Everybody’s Favorite Mother

“Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right.
Think about things that are pure and lovely,
and dwell on the fine, good things in others.
Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.”
Philippians 4:8, TLB

I’ve been thinking about my mom a lot lately—not just because Mother’s Day is coming up. It’s been three years since she went Home. I still go through periods where I really miss her, wish I could talk to her, tell her something, ask her something… ask her a lot of things I wish I’d asked her while she was still here, or just tell her thank you again, I’m sorry again…for so many things.

I did not grow up in a perfect family… (cue the record needle scratch).

Ours was an imperfect home, with an imperfect mom and dad in an imperfect marriage, with their 5 imperfect kids (understatement) who fought and scratched and yelled. Not at all the 1960’s version of the happy home life where everyone got along, and everybody lived happily ever after. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t exist. Anywhere. Except maybe on TV.

As an adolescent I felt cheated out of the childhood utopia portrayed in weekly situational comedies. You know the kind…where June Cleaver was everybody’s favorite mom who never raised her voice, always wore a pleasant smile on her perfectly lip-sticked lips and a perfectly clean apron over her wrinkle-free A-line dress with a string of pearls around her wrinkly-free neck. June always had hot-out-of-the-oven homemade cookies awaiting the Beave and Wally as they returned home from school each day. No slice-and-bakes for June. Nope. She was perfect, that June.

She was also fictitious.

I am convinced that June Cleaver could never have raised a real human being. Because June Cleaver wasn’t real.

Real Moms are Flawed

A real mom raised me, and she was perfectly flawed. Diane Leonard. She was and is my mom, and I am her–still quite imperfect–first child. She is the “mother” that God Almighty in His infinite wisdom personally selected, along with my daddy, to give birth to me and my 4 siblings, and raise us up. She didn’t do it perfectly. But she did what she could. And what she did was pretty dang good. I mean…I’ve made it this far, haven’t I?

For most of our life together ours was…let’s just say…a very scratchy mother-daughter relationship. We fought. A lot. About everything.

For years I compared her to all the other moms I knew. I thought my friends had it a hundred times better with their moms than I did with mine. I was wrong. Nobody has a perfect anything–parent, child, childhood, upbringing, adolescent, marriage–you name it…it isn’t perfect.

At one point, in my twenties, I was so distraught that I sought the counsel of a wise and godly woman. I thought she would help me sever the difficult relationship I had with my mom. But, she cut me off mid-litany, looked me in the eye and with loving firmness said, “Young lady, you are to honor your mother and your father if for no other reason than that they gave you life that you might know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.”


Those words changed my perspective, and my life. And they slowly, but surely, changed my relationship with my Mother, because they changed the way that I related to her.

❤️ Something to Think About

It’s funny how the Word of God really does work when you work it into your life. When you think about what is instead of focusing on what isn’t. There’s a lot about the way my mother raised me that was hard and harsh. But now, at 66 years old, I’ve come to the stunning realization that even in the worst of times there has always been so much more good than bad in our relationship. There is so much more about my Mother that is worthy of praise and I am deeply and eternally grateful and indebted to her for it.

They say that it usually takes giving birth to children of your own to truly appreciate the mother who raised you. I flatly disagree. Though I have never given birth to a child, I love and appreciate my Mother, nonetheless. And that appreciation and love deepens the older I get as her impact keeps on showing up in my life, and probably always will.

And one thing I know for sure—I wouldn’t be me without her.

One More Thing

You wouldn’t be you, either, without the mother who gave you life, and the mom who raised you (and they may be two different people). So, I want to encourage you to think deeply about your own mom— the things that are true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse (Philippians 4:8-9, The Message). If she’s still alive—call her, write her, tell her. If she’s gone, tell God, “Thank you” for the mother he chose…who gave you life so that you could know Christ Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

More next week—until then, don’t forget that you are greatly and dearly loved by The King. And let’s live our beautiful, ordinary lives like it!

I love you!
xo – P❤️