A TRIBUTE TO MY MOTHER

 

Mother’s, I believe are one of God’s most wonderful gifts to mankind.  In the beginning, according to the Bible, God put Adam to sleep and performed miracle surgery, when He formed a mother out of Adam’s rib.  The Bible says that Eve was the mother of all the living.

I thought about Eve.  Can you imagine her wonder, when first she held that tiny life in her arms and cradled him close?  What did she think when she looked into Cain’s tiny, red, wrinkled face and heard his indignant wails of protest?  Baby Cain was the first baby the world had ever seen, the first baby Eve had ever seen.  For Adam and Eve were created full grown.  They knew nothing of infancy or childhood.

How did Eve know what to with this minute being God had given into her care?  She had no Doctor Spock to depend upon, no pediatrician to call, or learned child psychologist, no Gerber’s, no canned formula, and horror of horrors, no Pampers.  She couldn’t even call Mama, for she had no Mama.  Yet, she knew how to take care of this child, for God had planted the knowing in the breast of this woman, the world’s first mother.

We could, all of us, call the names of other Biblical mothers or mothers well known down through the centuries, but finally, and always, we arrive at our own mother.

I’m thinking of my mother today.  I sometimes called her “Maggie Lou” just to tease her.  That was her name, but she hated it.  She often said she would rather be called “Doggie.”  When I felt especially tender toward her, I called her “Mommy Girl,” but when I was in trouble, I just called “Mama,” and she was there, because she recognized the need in my voice

Mama always seemed to know what I needed, and she did everything in her power to meet that need.

After two years in college working as much as possible, I had used up my meager savings.  That was in the days before government grants and loans, so there was no way I could return to school.  Mama had very little of this world’s goods, but she felt my disappointment.

One day less than a week before the opening of the new fall term, Mama disappeared for a few hours.  No one knew where she had gone, but when she returned, she put her arms around my neck, and looking at me through her tears, whispered, “Go pack your suitcases.  You’re going back to school.”

Mama had been to the bank.  She had no proper job description to put on a loan application.  The little money she had was earned by ironing, or sewing, or cleaning other people’s dirty houses.  She even chopped cotton.  She had no collateral to offer a bank, but on her good name alone, she had borrowed the few hundred dollars, that was obviously a few years ago, needed for my return to school.  Only God knows how difficult it was for her to repay that loan.  It is to her credit that my brother and I are both in ministry today.

Once during my years as a missionary in Europe, I was very ill and confined to bed.  One morning, as I lay there feeling discouraged, lonely, and alone, the phone rang, and across more than six thousand miles, I recognized my mother’s dear voice.  Ordinarily, during those years abroad, I did not tell my Mother when I was in need, for I didn’t want to worry her.  However, when I heard her voice that morning, I could not hold back the tears.

“Oh, Mama,” I cried.  “I am so sick.”

“I knew it,” she exclaimed.  “I knew there was something wrong.  That’s why I called.”  Mama always knew what I needed.  What healing came from her sweet words!

The day came when my Mama was old and frail and sick.  It was my turn to take care of her, but I never did it as well as she did.

Thirty Mother’s Days have come and gone since My Mother went home to be with the Lord.  This morning I picked up her picture, which sets on my dresser.

“Hi, Mommy Girl, I love you, and Mama, I’ll see you before long,” I said.

One of my greatest comforts is to know that Mama is in the presence of the Lord.  She is one of that great “Cloud of Witnesses,” who is watching my progress.  It gives me great joy to know that she approves of the way I am living and what I am doing.  She, too, awaits that glad reunion day.

Cherish your mother.  She’s one of a kind!

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, MAMA!

 

REMEMBER, THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW!

 

           

REMEMBERING THE FUTURE

REMEMBERING THE FUTURE

            Flipping through channels yesterday afternoon, I was stopped by these words, “The most painful state of being is remembering the future…”

            This morning, unable to forget that statement, I went on line to discover that those words were written by the Danish Philosopher and Theologian, Soren Kierkegaard, who lived and wrote in the 19th century.  His complete statement was, “The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly the one you will never have.”  Kierkegaard is describing a feeling of somber nostalgia for unrealized possibilities, a sense of regret or grief for the future that will never be.

            In the last six years, I have spent a good amount of time doing just that.  Many of you will remember that, after waiting a lifetime, at the age of seventy-seven, I finally married for the first time.

I actually don’t remember thinking about what the future would be like with sweet Cecil.  If I had thought about it, I would have acknowledged that, at our age, we would never celebrate a twenty-fifth anniversary, but ten years together was not out of the question.

However, I was so taken up with the fairy tale aspect of the present, the excitement of preparing for a wedding, and the fact that a wonderful man loved me that I gave little thought to the future.

When I walked down the aisle toward my beaming bridegroom, on that chilly February afternoon, there was not a cloud in the sky.  The future could be nothing less than glorious.

After a storybook honeymoon, we came home to learn how to live with each other.  I had always lived alone, but Cecil was not hard to get used to.  We lay side by side late into the night making plans for the future.  We snuggled on the sofa, prayed together, and held hands.  Cecil mowed the lawn, and I did the laundry, and five months later, he was gone dying from an inoperable aortic aneurysm.

I was devastated.  The tears wouldn’t stop.  I stood before his portrait and howled like a banshee.  We had never spent a Christmas together, never celebrated my birthday, and we would never observe one wedding anniversary.  So many “Nevers!”  A funeral and a burial will be a big part of my memories.

The French have a term, “déjà vu” meaning the strange feeling that in some way you have already experienced what is happening for the first time.  I don’t know if it fits here, but I have imagined the joy of Christmas with Cecil sitting by the tree opening gifts, enjoying the turkey and the pecan pie.  In thought, I have vicariously experienced river cruises we planned, and the missions work on our agenda.  I am remembering first time experiences that have never happened and never will happen.

When I open the drapes each morning, I am face to face with his smiling photo.  I can greet him now without tears, but I am always wondering where he is.  I admit that I do scold him once in awhile, when I must deal with mechanics, when a light bulb needs changing, when I don’t want to go alone.  Last year was a difficult, painful time for me.  I could imagine Cecil’s tenderness as he cared for me.  I was mad at him!  Why wasn’t he there?

“Where are you, when I need you, Cecil?

I can almost see his broad grin as he runs to help.

Cecil still fills much of my thoughts.  The knowledge that our future has been lost is ever present.  In a sense, I will never stop suffering the loss.  I still want to know the “what ifs,” the parts that cannot be answered.  I still want to know what my future life would look like, but—

One cannot grieve forever.  Life goes on.  Being a child of God and knowing Christ as I do, I know He has a plan for my life, and even at the age of eighty-three, there is still a purpose for my remaining years.  I will not spend my time crying “If only,” and longing for something that cannot be.

The sweet singer of Israel says, in Psalm 147:3, “He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.”

Again, in Psalm 30:5, David tells us, “…Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”

That’s my story.  My Father has healed my broken heart and bandaged the hurts.  Night is passed and morning has dawned.  That supernatural joy that only God can give, the joy I thought was lost has returned, and there is a song in my heart.

Just a note:  God’s healing is complete, but grieving is a process.  It was close to two years before I was sort of my old self again able to return to the main stream, able to resume my responsibilities.  Though I will always love Cecil and think of him, I want you to know I have not been crying for six years.  God’s healing really is wondrous!

 

Remember, the sun will come out tomorrow!