleaning their homes and washing their clothes by hands to support our growing family’s school’s cost.
When one of my fellow Board of Trustees member at Valley Christian Church in Utah, USA, asked me, “Lilian how did your parents raise you?”
I was humbled by his interest in my parents. I replied, “Our powerful Lord God and Savior molded me through my loving and faithful praying Mom and Dad. Mom stood beside me in my teen years as I wrestled with obesity, lost my only boyfriend next door, and when I was cheated in business twice that almost ruined my career. She believed and encouraged me to move on which led me where I am now serving in praying and helping people overcome fear of the failures, hopelessness and lack of purpose in life.
Even now my Mom is my adviser and prayer supporter when I encounter relational and decision struggles. She is my confidant that never fails. Mom’s weakness helps me become a wise spender and tactful giver. Who else can models best for me?
God bless you and your loved ones. Feel free to connect with me so I can pray with you at http://www.lilianhosfeld.com.