Lord, your love has been poured out into my heart through the Holy Spirit.

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Frankly Phyllis

Being A Mom

"It's becoming apparent that you're becoming a parent and it's very becoming!" That's my favorite greeting card to send mothers in waiting. Whether you're waiting, or in the full-fledged role of mommy, please join my visit with Dr. Jean Garton this Mother's Day. We're talking about "What Did You Expect?" from motherhood. It's a candid look at what we felt prepared for -- and what we didn't!
Jean Garton became my mentor when I was a young mom with four kids. On one rare evening out friends had talked me into driving two hours to hear a woman speak about life issues to hundreds of people familiar with her message and her style. I was hooked in the first five minutes and have been ever since. I made my friends wait for me in the car while I stood in line to shake Jean's hand and tell her how she had just shaken my world with her rhetoric, nailing issues from a biblical perspective. I was struggling with an extended-family matter at the time and asked if I could write to her. She nodded yes. She not only answered me, but also soothed my anxious spirit with sage advice that worked out exactly as she said it would.

When I began to develop as a speaker and writer, Jean was there for me to bounce ideas around and she has befriended me all the way. My dream come true was to share the podium as keynote speakers on several occasions. Her personal mentoring showed me how, and I owe her much for the many opportunities I've taken to do that with some ease. My goal is to share the non-anxious presence of Christ, like Jean does. There's something contagious about being around people like that. I stand in awe of this woman's accomplishments. Over the last 46 years, often when somewhere remote in one of 42 different countries, Dr. Garton has addressed family, education and social issues each and every week. Her Ph.D. is in literature and she's written more than 200 magazine and journal articles, as well as the book, Who Broke the Baby? She does not live in an ivory tower, however. She's right here on the ground with the rest of us moms. She and her husband have four children, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

The older I get, the more I discover that women appreciate someone older simply being there for them. Now that my doctors all look like they're just about old enough to drive, there's an increasing opportunity for mentoring. It's easy to find someone younger than I am! The idea, however, is not to take on the whole shooting match, but just contribute what you can naturally and with a listening ear. We don't have to have answers and fix everything. Guys do that really well! Our niche seems to be to encourage and build up, to say, "Yes, you can. How can I help?" And you know what? You can start doing this in your 30s! After all there are still girls behind you in their 20s.

You may never get a thank-you note ... although you might. I saw a woman the other day that I'd included in something I did, in a natural way that was fairly easy. I meant it to encourage her. I didn't hear back, but she thanked me at the time. Now, weeks later, she tells me, "That was one of the most wonderful days of my life!" It takes very little to encourage someone.

Sometimes I think I'm such a mom with everybody. But that's not it exactly. It's more about just loving people consistently, without reservation and for who they are. We are all so desperate for that and it's so rare that when we find it we notice and respond. Frankly, I find it just as meaningful to be that for others, whether they call me "Mom" or not!

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