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Mom, You’re A Hero

May 12, 2019

What kind of a hard-hearted blogger would I be if I didn’t write something to moms on Mother’s Day?  I don’t want to be that guy.

Writing about moms isn’t a chore for me.  I had a great mom.  She was imperfect, and in many ways a broken person, the adult child of two alcoholic parents, married to a preacher.  It could have been more difficult for her, but not by much.  She gave it all she had.  I remember lots of weeks when she had to be supremely creative with what was left in the pantry because Dad’s paycheck hadn’t been written by the church treasurer yet (a problem many a preacher had in the 50’s and 60’s).  Rich Mullins had a line in one of his songs about his mom: She could make a gourmet meal out of cornbread and beans.  That was my mom.

She spent many hours at the kitchen table with me, the ADD boy (before ADD had been invented…), who didn’t want to bother to learn the multiplication tables when there was a hundred other more important things I could be doing.  But she sat there holding up the flash cards and bringing my wandering attention back to the task.  She sewed cowboy shirts for my brothers and me for picture day when I was in 4th grade.  She made an indelible impression on me for kindness and mercy by her kind and merciful treatment of everybody in her world.  Well, everybody but herself.  She never said it, but I think her motto could have been “soldier on.”

When all of us kids were finally grown and in our own adult lives with our own families, when she and my dad could (and planned to) travel and see the world, life made a very sharp turn for them.  She began a dark journey into a world where less and less made sense, and more and more got lost in the mist of dementia, a series of TIA strokes that left her unable to speak, and then, finally, Alzheimer’s Disease.  The last few times I saw her, I think she knew she knew me, but she wasn’t sure how or why.  If you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s, you know the heartache of this.  She died some years ago, the day before Easter.  I wept in sorrow, and mourned my loss.  And yet, I was grateful.  When she closed her eyes for the last time in her nursing home bed, she couldn’t remember where she was or who was with her.  But when she opened her eyes, she awoke in the embrace of Jesus.  She was delivered from the horrible life she had endured for 6 years.  She was fully, completely and perfectly restored in every way.  And this made me grateful and happy.

I could go on and on with a Mother’s Day eulogy for my mom, but I won’t.

There’s another mom I’ll take the remaining keystrokes for.  The mother of my three daughters.  If you know her, you know she’s very nearly omni-competent.

For the 17 years of my Youth Ministry career, she was pretty much a single parent.  I was busy raising everybody else’s kids, trying to make a mark for myself as a Youth Ministry superhero.  I write this with regret.  If I could somehow travel back in time and meet myself back then, I’d probably throttle me.  At the very least, I’d slap me hard enough to get my attention and try to cram some sense into my head.  But here’s one of the things that is most amazing to me about my wife, Debbie, the mother of our three daughters.  She never did to me what I think I would have done to me.  She loved me.  She cheered for me.  She believed in me.  She made me unspeakably better than I would ever have been if left to my own devices.

When the girls were preschool age, I would roll out of bed at the last possible second and dart through the house on my way to my office, and see her in the kitchen with three kids hanging on her, her Bible and notebook open on the table.  When I came home before heading out to a meeting or some other nighttime commitment, the Bible and notebook would be there where it was when I left.  She had her Quiet Time in snatches, sometimes a minute or two at a time when she could afford to not supervise the girls.  Frankly, she was a light year closer to God than I was.  She has passed this along to all three of our daughters.  Each of them now living fantastic lives with their own families, and each of them carrying that wonderful legacy their mom gave them of full devotion to Jesus, His Word and His Church.

She led, equipped, empowered and shepherded a team of 100 volunteers, to make sure 500 preschool kids were more than just babysat in church.  They were introduced to a loving Heavenly Father, His amazing Son, Jesus, and a church they begged to come back to every weekend.  And this in a mission field called Las Vegas.

All this she did without neglecting Becky, Katie, Jenny or me.  I marvel that she could do it.  But she did with grace and beauty.

I’m about to exceed my keystroke limit.  You can probably see that I’ve just scratched the surface, though.

If your mom is alive, do yourself the favor of reflecting on the ways God has used her to shape your life, and thank Him and her for it.  Even if she was far less than you had hoped for, or maybe incredibly and horribly less than you would have hoped for, she delivered you into the world.  Someday I’ll write about mother wounds, because they’re real, and they can be deep.  But on this Mother’s Day, if you can, call your mom and tell her you love her.

If you’re a mom, THANK YOU!  YOU’RE AWESOME!  EVEN WHEN YOU DON’T FEEL AWESOME AND DON’T FEEL APPRECIATED.  Especially then.  When you’re feeling like the Mt. Everest of laundry and the pile of dishes in the sink, along with the debris from the front door to the back door will hold you hostage for the rest of your life, it’s hard to feel like you can step out and take a bow for being so awesome.  But today, the entire western world has pushed the pause button to tell you, “Step into the spotlight, girl.  Take a bow.  You’re awesome!”  Breathe deeply of God’s grace, and soldier on.

From → Marriage, Parenting

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