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“The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness. When you become a mother, you are no longer the center of your own universe. You relinquish that position to your children.” ~ Jessica Lange

Have you ever noticed it’s the people who are the most important to you that you thank the least? You automatically thank cashiers, waiters, the lady in the toll booth and the fella providing peanuts at the ballgame. But when is the last time you consciously chose to make a display or gesture of gratitude to recognize someone who has deeply impacted your life through theirs?

My friends, this weekend we celebrate the women who have most profoundly shaped the course of our lives: our moms.

Mothers deal with the challenges of their children. Mothers endure long, sleepless nights. Mothers experience anxiety over their children’s health, dreams and fears. They pray and plan so that their children’s lives can somehow be even better than their own lives have been. Mother’s give of themselves emotionally, physically, financially, relationally and without a doubt: constantly. And this is all before their child is even born!

Moms are leaders. They have the compassion to kiss away the falls of life; the wrath to fight the wrongs their children are faced with; the resilience to stay up and comfort, soothe and rock back to sleep; the humor to laugh at themselves, their children and their challenges; the vision to realize opportunity when others see limitations; the empathy to listen without judgment; the wisdom to share life-changing encouragement; and the faith to know that regardless of today’s challenges, the best is yet to come.

Today I celebrate two of the finest leaders I know.

First, I celebrate my mom. My four sisters, brother and I have enjoyed our lives from the center of her universe – until her grandbabies were born! Now we have to share; but the amazing thing is as our family has grown through the years she continues to comfort, soothe and rock us all with her boundless love.

Mom, thank you for guiding me as a precocious little boy through childhood, for shepherding me through the dark times after being burned, for encouraging me through adolescence and into adulthood and for rejoicing with me in the many blessings of life since. Mom, thank you.

And I celebrate my wife, my friend and the mother of my four babies, Beth. The reason her I can speak around the country and the world is because of her incredible leadership in our family. She does more clothes washing, elbow bandaging, homework doing, carpooling, meal cooking, dish cleaning, prayer offering, tooth fairing, nose wiping, shoe tying and diaper changing than I can fathom. Through it all she “is patient. She is kind. She does envy or boast” of her innumerable accomplishments in a single day. She is the epitome of love from 1 Corinthians 13. Beth, I love you.

So what do you say to the people who most profoundly impact your life? How do you thank someone who pours into you everything they have every day of their lifetime? This weekend is your chance. Call your mom, grandmother, godmother, mother of your children or any other mother figure and simply say thank you and I love you.

Or, you could live the love and leadership she has modeled for you and you could share with her exact what it has meant to live at the center of her universe each day of your life.

How has your life been shaped by the love of your mother? Please share in the comments below.

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Live Inspired Together is a community of friends changing the world together, starting with their own. In a world that often focuses on negativity, John O’Leary - Live Inspired shares the other side of the story through his member-supported channels (essays, Live Inspired Podcast, video, webcasts, social platforms) to connect our community and share inspiration and actions to live it. Support now.