I learned how to be a mom by watching my own mom and the moms of my teenage friends. There’s no one right way to do it. I seemed to understand that from a young age, yet there were certain things that I tucked away because they made a positive impact on me. I wanted to do them someday when I had kids of my own.

1. Bring cupcakes and fun napkins to school for their birthdays– even when they’re much to old to pass out treats.

2. Take a little road trip when it’s time to buy a prom dress. It’s fun to shop somewhere special. (All you WI people– my mom and I shopped on historic Mitchell Street in Milwaukee, does that still exist??).

3. Make a big deal about their artwork — even when it’s pretty terrible.

Here I am 40+ years old, with kids of my own, and I realize I’m still tucking away bits of information and learning from others.

The verses we’ve been memorizing for the last few weeks all come from two paragraphs in Philippians that I’ve been wanting to commit to memory for a while.

They’re all about rejoicing, being gentle, steering away from anxiousness, allowing the peace of God to settle us, and focusing our thoughts on positive things. (Check out Philippians 4:4-4:8 if you’ve missed them.)

Today’s verse is one I almost skipped over. I thought, do we really need that one little line tagged on the end? The other stuff is the powerful stuff.

But then I remembered my mom. And the other moms who prepared me for this motherhood job. And I realized, we must never stop learning from others. We must be on the lookout for awesomeness in action so we can continue to grow.

Paul says in his letter to the Philippian people, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:9 NIV)

Paul isn’t asking them to be like him just because he’s Paul. Paul knows God has transformed him into a true Christ follower. He wants the same for those people who are lost and hurting and having difficulties getting along in a world full of temptations.

He knew God could do that for them.

I know God can do that for us.

Yes, we read the Bible and get our instructions directly from God, but sometimes it’s nice to have an example in our current world of what it looks like to be like Jesus. What would Jesus do in this particular situation?

Unfortunately, no one is perfect. We will be disappointed if we look to one person to lead us. But if we broaden our gaze and start seeing Jesus in ALL the people around us, then we’re onto something.

Then we can learn to love and accept and be kind even when it’s hard. And before we know it, we won’t have to rely on our mental checklists of how a “good” Christian would behave. It’ll be our new nature.

And the God of peace will be with us.