​Be Sweet, Part I - Judy Berry

I confess this should be showing up in May, for Mothers’ Day - not in March.  So in honor of my mom, just consider this an early greeting.  My “testimony” began as my life’s story began to unfold.

I can remember when I was three years old (I know you don’t believe that) when I first realized what a protector my mother was.  We lived in Houston in a very small home with a screened in front porch.  Our little neighbor, Frieda, also probably around three, had come over to play.   After a few minutes, Mother came out the door and asked me what I was doing sitting over in the corner by myself.  I told her that Frieda had told me to sit there while she played with my toys.  Mother, in her own quiet way, sent Frieda home and told me I didn’t have to do that with anyone – it was my house and those were my toys.  I’m certain there was a explaining to me about the joys of sharing, but even at age three, that was a, “Be sweet, but don’t let people take advantage of you – don’t be bullied - you can stand up for what’s right!” moment.  My mom had begun sharing her testimony with me.

Fast-forward two years – the first day of kindergarten.  In the heart of Bellaire, Texas, not far from home, sat the Tiny Tot Kindergarten.  Sounds innocuous enough, but I was determined to not be a part of it.  I can remember hiding behind my mother’s skirt, protesting all the way in, begging her to stay or better still just take me back home.  Once again, after a little coaxing, she told me it was best that I stay – I’d have a great time.  Day two – I was ready to go – she was right!  “Be sweet!” she called as she left.  I even have a picture of me and my partner, Robert Gerber (truly, I remember his name!), dancing around the maypole on May Day in my lime green organza dress that Mother had made for me.  She was beginning to teach me the joys of being happy, making friends, and being an open minded soul.  There’s God again – from Mother.

Speaking of that organza dress, my mom made all my clothes, and those for my two younger sisters.  I wore pretty “hand-made” clothes until I graduated from college. We didn’t have a lot of money, but my dad worked, and Mother refused to go to work outside the home until all three of us had finished high school.  During that time – oh, my goodness – how can I even enumerate in this small space all she did for me?  Every program, every recital, to and from school for each daughter; football games before I could drive, in addition to the “regular” housewife/motherly duties like cleaning, washing and ironing, fixing three meals a day, dusting, sweeping, etc. She indeed did all of those standard homemaker things, but way more than that, she gave me reason to cherish her as my mom and my friend. “Be sweet!” every time I left the house, teaching me the pleasure of being a nice, polite, kind young lady.  Hi God.

"And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." - Deuteronomy 6:6-7 ESV

Reflection Question: What messengers has God placed in your life?

Prayer: Still small voice of wisdom, help me to hear you in the noise of life. Amen.

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