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Young girls received wonderful advice from wise women. Collage by United Methodist Communications. Photos courtesy of Morgan Stafford, Vera Moore, Dee Dee Cobb Photography, The Rev. Marietjie Odendaal, and United Methodist Elder Care of Rhode Island.

Collage by United Methodist Communications.

Young girls received wonderful advice from wise women with much to share.

‘Is God mad at me?’: Motherly advice for tough questions

A UMC.org Feature by Susan Passi-Klaus*
May 5, 2015

United Methodists believe we have a responsibility to help every person reach his or her fullest potential. One way to support others is to encourage conversation, especially between people of different ages and life experiences.

Carola, 7th grade

Melissa asked, “What is the key to living a good life?” Photo courtesy of Morgan Stafford.

We invited young girls from around the United States to ask their deepest questions to older women from around the world. Their "grandmotherly wisdom" follows. 

“How do I know God is real?” Carola, 7th Grade

Christ’s Foundry United Methodist Mission, Dallas, Texas

“Since you were very small you have been raised by godly parents and while you are growing up you trust what your mom and dad teach you. Then as you grow older you just start to explore and figure things out for yourself. God is with you all along this journey providing experiences that hopefully lead you to him. Sometimes believing in God comes easily and other times it takes longer, but God sticks with you.” Lou Samford, Age 90, Christ United Methodist Church, Franklin, Tennessee

“Did Jesus kiss people?” Roxie, 1st Grade

United Methodist Church, Sherman Oaks, California

Vera Moore

Vera Moore gives great advice about hugs and kisses. Photo courtesy of Vera Moore. 

“Yes, Jesus kissed some people. Jesus had the ability to know if people wanted to be kissed or not. Great-grandmother is not as smart as Jesus and so may want to kiss you when you’d rather not be kissed. Great-grandmother needs you to tell her if you’d rather be hugged than kissed or if you’d rather not be touched at all. An across-the-room blown kiss is often just a good as a touching kiss or a hug. Great-grandmother is like Jesus in that most of all she wants to see you smile, be polite, and eager to help those in need. Oh, just as you talk to Jesus in your prayers, Great-grandmother likes to hear your voice. Call me sometime, but talk to Jesus morning, noon and night. Here’s a kiss that will not leave my mark on you.” Vera Moore, Age 77, Christ United Methodist Church, Mobile, Alabama

“How do I know if something is wrong and God is mad at me?” Cadence, Kindergarten

Hillcrest United Methodist Church, Nashville, Tennessee

Cadence

Kindergartener Cadence wants to know how she call tell if God is unhappy with her. Photo by Dee Dee Cobb Photography. 

“Your parents, grandparents and teachers all try to teach you the right thing to do. So if someone asks you to do something – like copy another person’s schoolwork or take something that doesn’t belong to you – you probably already know it is wrong. But God forgives us, even when we make mistakes. That doesn’t mean we should do wrong on purpose; it means we should try our very best to do the right thing and to talk our friends into doing the right thing, too. Unlike some people we know, God doesn’t stay mad at us. God loves us a whole bunch – always!” Barbara Dunlap-Berg, age 65, Hillcrest United Methodist Church, and grandmother of Cadence

“What if I never find someone to marry me?” Amy, 7th grade

United Methodist Church, New York, NY

“Then you’ll find lots of people who need a good friend and you’ll discover amazing things to do with your time. God will make your life beautiful in all kinds of surprising ways.” 
The Rev. Marietjie Odendaal, 50-ish, United Methodist pastor in Switzerland

The Rev. Marietjie Odendaal

The Rev. Marietjie Odendaal is a United Methodist pastor in Switzerland. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Marietjie Odendaal.

“Will my hamster go to heaven?” Rebecca, 1st grade

Brentwood United Methodist Church, Brentwood, Tennessee

“God created all the animals on the earth and commanded us to take care of them. Pets are such an important part of our lives and they give us the same unconditional love that God does. I believe there’s a very special place in heaven for all the wonderful pets we have loved.” Nancy Edmunds, age 62, Christ United Methodist Church, Franklin, Tennessee

“Dad and I get along fine, but mom and I don’t talk much. I don’t think she likes me. How can I improve our relationship?” Anonymous, 13

United Methodist Church youth group, Delaware

“One thing I have done since my kids were babies is to have a 'heart-to-heart spot' where we can share and talk. Our special space is the seldom-used living room where I keep my angel collection. My granddaughters love it there. Even when they are upset with me or with each other, I usually find them there – then we talk! They may be getting too big for lap sitting (and I may have less lap to sit on than I used to) but we can sit side-by-side on the loveseat and hug. As they get older, they do often tell me I ‘talk too much’ so I try hard to LISTEN more. Maybe you can convince your mom to meet you in a heart-to-heart place and use your time together to share your feelings.” Donna Sue Brown, age 68, Leeds United Methodist Church, Childs, Maryland

Daniela

First grade student Daniela asked why the Bible seems hard to read. Photo courtesy of Morgan Stafford. 

“Why is the Bible so hard to read?” Daniela, 1st Grade

Christ’s Foundry United Methodist Mission, Dallas, Texas

“It’s boring to listen to conversations about people and things we don’t know. But if we are patient and hang in there, we get clued up and can join in the conversation. Then it’s not boring at all. The Bible is just like that. As long as we aren’t part of the conversation, it’s difficult. So get to know what it’s talking about and get into the conversation. You’ll discover yourself how fascinating and fun it is.” The Rev. Marietjie Odendaal, 50-ish, United Methodist pastor in Switzerland

“Because you’re not supposed to read it until you’re old enough to understand it.” Irene Silva, 88, United Methodist Elder Care, East Providence, Rhode Island

“What is the key to living a good life?” Melissa, 6th Grade

Christ’s Foundry United Methodist Mission, Dallas, Texas

Edna Ripley

Edna Ripley advises, "Fill your life with love." Photo courtesy of United Methodist Elder Care, Rhode Island. 

“Good attitude.” Terry Debuque, 89, United Methodist Elder Care, East Providence, Rhode Island

“Getting along with people,” Irene Silva, 88, United Methodist Elder Care, East Providence, Rhode Island

“What should I do with my life?” Yesenia, 7th Grade

Christ’s Foundry United Methodist Mission, Dallas, Texas

“Fill your life with love.” Edna Ripley, 87, United Methodist Elder Care, East Providence, Rhode Island

What good advice have you received from mother figures in your life? Please share with us in the comments below. 

“Fill your life with love.” Wise advice to a teenage girl from an 87-year-old woman. #UMC #MothersDayTWEET THISTWEET THIS

*Susan Passi-Klaus is a freelance writer based in Nashville, Tenn.
News media contact: Joe IovinoUMC.org Content Manager for United Methodist Communications, 615-312-3733.