Anyone who knows my mother, Elouise, will attest that she is a straight shooting, Spirit led, kind hearted, Diana Ross hair wearing, Patti Labelle loving, no nonsense, kingdom minded, giving, hilarious, “Get Yo’ Life”, woman of God. Even the most articulate of words won’t allow me to express the gratitude that I have for her. I am privileged to be her daughter and could not have asked for a better mother, teacher and friend. She is the primary reason why I am who I am today!
Thus, in honor of Mother’s Day, I have decided to revisit a list that I compiled prior to my 30th birthday of 30 life lessons that my mommy has taught me. Enjoy😊
1) If you fall down, get back up! -Although my sister and I grew up with our parents being very active in ministry, my mother never made us feel like mistakes were the end of the world. Don’t get me wrong. She did reiterate that there were consequences for every action. But she also let us know that life isn’t always about the mistakes because mistakes will happen. But, life is about your ability to learn, recover and grow from your mistakes.
2) No matter what people do or don’t do, keep your heart pure! – This is a DAILY prayer because life and people will have your emotions all out of whack ! In the words of King David, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew and steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51: 10 AMP) My mommy constantly reminds me to examine my motives and ensure that my heart is pure before the Lord. She often says that it’s the matters of the heart that affect every aspect of life. If your heart is tainted, heavy and/or unsettled, your mind, soul, spirit and actions will all follow suit.
3) People aren’t permanent, not even me. -From a young age, my mommy taught me that death and change are inevitable. She always spoke of “getting your house in order” for tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone. As much as I hated the conversation, she always let us know that there could possibly come a day when she would no longer be with us.
4) Always do something for yourself because you deserve it. – Every mother knows the importance of this! With the demands of marriage, parenthood, career and ministry, sometimes I forget about me. Whether it is a biweekly mani-pedi, a hair appointment or monthly lunch date with the girls, I am reminded that “me” time is an absolute must!!!
5) Never be afraid to speak up for yourself. You have a voice –use it (wisely). Some may find this hard to believe, but there was once a time when I didn’t always speak up. My little sister, Ashley, was often my mouthpiece. Without any hesitation, my sister would articulate how I felt. I admit, that even now, I’m not always apt to verbally communicate everything that I’m feeling. My mommy has always reminded me that verbally expressing my feelings is of the uttermost importance. For in the words of Iyanla Vanzant, “You cannot heal that which you do not speak.”
6) Don’t lose sight of your dreams and God given purpose. – It is so easy to focus on everyone else and lose sight of everything that God has called you to do. Been there. Done that and probably still in trekking through this valley. I’m learning that apart of living a balanced life is ensuring that I am included in the equation. I should invest just as much time, energy and resources into accomplishing my dreams as I do in the support and building of the dreams of others.
7) Of all your relationships, place the highest value on the one you have with the Holy Spirit. In Him, you will find all that you need. – THIS IS EVERYTHING!!!!!!! The Holy Spirit is my Ultimate Source. When I’m not connected to Him, I’m literally out of gas. Without Him, I’m nothing. But with His guidance, strength, and grace I can do the impossible.
8) There’s nothing you can do to stop God or me from loving you. – I know that God’s love is incomparable and that nothing can separate me from His love. But I strongly believe that my mother’s love for me is next in line. I never fully understood her love for my sister and I until I had children of my own. Every sacrifice she made. Every dream that she deferred. Every tear she cried. Every prayer that she whispered or yelled out in tongues. Every container of anointing oil she slung all over my sister and I – it all makes sense now.
9) Just because you were born out of wedlock does not give me or you an excuse to act like a fool. – My mommy is not here the pity parties and sob stories. She is a firm stickler for not allowing your past to define your future. She did not allow my biological father’s absence to prevent her from being a great mother or me from being an extraordinary child or adult.
10) You are “Lady Margaret” so you betta act like it! –You will never eva’ eva’ eva’ “cash/catch me outside!” Elouise didn’t raise me to be yelling, screaming, cursing, fighting and carrying on like I don’t have good sense. (Well that is unless somebody messes with my children…..) She always said to me, “You are Lady Margaret!” Want to know more about Lady Margaret? Check out my bio on the About Page😊
11) Being a mother is a choice. A woman can have a child and never choose to be a mother. – #ISSAFact
12) Stop putting responsibilities on people that belong to God. – Drops mic. Cues shout music. Run around the church! #thatsaword#youbettacatchthatinyourspirit
13) You can’t do everything that everyone else is doing. You were not made for that. – It took me a while to learn this, but God has a very specific path for my life. For me to accomplish His will for my life and be the most authentic version of Margaret that I can be, I cannot do, say, wear, or go where everyone else goes. I must be true to whom God has created me to be. There is no need for me to compare, compete or copy anyone else because I am just who God created me to be. I am simply Margaret – that’s me!
14) Always keep the living room, kitchen and bathroom clean because you never know when company will stop by. – I live by this. However, don’t judge me that my bed is not made up or if my kids have toys all over their bedroom floor. You shouldn’t be in our rooms in the first place:)
15) If God tells you to do something, do it! You don’t know what He knows. -I believe that 1 Samuel 15:22 sums it up, “…obedience is better than sacrifice…”
16) Always have at least one good black dress and a nice pair of black heels.– And this is why most of my closet consist of black clothing and shoes. I am my mother’s child and black will always be my favorite color.
17) Take care of the things you have. If you have a shack, take care of it as if it were a palace. – I watched my mom maintain homes, cars, furniture, clothing and electronics for years beyond the expected lifespan. Although the products were aged, they still appeared and functioned as if they were brand new. My mother taught me the value of caring, preserving and appreciating the things you have in life.
18) Don’t spend every dime you have and make sure you pay your tithes. – In other words, pay yourself and pay the Lord.
19) Always look out for your sister. – It’s only my sister and I. And, it always will be. Although we are five years apart, my mother did everything in her power to ensure that Ashley and I developed a strong, healthy and close knit relationship. I literally talk with my sister almost every day and I never attend any event without first seeking her fashion advice.
20) Never think that you are better than anyone else. The tables can quickly turn.- Although my sister and I had a fairly comfortable, middle- class family life, my mommy made sure we knew that we were no better than anyone else. She never allowed us to become prideful or let our privileges go to our heads. We were constantly reminded of the principles of hard work, humility and the grace factor.
21) When you use something, put it back how and where you found it. – If you only know how many times I repeat this to my kids on a daily basis! It irks the daylights out of me when things are not in place.
22) Return things that have been loaned to you better than how you received them. – Simply put, nobody wants to have the items that they loaned to you returned in a soiled or broken state. Returning a loaned item in an unacceptable manner is downright disrespectful!
23) People don’t control your destiny, God does. – And for this, I am eternally grateful!!! If people controlled my future, I wouldn’t have one!!!
24) Put on a slip! – If my dress doesn’t have extra lining underneath it or if the daylight can reveal the things that only my man should be seeing, I’m putting on a slip! Call me old school, but a good ole’ slip has saved my soul on many of occasions! But stockings….no ma’am! The only stockings I own are fishnet…I’m just saying…lol.
25) Holidays are just one day. Celebrate the ones you love all year around. – My sister and I never grew up with extravagant Christmas or birthday celebrations. My mom always ensured that we were celebrated all year around. She consistently expressed how much we meant to her and never allowed one day to define her love.
26) A little makeup and high heel ain’t never hurt nobody! –I’m not a makeup guru. But I’ll surely thrown on some concealer, eye liner, lipstick, mascara and a pair of heals with the quickness.
27) Your children are not the same –so don’t treat them that way. They each have a specific path. Ask God what that is and do everything in your power to keep them on it. – As a mother of two children that have two very different personalities, this is quite challenging. It’s very easy to assume that what works for one should work for the other. Through prayer, partnership with my husband and the support of our families, I am very strategic about the schools, activities, and commitments that Ayanna and Jordan partake in. They are unique individuals with a distinct purpose. It is up to I, as their mother, to ensure that they discover and continue on a path towards greatness.
28) Give and don’t expect anything in return. – Need I say more? Although I do have a hard time with people not saying, “Thank you!”
29) There will always be a room for you at my house. – There is truly no place like home! Even though I am married, have a family and a home of my own, there’s no feeling like going back to my parent’s house….eating at my mother’s table…or laying across my parent’s bed. There’s an indescribable peace, comfort and familiarity that I find there and I am grateful that I’ll always have a home to return to.
30) Just because you are good at a lot of things doesn’t mean that you need to be doing a lot of things. People will milk you dry if you let them. Know your role and position in every season. – To be honest, this is a work in progress. I am often pulled in so many different directions that it becomes overwhelming. At times, it seems as if everyone wants a piece of Margaret’s time, attention, talent, creativity and/or skill. I am learning that just because people request something of me, does not mean that I am obligated to respond in their favor. I am learning that it is truly ok to say, “No.” Saying “No” does not make me lesser of a person but rather a wiser woman.