About this series: Many years ago, we asked the matriarchs in our church to share “pearls of wisdom” they learned over the course of their walk with the Lord. We collected their stories in a booklet which we distributed through women’s ministries. My copy of the booklet is now tattered and faded, and many of the women quoted are home with the Lord.
To honor their wisdom and keep their words alive, I am sharing their pearls here before my booklet turns to dust or gets lost in the clutter of daily life.
I hope these words inspire you to share a cup of tea with an older woman in your church and listen to her pearls of wisdom.
Advice our mothers gave us
My mother was from the old school and knew a proverb (a wise saying) for every occasion. These little homilies, I now call “momilies” could fill a book. Some were from Scripture, like “Pride goes before a fall” and “You reap what you sow.” Many were moral teachings meant to drive home a point. Some still ring in my head: “If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing well” or “Make your words sweet because you may have to eat them” along with “Don’t cross that bridge until you come to it.” One I still repeat to myself is “To worry is not to trust; to trust is not to worry.” A good reminder! -Miriam Middleton
Let’s see, famous words from my mother… The most important thing in any marriage is pillow talk. How’s your husband to know your feelings if you don’t tell him? But, it’s no good saying anything to a man till you’ve fed him! On keeping a tidy home, my mother would say, “Don’t just leave things out; you’ll have to move them twice. Let your head save your heels.” -Mary Churchill
My mother had eight children and lived through the Depression. She taught us things that helped her when everything was not so plentiful. Among many were “Share what you have and it will return to you in a hundred ways;” “A penny saved is a penny earned;” “Willful waste makes willful want.” -Ruby Garnett
Advice to newlyweds, but applies to any couple: Don’t break bad news to your husband before dinner; feed him first. On visiting: “Leave the stage while they are still applauding.” (Don’t overstay your visits.) -Maggie Maranto
My mother taught me to appreciate the little things, like the lines of a violet, the color of a sunset or a single leaf. My father was a born pessimist, and if I happened to be 10 minutes late, he would pace the floor and say, “I know she’s in the ditch somewhere.” My mother would answer, “No, she’s probably stopped to look at the sunset.” And I had. My mother often said, “Cindy, don’t burn up your vital juices worrying about things you can’t change.” That’s really the Serenity Prayer. She was a great activist, so she told me to do something if you can, but if you can’t, don’t burn up those vital juices! -Lucinda Lally
During my first visit to my parents after my wedding, my mother gave me two pieces of advice:
- From now on, consider your mother-in-law as your mother. (She did so because in the back of her mind she had Ruth’s story.)
- Keep any issue that comes in your marital relation between your husband and you, and never share it with anybody else, even me.
I thank God, who helped me to follow these pieces of advice. They always helped me to keep good relations with my mother-in-law, and with my husband. -Noha Jarjour
“A stitch in time saves nine” was embroidered on a sewing machine coverlet when I was growing up. It has been part of my life for a long time and I try to practice it. Whether it is mending that small tear, scratch or conflict, “it” is so much easier to fix, or is more meaningful, sooner rather than later. Say “I’m sorry” or write that note before any more time passes; your words, and not some “store-bought” words are the best. This goes for “thank-yous” too. -Lori Butler
Here is one helpful pearl of wisdom my mother passed on to me. When responding by letter [or e-mail!] to someone regarding an emotionally charged situation, write your letter but do not mail it immediately. At least, “sleep on it” to give God time to calm any anger and to view the situation afresh. -Shirley Bading
Advice from my mother:
- Always, always treat others as you would like to be treated.
- Even though it may hurt, always tell the truth.
- Always, always wear clean underwear. You may be in an accident. -Gil Atkinson
If I could talk with one of my old teachers…
I would want them to know that my goal in college of the big money career and worldly acclaim changed and that I had been able to put in practice much of what they taught me. But also, I found the most challenging and rewarding career that I think a woman can have. To fall in love and marry a wonderful Christian man, have four children and nine grandchildren and be able to be a full time homemaker fills your life with bountiful blessings, joy and self fulfillment. -Ruby Garnett
If I could talk with one of my old teachers, I would tell her that I have done my best to follow her example in looking after the poor, and doing good whenever I was able to do it. -Noha Jarjour
Also in this series:
- Pearls of Wisdom: on Family
- Pearls of Wisdom: on Marriage
- Pearls of Wisdom: on Adjusting to the Empty Next
- Pearls of Wisdom: on Loving the spouses our children choose
- Pearls of Wisdom: on Parenting
- Pearls of Wisdom: on Loss
- Pearls of Wisdom: on Dreams Lost and Found
- Pearls of Wisdom: on the battle against materialism
- Pearls of Wisdom: on stretching pennies
Photo used here under Flickr Creative Commons.