When three precious ladies asked me to meet them for dinner in The Woodlands, I was fully expecting to talk about motherhood. What I didn’t expect was their answer when I asked them to describe the most challenging part of motherhood. And, if most moms feel the same way these three do, we have a major crisis on our hands. I hope this post will serve as a challenge to women everywhere. WE NEED EACH OTHER!!!!
For several hours, I sat and listened to these ladies share their desire and longing to have a seasoned mother walk alongside of them. They all emphatically shared that they longed to have someone to call, someone to watch, someone to listen. One mom even referred to it as “Reviving the Village.” I was stunned as they described the abandonment they felt from my generation. One mom shared that she had reached out to several women, asking them to mentor her and was turned down each time. She said that the responses ranged from, “I don’t have anything to offer, I am not qualified, or I don’t have time.” My heart broke. As they talked, I reflected on the women who impacted me in my early years.
As I thought about the variety of women who mentored me, I asked myself… Did they have time? Did they feel qualified? Did they feel as if they had anything to offer? These women ALL contributed to the woman I am today. Some met me for TCBY yogurt to talk about life and others invited me to join their Bible Study. Some invited me into their lives, their homes. One woman even invited me to join her family on vacation. Did they know they were shaping me as they spent time with my young self? Did they know that I was watching them, listening to their every word, and immensely learning from them?
I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with gratitude and sadness at the same time. I am so grateful for what I had and completely devastated at what they don’t. I decided I needed to write a public thank you to one of the women who impacted me the most. Her name is Debbie Mabry and she needs to know what she did for me. You all need to know what she did for me!
I am pretty sure I met your husband (Dr. Mike Mabry) before I ever laid eyes on you. I remember thinking he was the funniest doctor I had ever met. He joked with me as he examined the cyst on my wrist and helped me not worry as a young college freshman away from home. Soon I would meet you at church. I remember thinking you were stunning, so put together. You had such a soft voice and presence; I was in awe of you. At that moment, I had no idea that you would impact me in such a profound way. I am pretty sure that you never “chose” to mentor me, you just did. You invited me into your home, making me feel I belonged. You introduced me to your children, to adoption, to a loving family. As I watched you parent your children, I took note of the way you gently corrected them. As I listened to you talk like a giddy teenager about your husband and “get your makeup on” before you saw him, I knew true love existed. As I drove with you to the campus health center to deliver your husband’s dinner (so he could have a home cooked meal), on a tray with real silverware and a napkin, I took note of the helpmate you were to your man. When you invited a young, pregnant girl to live with you and I watched you love her as your own, I was forever changed (chills ran through my body as I just typed that). I witnessed unconditional love. I learned that giving is so much better than receiving. I was called to adopt, because of what I saw in you.
Debbie, I am grateful that you took the time to take me fishing, to sit at South Farm with me, and to cry with me. I am thankful for our many talks. The way you encouraged me to forgive those who had wronged me, to love those who were difficult to love and to befriend those who needed a friend. I am most grateful that you allowed me to just be with you… to absorb so many things by watching a seasoned wife, mother, and friend. I had NO idea at the time, what a gift those few years would be to me. Sometimes I wish I could just go back and sit at your feet a little longer.
Debbie, every time I share my tiny bit of wisdom with a young mom, I think of you. Every time I don’t feel I have the time to answer a call, text or message, I think of you. YOU always made time for me. I am sure you didn’t always feel like having a young college student sitting in your kitchen, but I never knew that. I never felt in the way. Thank you for pouring into me, so that I could pour into so many. YOU are impacting generations because you simply said YES to this one, college girl. I love you, Debbie. I pray that I grow up to be just like you!!
|Mike and Debbie during a visit to MSU a couple of years ago. We had to eat at Lil’ Dooey’s, one of my favorite restaurants during my college days.|
I am not sure where you are on your journey. Are you a young woman/mom longing to have this type of relationship with someone? Are you further down the road on your journey? No matter where you are, this post is for YOU. This post is to encourage YOU to connect with one another. If you are a seasoned mom, consider inviting a young woman or mom into your home. You ARE qualified. The only thing this job requires is willingness. I beg you to be willing to share what you know. Even if you are just five years further down the road than someone else, you are further. You have wisdom. You don’t have to add something to your calendar. Just invite her over to be a part of your day. She will learn so much just by watching and living alongside you. She isn’t looking for perfection. In fact, the imperfect you will speak to her in a powerful way. She will learn from your imperfections, from your honesty. She will learn that she has what it takes to do this, too.
If you are a single woman or young mom, be willing to ask a more seasoned woman/mom to mentor you. If she says she is unqualified or doesn’t have time, send her this post.
LADIES, let’s REVIVE the Village… we all need a Debbie Mabry in our life. This mothering gig shouldn’t be a competition, but a collaboration…we need each other!