BY JESSICA LANDMON (AND LOUISE ANDERSON)
With Mother’s Day just behind us, I really started to think about how truly blessed I am to have my mother as my mom. She has trained me in the things of God and been an example of what living a life devoted to Him really looks like. I also realize that not everyone is so fortunate. So, I decided to share some of her wisdom with all of you. Join me as we “Get Real” with Louise Anderson – my mother, my friend.
In what moment did you know that Jesus was real?
I was brought up a Catholic, attended church regularly, and lived in a home where God was revered. I accepted the Lord in my early 20’s without any pastor, televangelist, or person witnessing to me. It was me alone and the Holy Spirit convicting me, and I knew I needed a savior – a personal relationship.
But, it wasn’t until I had a serious heart illness a few years later and given months to live that I knew HE was real – I mean really real. I was in a coronary care unit in the hospital when HE appeared to me quietly; no words were spoken, and we just gazed at each other. Immediately after that my condition improved, and I knew that the Lord was personal. He totally healed me. I never, ever want to miss an opportunity to share that.
You've served the Lord for many years, what wisdom can you pass along to younger women or newer believers that you wish you knew back then?
I would not necessarily do anything differently, but definitely pray more. Pray, Pray, Pray and Pray specifically. The reason I say pray specifically is because I did not realize how under attack from the spirit of darkness our children are. The drugs, porn, bullying, insecurities, and sexual permissiveness are rampant.
My husband and I prayed together every morning in agreement for their safety. We anointed them with oil every day before they left for school. Even if he was in Europe on business, he would call me and we would pray for them over the phone. Now my children do the same thing. They pray the promises of Psalm 91 every day and so do I. I encourage you to read it and claim HIS promise for you and your family.
Where has your faith been challenged the most? How did you overcome?
Waiting for God to answer prayers and seeing that sometimes the answer is no. It is God’s way, and that is PERFECT.
What do you think is the secret to living a life devoted to Christ?
The more time you spend in prayer and in quiet time seeking Him, the more you will be able to hear HIS voice, and HE will direct your paths. Read the Bible. Read other Christian books, and go to Bible-centered small groups. You learn so much in an informal way. Plus, watch some Christian TV. What you feed your spirit will grow. Ask the Lord to give you strength to stand for the things of God. HE will. Your children will notice and do the same!
As a mother to two and now grandmother to four all serving the Lord, what parenting advice would you like to offer our moms?
It was tough then, but nothing like what moms are facing now! But before I address the moms, I have some advice for the Grandmas – please don’t just pray for your grandchildren, but pray for their parents too. We never had to deal with what our children and grandchildren are dealing with.
Moms, ask your children lots of questions, not in an interrogative way, but in a way that shows you are interested in what is going on in their lives. Don’t over react when they tell you things. Otherwise, they will stop communicating. Don’t turn everything into an opera.
Be a nosey mom. I will NOT apologize for this. Find out about the kids they are hanging around with. Nowadays, you can check out their Facebook pages and other social media accounts. Look at their history on their computer too.
Volunteer at their schools. Talk to other parents, and get to know them. Go to their games, recitals, and activities. Show your kids that you support them. Have their friends at your house. Not all parents hold the same standard of TV watching, activities, or even their safety as you might. Lots of parents are “cool with activities.” They may have adapted a more nonchalant attitude. This is not what the Word of God holds us to do.
Have dinner together at a table as much as possible. We always talked and discussed things at great length during dinner. We also laughed and played a lot of games. We even had an occasional food fight. Praise God for washable wallpaper in the 80's!
Remember what it was like to be young. I had pool parties, sleepovers, and yes, cake fights. You are their parents, but you can still be fun. Be creative with their birthday parties. I know my daughter and daughter-in-law plan the best parties with themes and activities.
Take them on your vacations. I know all the books say that you need your time, and of course that is true, but please take them away. There is nothing more exciting than watching your children’s face as they are on vacation. Bring them in on the planning too. You just can’t buy those memories!
Make the holidays memorable – not just big presents, but develop traditions – your traditions. Don’t be a scrooge at Christmas and complain how busy you are. Celebrate it with gladness. Remember, it is our Savior's birthday.
Take your kids out to dinner – not just fast food. Get dressed up and have fun. It does not have to be expensive. They will learn at a young age how to behave. Plus, you can laugh when you tell them that the escargot that they ordered (and now love) is snails!
Be generous. My mom always said that if you don’t bless your children, don’t expect others to. Be generous with your time as well. Remember, you never get these days back.
Speak blessings into their lives. That is what the prophets of old did. Be an encourager. Don’t poo poo their ideas. Each child is different. You are different from your siblings. And, their dreams may not be your dreams.
Pray specifically that God would fulfill their destinies. Pray that the Lord would open doors that they should go through and close doors that they should not.
Pray for their spouses now. God has ordained the perfect spouse for your children. Pray for strong marriages. Pray that they would be Godly parents, good providers, and they would serve the Lord.
God heard my prayers and gave us the most extraordinary in-laws in the world. Like the scripture says He will do exceedingly, abundantly more than you ever hoped or dreamed. Some people do not know who are the in-laws and who are my children. I just LOVE that! Forgive me, but I prayed that they would be smart too. I did not want dumb grandchildren.
Don’t be too proud to say you are sorry and you are wrong. Sometimes you are.
Don’t be the parent that is legalistic. I have seen that in the Church too often. Too many rules can cause kids to rebel once they get on their own in college. Let them go to dances and movies. Just monitor it. I told my daughter you can dance like a lady or a “tomato,” but I will find out. I told my son to always act like a gentlemen.
Talk to your kids honestly and frankly. Don’t let them hear things from the world.
Take them to church and get them in Sunday School and Youth Group. They need to hear the Word of God. Plus, they will develop Christian friends with the same like-minded faith and learn that they are not alone.
Teach them to tithe! In Malachi 3, it tells us to give a tithe (10% of our income – gross) to the Lord. The best promise of the tithe is that HE will rebuke the devourer for your sake. Come on MOM, don’t we want that for our children. HE will open the windows of heaven and pour you out blessings that there is not room enough to contain.
I taught that to my children at a very young age. When they got allowances, they always tithed. As a result, God was and still is always faithful. When my children graduated college, lots of kids did not have jobs right away. But Praise God, they both had good jobs with good salaries and signing bonuses. And Mom, if you are not tithing, I suggest you start. We all need those promises of God.
Love their DAD . . . show him respect. God called him to be the head of the house. Watch your tongue. If you have an argument and the children hear it, it is okay. Parents can argue and still love each. Children learn what they live.
Lastly, the most important thing is to not let a day pass without telling your children how much you love them and how proud you are of them.
Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. - Proverbs 22:6, NKJV