It was around 5 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning when the thought came to me to share with you one of the most important persons in my life that I am thankful for.
You see, there is a hole in my heart, yet there is joy in my heart. This was a day I knew would come but did not look forward to. As a believer in Christ, I knew that “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” Nevertheless, knowing that reality is one thing, and experiencing it is another.
Let me tell you what I am talking about. My mother, at the tender age of 97, went home to be with the Lord and was laid to rest during the week of Thanksgiving.
There are a million stories I could share with you about her, but let me just tell you a few, and hopefully you will have an idea of who she was. Maybe you’ll see your mother in these stories, or even come to appreciate that elderly person in your life more.
Mother was always right
I remember sitting in her living room after coming home from college. I had been away for about two years, but she greeted me with a big hug and went into a question-and-answer session. She would always give me this strange look as if she was looking inside my heart. I would ask her why she was looking at me like that, and she would say, “If I told you everything you would know as much as me.” I was intimidated by that look, but at the same time felt love. It made me assess where I was in life. She would tell me things about life in a subtle way, and in later years those things proved to be true. These were things that made me think twice about the actions I was about to take, or even the decisions I needed make. No question about it, she had a big influence on me.
Mother loved to pray
She lived alone in her own house and refused to move, even though she had the means to go and live elsewhere. She often would say, “I am not alone; I have angels around me.” As I experience life’s journey, I would come to understand years later what it means to not be alone. Mother had a relationship with the Lord built on prayer. Whether on the phone or in person, she loved to pray. Even when she was not feeling well, “Let’s pray” were her words. When circumstances were not going right in my life, I would call her and ask her to pray for me. For some reason, it seems as though she could always get a prayer through, and my prayer was not working. She would say things like “Stop, look and listen: STOP to pray, LOOK to God for an answer and LISTEN for His response.” Those words of wisdom helped catapult my prayer life and my walk with Christ.
Mother was a mother’s mother
Before I got married, mother had literally vetted my wife. I did not know how their first meeting would go, but I knew I wanted some input from her. I wanted her blessing on the woman I would spend the rest of my life with. However, I didn’t think their meeting went well because mother said nothing. Later, before I got married, she asked me did I pray about it, which seemed like she had not made a conclusion about my future wife. She knew it would not matter, so rather than saying anything negative, she said nothing. Friends, that is wisdom. Sometimes if you can’t say anything positive, just remain silent. It is a lesson I learned and follow to this very day. Life is a marathon; she and my wife became “besties” years later and would spend many Saturdays together. Mother no longer wanted to see me as much as she wanted to see my wife. I was grateful for their relationship. My wife consistently talks about how she was blessed to have known her. One of mother’s legacies to my wife was her best ever sweet potato pie recipe, as she was great cook.
Mother was an angel
By now I hope you figured out that the mother I am speaking of is not my biological mother. The woman that I’ve been talking about was my church mother. Although not blood related, mother was an integral part of my family. She and my mother were best friends, and when in her presence it was as if I was in the presence of my biological mother. The woman who stood in the gap when my biological mother went home to be with the Lord has now gone home as well. She lived a full life in the temporary, as she prepared for the permanent. She was an angel and her life exemplified that she was ready. In her later years, you would find her talking about the day when the Lord would call her home and encourage us to continue being the “salt and light” of the earth. She was a walking billboard of God’s love, grace, mercy, favor, protection and healing. Mother loved God, and she loved her neighbors. She was a living testimony that there is a heaven. And if there is one for her, there is one for you and me. There is no better place that she can be after 97 years of living.
The church was full
Often when you leave this earth, people say nice things about you. All of us who came together on that day had the same story about mother. She had no biological children of her own, yet every one of us that spoke about her echoed the same message of how much love she showed us. There were many tears, not of sadness but joy. Mother left a piece of herself in all of us. She impacted us in ways we did not even see.
The irony of all of this is that my biological mother went home to be with the Lord during the week of Thanksgiving. As I write this on Thanksgiving morning, God truly knows how to give you “beauty for ashes.” In my spiritual imagination, I can see those two women talking together about all their children. My challenge to you is to learn to appreciate the person who gives you that motherly/fatherly wisdom and love. You never know where it will come from, just be thankful.
Read last month’s article by Newton Fairchild at: https://www.goodnewsfl.org/is-jesus-a-republican-or-a-democrat/