Remember being a child? To be mocked, mimicked with hurtful intentions or faced with bold rejection or unfriendly defiance, it evoked something inside us that cut straight to the core of our spirit. It didn't just hurt our feelings. It wounded our souls.
Childhood has moments that are at best...merely survived. We don't always escape without a few scars.
Mama Ina Mae is a wise soul. Growing up extremely poor, I imagine she faced her fair share of mockery and rejection for her lack of new and stylish clothing or the latest and greatest stuff. She has lived a life of gratitude in every season.
She was grateful, any time she had enough. She has never lacked the joy in sharing.
Mama Ina Mae loved milk, but "milk was for the babies" and she could only have one glass a day. The oldest of seven children while she lived at home. There were always babies who needed it more. Mama didn't sneak more for herself. It wasn't in her nature. She would be more likely to give up her cup if there wasn't quite enough. She is a tough act to follow in the act of giving and living graciously.
Mama's kitchen table was the original vintage, eclectic mess. Dad loved to pick up garage sale treasures from tableware assortments. They threw nothing away, unless it was broken. They would give it away, if someone expressed an interest or need. But, most wouldn't. What they had was meant to be used, to be shared and to serve.
By the time I was a pre-teen, I had realized we didn't live like most of our friends. I did NOT always appreciate that fact. I don't know when I realized we weren't "poor" but Dad and Mom's habits were established. They would pay for quality in things that would last, but few things fell into that category.
I wanted to have the kinds of jeans everyone else was wearing. I wanted to fit in. I didn't want to be different. I wanted.. I wanted it now.
Then, I learned a valuable lesson when they determined the "reasonable and customary" plan. They would provide what they thought jeans should cost, and I would earn the money to pay the additional portion for my trendy "Body Lingo" jeans from JC Penney. I learned, sometimes I was happier up-cycling garage sale items or enjoying Lindgren cousins stylish hand-me-downs. I could do more with less, if I was creative.
Still, there were moments, the fears of an insecure adolescent would pop up over the littlest things. Mama Ina Mae, always the encourager and optimist, would share her twist on Eleanor Roosevelt's "No one can make you feel inferior without your permission."
Mama Ina Mae kept it simple. She would say, "If they are making fun of you, they are leaving someone else alone."
Now, why did that make me feel better? Being mocked never feels good. Being made fun of is soul crushing. Still, her unspoken message was that she saw me as braver, stronger and more capable of surviving a little "tough stuff" than someone else. She taught me to reframe my struggle, to nurture and protect.
What a breath of encouragement, every time she said it. And, I don't think I even understood it, until this very moment, how much those words impacted my life. Mama Ina Mae's message infused a mother's strength into my backbone. I could stand steadfast because I was knit in her womb by God's hand. I was unique and I was loved. Other's opinions were rubbish. When you know who you are, you cannot be mocked.
Mama was affirming but not coddling. Others perceptions are not our fingerprint. God made us unique and creative. We must know who we are in His eyes. There is no reason to feel like less... or more. Just learn to be. Know your worth to the Creator of Life... to the great I AM.
He died for us. He is our Father, Christ is our brother and savior, and his Spirit lives in us. How much can a label on a pair of jeans or the car we drive matter? It is just stuff. It can be swept away in a heartbeat through life's storms... through illness... through drought or through war.
He is our enough. Our God will not be mocked and we are His. Straighten your crown, my princess and my prince... you are a child of the King of Kings!
"Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life." -Galatians 6:7-8
We can "sow to the Spirit and reap the eternal". What are we sowing? What are we sewing? Our God is not mocked.
The choice of a nation.
The choice of a family.
The choice of an individual.
Will we choose or refuse his Lordship. There is a supernatural, calming, confident strength that arrives when we know who we are to Him... and in Him.
We have no reason to fret. We have no reason to reason to cower. We have no reason to kowtow to the worries of this world.
Today, I am grateful that God is not mocked.