Storing Up

“They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” (1 Timothy 6:18–19)

My mother grew things well.

Cranberry-colored ginger lilies with their coordinating green leaf ensemble wrapped exotic arms around the perimeter of our patio; periwinkle-blue morning glory blooms cascaded delicately across the entire length of the backyard fence; multicolored Gerber daisies commandeered six flower beds across the front lawn beneath the shade of giant fir trees and bougainvillea blooms. I still picture my mom after a long day at work, standing in her garden with the hose in hand, sprinkling the flowers with her special dose of care.

She labored beside my father in the family business, matching his passion and looking after their staff of ninety like a mother hen with a brood of chicks. Together they nourished the company, saw it prosper and expand, and knew the satisfaction that comes from overcoming obstacles and setbacks.

When their store burnt to the ground for the second time, and the smell of smoke and cinders became an unwelcome addition to our home, my mother rallied my father’s spirits and reminded him of their dream. Together they built their store back better than it ever had been before. Mummy lived out this truth: “An excellent wife who can find?. . . The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life” (Proverbs 31:10–12).

My mother’s gift of hospitality caused the college ministry of our church to flourish, and every Friday night for a decade or so, a hundred students gathered in our home. My mother made certain everyone had a plate full of delicious food to go with the nourishment of the Scriptures. All five of her children were expected to pitch in to make these Friday nights successful. Along the way, we learned what service looks like on the front lines. Within each of our hearts, Mummy planted the desire to serve; that garden is still bearing fruit.

My mother loved people well—all sorts of people, people others hardly saw. The grocery store clerks wept at her funeral. The garbage men who hauled our trash away on Monday mornings always enjoyed the food she carted out to them when their trucks rumbled by. They mattered. Everybody who came anywhere near her was served a slice of her kindness.

My mother left school early and never earned a college degree. She married at the tender age of sixteen, did very little traveling, and never saw her role as one that was particularly important. But she was unparalleled in the business of making lives flourish. As a young mom, she turned to the arms of the Savior and grew in the humility and grace only he provides. He poured himself through her, even through the difficult years when a stroke robbed her mobility. From the wheelchair, and maybe especially from there, she became a willing vessel to accomplish the “growing up” of a great many lives on earth.

Photo Credit: Rosie Kerr on Unsplash

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12 Comments

  1. Cathy Dunlop

    Beautiful tribute to your mother! What an example!❣️❣️

    Reply
    • Elizabeth Mitchell

      Thank you Cathy!

      Reply
  2. Abel Ndjerareou

    Uplifted vu your posts particularly about your dear mother. Though à boy I was so close To my mother learned à lot about greatfulness To Hot and To others.
    Hot bless you in order to bless us.

    Reply
    • Elizabeth Mitchell

      Thank you my friend

      Reply
  3. Cathy Anderson

    Elizabeth,

    This is one of the most uplifting stories I have read in a long time. The only one that equals it is the one you wrote about your father. This is the exact message that is needed in times like this! We all need lifting up right now.

    Cathy Anderson

    Reply
    • Elizabeth Mitchell

      Cathy I am so glad to hear from you. I pray He continues to encourage your heart!

      Reply
  4. Maxime

    Wow! What a legacy and what an homage! I wish I had known her!

    Reply
    • Elizabeth Mitchell

      Thank you Maxime. You always encourage me!

      Reply
  5. Bradley ANNE

    Thank you for sharing your mom’s beautiful legacy. It is clear now, how, you Elizabeth always make people feel special when they are near you. I never feel different around you. I pray that I would love others, no matter who they are feel loved and cared for. To Him be the glory!

    Reply
    • Elizabeth Mitchell

      Anne my dear friend. You are so easy to love and so wonderful to be around.
      I long for time with you.
      Thank you for your kind loving comment!

      Reply
  6. marcy kunf

    Your beautiful tribute to your mother is one reason why women’s ministry is so important. Around the world, women need to feel how much God loves them and how powerfully He uses them with the gifts He has given them. You continue that powerful legacy to not only your own precious family, but also to all the women you come in contact with

    Reply
    • Elizabeth Mitchell

      Thank you my friend. Your kind words mean so very much to me!
      Miss you around here

      Reply

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