Leaving a Lasting Impression on my Heart | March 13th, 2022
A decade has quickly come and gone since my beautiful Mama left this earth, moving to her forever Home in heaven. I can hardly wrap my mind around how fast time has flown since that dark day of heavy sadness and the deepest pain I’ve ever experienced.
Losing a loved one is difficult but when you also lose a piece of your heart, it’s devastating. Time does help heal the pain though you will always feel the loss. She left a lasting impression, however, on the part of my heart that is still full of determination to continue to beat with a passion for life.
My mother loved to prepare healthy meals for our family. Starting when my sister and I were babies, she created an appetite for us to desire nutritious food beginning with our first bites of homemade rice cereal. It was quite filling which was a blessing for her as it kept me asleep through the night!
Our school lunches were packed with healthy fruits and veggies and while the other kids were eating Wonder bread, we chowed down on our multi-grain sandwiches without a second thought. Dinner was always home-cooked and presented with an abundance of color on our plates.
She understood that God had given her incredible responsibility as a mother and knew she was chosen to teach me not only how to eat right but more importantly, how to form godly character. Before I could even speak, she was rocking me to sleep singing songs about Jesus and telling me Bible stories. She fed me a little at a time, as my mouth could receive it.
My mother took Proverbs 22:6 very seriously: Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
In this verse, the word train can also be interpreted as “initiate.” It’s about creating an appetite for something. The Hebrew verb for train is translated as chanak which means “to initiate” or “to put something into the mouth, to give to be tasted.” In order to get a newborn baby to suck, Middle Eastern mothers often rub crushed sweet dates on the roof of their baby’s mouth so they can get a taste for food.
Training up a child in the way they should go requires initiating them to new experiences. Parents must first be able to demonstrate it themselves. Children learn how to act by watching how their parents act. When I saw how my mother first went to God with any struggles she had and gave Him gratitude for even the smallest blessings in her life, it gave me a taste for prayer and having a close relationship with God.
Rather than forcing me to believe a certain way, she beautifully demonstrated how to live a godly life. She loved Jesus so much and wanted to please Him, so it seemed easy for her to follow His commands written in His Word. She was faithful in teaching me how to honor Him with my decisions through obedience and often talked about the blessings that came from staying on His perfect path.
Throughout her life, she taught me to understand the meaning of Psalm 34:8 which says: Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
God is quite clear about the responsibility parents have to teach their children the wisdom and knowledge found in His Word so when they are older, they will retain that wisdom and not be as likely to stray from it.
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:6-7
One of the ways my mother impressed upon me to live by God’s standards and guidelines was by taking time to help me read and memorize Scripture, treasuring His Word in my heart. Over time, it was so deeply etched in my innermost being that it began to be the foundation of my thoughts and choices. As I learned of God’s lovingkindness, compassionate character, and about how much He longed to have a personal relationship with me, I noticed my will and affections starting to conform to His. I saw my apathy change to enthusiasm and a deepening desire to treasure more of God’s Word in my heart so I could get to know Him, please Him, and draw closer to Him.
I have treasured Your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against You. Psalm 119:11
If a child has been trained up in the way they should go, does this mean they will never rebel and go their own way? Unfortunately, no. We live in a sinful world where God gives people the freedom to make their own decisions and stray off the path of righteousness if they want to stray. But if a child gets started on a path of doing right when they are young, it may not be as easy for them to veer off toward foolishness later in life. Directing a child’s path toward godliness will have a permanent effect on them for their good.
I am so thankful for the impression my mother left on my heart creating an appetite in me, not only for nutritious food to stay strong physically but also for a deep desire to taste the spiritual food in God’s Word to keep me walking upright in His strength on His perfect path of righteousness. As long as my heart continues to beat, may I never depart from it.
Written in honor of my mother, Susan Nelson, who went to be with her Savior ten years ago today on March 13, 2012.
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