It seemed foreign to me to imagine my mother playing with a china-head doll. I knew where she kept her toy doll — in the cedar chest, packed in her beaded wedding dress.
Mother loved to play dress-up! She liked reading, and above all, she loved to go fishing in the creek nearby. Really? It was difficult to imagine Mother loved doing these things. Was she ever small like me?
I too found the lure of reading in stories carrying me far from reality. One Saturday morning, I learned there has to be a choice. Mother’s rule was to clean my bedroom on Saturday mornings. As I dusted the hardwood floor with the dust rag, I wondered what was happening in the current book. I retrieved it from its hiding place, open, under the mattress. I began reading and came to an exciting place, just as I dusted beneath the bed. Motionless I read until I heard Mother’s voice, “Are you reading again?” How did she know? Was she laughing under her breath? She began hiding my storybook on Saturday mornings until I finished my work. Mother taught me to choose to clean before pleasure. I slowly learned the joy of anticipation of cleanliness and goodness. Very slowly.
Choosing in life to do the right thing creates a dilemma. Why do the right thing? Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it. James 4:17. It is that simple.
What is it about choosing Good above Evil? It is an awareness of a loving God. A God who does not pretend about life. A God who loves us even when we disobey. A God who patiently waits for us to come to Him. A God who allowed His Son Jesus to die on the cross, so our sins will be forgiven when we trust Him. A God who gives us hope and rejoicing when we choose Him above all else.
It is when we need encouragement the most, and trust in Him, we find the little things of life give us the most joy. Joys like a rainbow, flowers beginning to bloom, caring words from others and simple foods have more flavor become an adventure. A visiting bird, a butterfly, a smile, a hug, a melody of joy, all bring us happiness. Being remembered when we feel invisible, gives us the feeling of belonging. What are these things? God’s Blessings. A blessing is an awareness of the love of God given through His Creation all around us. It is when we become a blessing to others through caring in Jesus’ Name; our blessing goblets are filled and running over. That is when we begin seeing His Love and Grace are so immense, we cannot fully comprehend the whole.
Mother’s secret of joy and happiness was to serve others with the gifts God gave her – a green thumb for growing flowers, vegetables and fruit trees. Being hospitable to others, sharing her ‘aya’ (custard) pie, cinnamon rolls, and homemade wheat bread. She taught the language of music to her students, and the piano bench was her ‘sharing bench’ of God’s Goodness with her students. She delighted in the Word of God, writing about the ways He continually blessed her.
Mother often quoted these three verses from Psalm 37:3-5. Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the LORD, and He will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and He will help you.
There is no room for ‘pretending’ in our lives with our Lord God. For He looks on the heart. Is our heart in tune with our words and actions? I ponder her poetry anew, seeing what lessons of living Mother has for me.
Each day as the sun rises, I awake with purpose – to praise God for the blessings that overflow my goblet of joy, until He calls me home.
Psalm 25:5 – Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.
As little girls we played with china dolls
And read our books, curled up beneath the stair;
We dressed in Mama’s gloves and shoes and hats
But duties always caught us unaware
Like unexpected dragons in the wings
Who seemed to stop our swings high in mid-air
While half-shaped mud cakes hardened as we chored
And silently we cried, “It is not fair.”
We dreamed of dolls dressed up in silk and sable;
Our minds sashayed about in perfumed pink
While washing greasy dishes on the table
Without hot, running water or a sink.
We ran away to fish in Papa’s pond
While weeds in Mama’s garden grew knee high;
Temptation taunted us when we were small.
Work or pleasure – which should we deny?
Brown seeds of character grew green
Because our parents challenged us to build
An attitude of joy in things we did
To keep our golden blessing goblets filled.
Anna Daisy Siemens