The Four of Us Kids Did Our Best to Keep Mom Praying

I can’t say any of us kids made it easy on my mom. One thing is for sure, we kept mom on her knees. I guess you could say it was our unintentional way of helping her grow closer to the Lord.

My Mom, Virginia Gudgel, Enjoying Another Day
My Mom, Virginia Gudgel, Enjoying Another Day

Fortunately for us, God gave her strength beyond ours and wisdom beyond hers. With all the work we didn’t do, mom should have been overwhelmed. But she wasn’t. She was like the Energizer bunny – she just kept going and going and going.

The Courage to Speak Up

Wisdom. Mom had it. Beyond her years. I attribute it to the insights God gave her when she needed it most. Like the time she sat me down on the diving board and gave me a “talking to.” I deserved it. And I needed it.

I had just finished high school with a mediocre GPA. It didn’t reflect my abilities. It was more like a record of my apathy. Mom could see that college was about to produce more of the same.

Mom said, “David Ray, get on the diving board.” You’ve heard of walking the plank? I had no idea what she was up to, but the fact that she used both my first and middle name, and by the gaze in her eyes, I knew she meant business. So I got on the diving board.

Mom sat down next to me. Then she told me to scoot toward the water. I was fully clothed and started to think she was going to push me in. She didn’t, but she made me scoot to the edge of the board so there was only water below me.

In that “no way out” position, mom let me have it – in words. “David Ray, I am not going to let you start college the way you finished high school…”

What followed hit me like a ton of bricks which is why I still remember it to this day. Mom was right. I was wasting my life. Not realizing my potential. Something drastic in me needed to change.

The Need to Hear and Do

Proverbs 1:8 says, “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” Moms teach by what they say and by what they do. But the big question is whether or not kids like me listen.

With Mother’s Day coming up I decided to make a list of Ten Things Mom Taught Me. Here’s what came to mind.

  1. To clean up after myself (that wasn’t easy for me)
  2. To love God (like she did)
  3. To enjoy life (laugh, laugh, laugh)
  4. To show up on time (she was always late!)
  5. To make time for family (like mom did)
  6. To get along with others (beginning with my brothers)
  7. To pray constantly (especially when you have kids)
  8. To take vacations (even if it means going into debt)
  9. To persevere (when life is tough)
  10. To do my best (in school or whatever)

I could add more but you get the idea. Moms teach; kids need to listen, learn, and live differently.

The diving board conversation changed the course of my life. I’ve been better ever since because of it. Thanks mom for being a mom who did your best. I am better for it.

by Dave Gudgel