Remembering Momma

Momma was always helping us, guiding us to experience things. She took me to ride the train that went from our small town to another town and back. I mainly remember falling asleep with those bumpy, clunky wheels going underneath us. She also had me try ballet, twirling, and Brownies, which is a younger version of Girl Scouts. I only lasted about two weeks in each of these. I really wanted to do gymnastics, like my friends, but Momma said that was too dangerous.

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And on Saturdays, we had to do chores till noon or till we were finished before we could play. Even then, I always had to come in by 4:00 or 5:00 p.m. to be bathed, have my hair washed and curled, and sit under the dryer to prepare for church the next morning. Remember those big, prickly curlers and those large, loud hair dryers with the cap? Momma always put Wagon Train on TV, but I couldn’t hear over the loud noise of the dryer, and when I tried to lie down and nap, the prickly curlers would wake me up.

My mom may have been strict, and she may have made me wear those prickly curlers, but she was, to this day, the most godly person I’ve ever known. She took every opportunity to teach me, never even letting her health issues stop her. I remember one time when the neighbor kid’s cousin, Nancy, was visiting. Nancy and I just didn’t like each other, and she liked pushing my buttons! Well, this summer’s day, they came over and Nancy proceeded to pick some of my flowers (which were actually weeds). I explained that I didn’t want them picked, but she didn’t care. She started picking them again, just to spite me. I raised my hand to slap her on the back as hard as I could, when all of a sudden, I heard Momma call from the house, “Lisa Lynn, come here!” As much as I tried to reason with Momma that I hadn’t really been about to do what she thought, I still met with that rod again.

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You have to understand that my momma was raising us kids correctly—God guided, with her every ounce of being. She did odd jobs to help ends meet while my daddy worked on boats and was gone for weeks at a time. She painted and sold paintings, decoupage, and other things, like Avon products. We kids helped in whatever ways we could. Momma also worked at the school cafeteria and cooked at the summer youth church camp, allowing me to go even though I was too young. Momma always catered to me and definitely sheltered me, but most importantly, she made sure we knew about salvation and where it came from. I would protest, “But Momma, Jesus is alive in my heart!” and she would say, “One day, Lisa Lynn, you’ll understand and know in your heart what you need to do.”

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It wasn’t all wonderful and perfect, even though Momma tried hard to make it that way. We were very poor, although I didn’t realize it until I got a homemade Mrs. Beasley doll (like the one in the 1960s sitcom Family Affair). All of my friends and even my cousin got the real thing. I was ashamed of mine and my Momma knew it. I realized years later just how precious that Mrs. Beasley doll really was, but I never got the chance to tell her. I had always thought Momma just loved to sew and that’s why she’d made me a one-of-a-kind Mrs. Beasley doll, as well as Barbie clothes and my own clothes. I hadn’t realized it was because we had so little money.

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Momma didn’t tell me about a lot of things, leaving me very naive when she died, but she made sure I knew from the beginning about what was most important: She taught me about Jesus, and that all you have to do is call to Him! God has equipped you (Hebrews 13:21) and entrusted you with a special gift (Psalm 127:3): your children. Thank you, God, for the memories!

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My Momma and every memory of her, along with her love for God, will always be in my heart. Where is your heart?

Paragraphs taken from Chapter 2, Unraveled, Time to Tell by Lisa Lynn (pen name).

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