An individual kind of love

Published 10:24 pm Wednesday, May 6, 2015

By Tonya S. Swindell

“I love you,

love you,

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love you,

so very, very much and

like you, like you lots!”

Those are the words Mama says at the end of our conversations. She also calls the names of everyone in our immediate family and says how much she loves them too.

When I was growing up, a lot of my friends said, “Your Mama is so pretty!” or, “Your Mama is so nice! I wish she was my mom!”

In her heart, Mama “adopted” many of my friends and my brother’s friends, too. She still asks about a lot of them and stays in touch when possible. Recently I told someone that Mama is the same person around other people as she is when she’s at home with family.

Some words I use to describe her are smart, courageous, beautiful, forgiving, friendly, vivacious, sincere, lovely, special, snazzy, sweet, energetic, sentimental, inquisitive, awesome, gorgeous, pretty, likeable, faithful, consistent, spiritual, thoughtful and unique.

I realize everyone doesn’t have a relationship with their mother; but that makes me appreciate mine even more. I like her smile, her laugh, her hugs and the way she says, “Awwwww, baby” when she finds out I’m going through something or not feeling well. When I tell her I feel “OK,” but I really don’t, she listens and hears my voice.

I’m sure she says, “Something’s wrong with my baby,” to herself; but she waits for a better time to ask me how I’m feeling, then helps me through situations that caused me to feel that way.

To me, Mama’s the virtuous woman portrayed in Proverbs chapter 31 of the Bible. She is also a strong example of love as described in 1 Corinthians 13:3–7 from The Message Bible:

“Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always ‘me first,’ doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end.”

With eyes fixed on the person to whom she’s speaking and a huge smile on her face, Mama stretches out her arms and stands ready to deliver a warm hug.

Then, during our own little moment in time with her she says to each one of us individually: “You are beautiful inside and out, and I can see the love of Christ in you. You are smart. You are wise. You are kind. You are important; and you are very, very loved.”

What more can I say? God is love (1 John 4:8), and so is Mama.

Tonya Swindell is a blogger at and a teacher for Kingdom Building Equipping School ( Email her at