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Son reflects on life of his mother, Liz Lemon Swindle

By Steevun Lemon

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, May 8 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

Editor's note: The following is an excerpt from the book "Life Lessons from Mothers of Faith," published by Covenant Communications.

Of all the lessons my mother taught me, perhaps the one that has made the biggest difference has been her faith that after we have done all that we can do, God will make up the difference.

She taught me this from a very young age. I remember when I was 7 years old, I awoke one night from a bad dream. Like any scared child, I wanted my mother, and I knew just where to find her. I walked down the hall to the old storage room where she painted. When I opened the door, she was there, hunched over her easel. When she saw me, she put down her brush, picked me up and kissed me. Her voice was all the comfort I needed, and I fell asleep in her arms.

At the time, I didn’t think much of my mother’s late-night painting. That was just what she did. A couple of years later, I was at my friend’s house and got curious. I was opening all the doors in the basement, and when his mother asked me what I was doing, I replied with my own question, “Where’s your easel?”

“My what?”

“Your easel.”

“I don’t have an easel.”

“Then where do you paint at night?” I asked.

Up until that point, I had assumed that everyone’s mother had an easel in the basement and painted at night. Many years later, I was thinking back on those late nights and wondering why my mother had chosen to paint at night instead of during the day when it would have been easier on her. I will never forget her answer.

She said, “I knew that raising a family was the most important thing I would do in this life, and I didn’t want the art to interfere with that. I also knew I needed the Lord’s help as an artist, and I could only expect him to do his part if I did mine. So I made a choice when I had children that I would only paint after I put you all in bed. I did my part, and the Lord did his.”

I realized in that moment that Mother had spent a lifetime giving so quietly that I had never seen her late-night vigil as a sacrifice. Truly, those long, lonely hours were her legacy of faith. It is that same faith that runs in and through each one of her children. My mother’s trust in the Lord is woven into who we are and how we live.

Click here for more excerpts from "Life Lessons from Mothers of Faith."

Steevun Lemon is the managing director of Foundation Arts, a Christian art publisher, and lives in American Fork with his wife and five children.

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