I just finished answering a series of questions about my mother and it put me in a nostalgic mood. The questions were part of a video that a young woman in our church is preparing for Mothers’ Day in May. She prepared one for Christmas and did such a great job that we are making use of her giftedness again.
I don’t know how many people my mother impacted throughout her life but there were quite a few. When I was in my early twenties, my wife and I attended the same church as my mom for a short period of time. One day I decided that I would visit the older people in the church, many of whom had a difficult time getting out on Sunday morning.
I set out to visit each of them over the course of about a week. To my surprise, I had the same basic conversation with each one. I would arrive at the house, knock on the door and be invited in. I would say hello and the person whom I was visiting would return my greeting. I would thank them for seeing me and they would look me in the face and ask when my mother was coming for a visit. I soon realize that I could have skipped the entire visit. They would have appreciated me much more if I had just arranged my mom’s schedule so that a visit with them was part of it.
I got a new appreciation for my mother that day. I realized that in many ways she was the life line that kept these folks connected to the church and to the town. I was going to visit these people somewhat out of duty. My mom loved and cared for them and was loved in return. That was the day when I stopped seeing my mom as my mother and saw her as someone from whom I could learn what it meant to live out my Christian life.
She wasn’t perfect
I love my mother and am thankful for all the things that she did for me over the course of her life. In many way she was a remarkable woman but she was far from perfect.
She could be stubborn. When she decided that she had the truth, there was nothing that was going to change her mind. She was a dyed in the wool dispensationalist. In her mind there were only two groups of biblical scholars: those who were dispensationalist and those who were wrong. Those who were wrong, she simply wrote off and totally ignored.
I lost my dispensational belief when I was a student in Bible college. This isn’t the place to explain why I made that choice but I think that I presented my mother with one of her greatest dilemmas. She had always written off anyone who disagreed with her but she had a difficult time writing off her own son. We had many interesting discussions around what we believed but to the day she died, she didn’t agree with me but she didn’t reject me either. I think that it shows that love can overcome even theological differences if the love is strong enough.
I could talk about other faults that my mom had but there isn’t time or space here. She was far from being perfect but so is every other person who has ever lived. When I talk about my mom’s weaknesses, I’m not running her down. I’m just recognizing that she was human.
She was special
I am so thankful that God gave me the mother that he did. She was responsible for the foundation of faith upon which I have built my walk with God. I looked at her when I was growing up and saw what it meant to be a Christian.
Mom had a tough life. I’m not going to go into the specifics but she faced a host of problems. In the midst of those problems she raised eight children which is a handful all by itself.
I never saw my mother’s faith waver, not even once. In the midst of the toughest of times, she knew that God loved her with a depth of love that was displayed at the cross and she never for one minute questioned that love. I hear people ask “why” when they face difficulties and I am thankful that I saw a living example of trust that has carried me through the toughest times that I have faced.
When faced with problems of his own, the Apostle Paul said that God’s grace was sufficient to carry him through. My mom lived her whole life in the reality of that truth.
Thank you, God
As I have written this entry I have gone though a range of emotions. There have been a few times when the tears were just on the edge of my eye lid as I thought about my mom’s impact on my life. There were times when I wished that I could have had one more theological discussion with her. Mostly though I have been deeply thankful that God gave me the mother that he did. I am thankful for the foundation of faith that she passed on to me. I am grateful for the many things that she did over the years to express her love for me.
I remember my mother telling me that I was prayed for from the moment that I came out of the womb and that she had continued to pray for me ever since. I have a feeling that I was probably prayed for even before my birth. As I said earlier I don’t know how many people my mother influenced but I do know that I was one of them and for that I am deeply thankful.
My mom wasn’t perfect but I am so glad that God doesn’t use perfect people. He used people like my mother who with all their imperfections have a deep desire to be used. Remember that a perfect God builds his kingdom using imperfect people like us.