All those little sayings. Little gems sparkling in a glorious crown, encircling your head with knowledge, set in gold by those who loved you enough to pass them on. They twinkle and glow if often recalled. They tarnish and dull with age if forgotten. This particular gem of wisdom came to me from my mother: “Never say ‘Never’.”
My mother. I watched her as a young girl, mesmerized. I thought her beautiful, smart, and wise beyond what I could ever achieve. Maybe all young girls think of their mother this way. I don’t know.
I sat on the commode lid like it was a front row seat to the best concert in town. I studied my mother, clothed in her frothy, peach-colored night gown with its matching robe, putting on her makeup. Baby pink tiles surrounded us with a female hue. Her mouth formed a little “O” as she put on a thick coat of black mascara. Her lips pursed alluringly as she applied orange lipstick to her cupid-like lips. I watched carefully as she strategically dotted on Estee’ Lauder’s Youth Dew cologne. I didn’t know what she was getting ready for, but I sensed a ritual that I couldn’t wait to take part in. She didn’t seem to mind my peering into her special time. With only one bathroom for a family of five, privacy wasn’t something that you thought about much. I quietly watched and learned. My mother was the best teacher a girl could have on glamour.
Even when she went to work in my father’s muffler shop and had to learn to weld so that she could put on mufflers and tailpipes, my mother put on her full makeup. Her hair was done as if she was going to worship. Her flannel shirt looked fit for Marilyn Monroe. Her jeans were in style with the times, faded and flared in the leg. Teenage boys praised my mother at school. How many girls have a mother who can look like a movie star while putting stacks on the coolest truck in town?
It didn’t matter how disheveled she was going to get. She knew it was a dirty job. Momma came home every night, exhausted. Burns scarred her skin. Grease and oil perfumed her clothes. I learned what it meant to sacrifice and work hard for the welfare of the family. When Daddy was diagnosed with a severe heart condition (which turned out to be a misdiagnosis) she ran the whole thing with what help she could get from the teenage boys they hired.
I felt a pressure to live up to my mother. At the same time, I felt that I never would. If she praised me, I was on cloud nine. If she berated me, I was the lowest of lows. Everything I did, or didn’t do, weighed heavily on my mother’s opinion.
One thing sticks out, of all the phrases spoken to me as guidance by my beautiful mother: Never say ‘never’.
You know? That is probably one of the truest statements a mother could pass on to her daughter.
I know it to be an accurate turn of words. If you say you will never do something, YOU ARE BOUND TO DO IT!
Paul wrote in Romans 7:19, “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.” (NKJV)
It’s like planting a seed…a weed, really. You try so hard to aim your arrow at the heart of your problem. You are focusing so hard. But, where are your sights? Are they set on things above, or are they so honed in to the very problem that you are trying to annihilate that you have blinded yourself to everything else? Are you letting it pull you like a magnet by giving it so much attention?
We must lean on God. I say this, knowing that I need it the most. We must go to Him in prayer with the knowledge that He alone is in control. It is true that we are His glorious creations. So much good can come from a pure, gentle, and giving heart. But “the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he might devour.” I Peter 5:8 (NKJV) Don’t you think that it is his wish that you become distracted with every flaw in your character? Don’t you know that he wants you to be discouraged?
If you backtrack a little in Peter’s letter, he says, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” I Peter 5:6-7 (NKJV) HE CARES FOR YOU!!! Rest in His loving arms. Pray for His guidance. Ask for forgiveness and then release your grip on whatever is pulling you down. Let God pull you out of that dark hole and revel in His excellent Light.