Project Emily Advent: Day 23

Project Emily Advent: Day 23

Describe your favorite thing about your mother.

“I love the person I’ve become, because I fought to become her.”

I discovered this inspiring quote from author Kaci Diane a few years ago. It stirs some kind of deep hope in me. The thought that I can fight for the person that I become. And that I can love her even more for the struggle it took to get her.

My mom is a powerful person. Strong, smart, opinionated, resilient. She has mothered seven children, educated as many, and served in various ministry roles throughout the years. She is a creative, with an eye for design in a number of avenues. She’s a great speaker, a great listener, and an intuitive teacher. She is sensitive to the emotional climate of any room. She is cool-headed in an emergency, hot-headed in conversations around injustice. She acts boldly, apologizes swiftly. There is a lot about her to aspire to. But she didn’t become this way without struggle. She did not happen by accident.

Throughout my life, I have watched my mom set her gaze on the possibility of something different for herself. She has vision for her identity and believes completely that transformation can happen. And she fights for it. Hard. I have seen her do this in many aspects of her life, but none so remarkable as the way that she speaks. She learned to harness her force and wit into a purposeful stream of encouragement. Her words carry power and meaning, and she does not wield them lightly. She speaks life, and only it, into the people in her life. She has an unyielding belief that there is something better for her, and by consequence, for you and me, too.

But she wouldn’t tell you that she did it on her own or by her own power. She would tell you that the woman that she is is all due to the power of Christ in her. And while I would never attempt to strip Jesus of his credit for the transformation that occurs when one is enveloped in his love, I do believe that one must be willing to receive that love, to surrender to that transformation, and to endure the discomfort that inevitably follows when choosing to die to oneself.

She does it. Over and over and over she does it. She set her eyes on the promised land of an identity intended for her by a generous God, and she did not look back. She fights, still.

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Project Emily Advent: Day 25

My maternal grandfather, Papa, was a great and wild soul. He was particularly close with my sister, Bailey. He loved all of his grandchildren, and made a particular effort to show up in each of our lives. But Bailey was Papa's best girl. He was totally smitten with her. He was a friendly and warm person, but he could be bristly at times, and Bailey seemed to be the only person undeterred by his bad moods. She was every bit his equal in fortitude and stature of personhood.

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