Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Faith Passed Down

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Prov. 22:6

This verse, hand stitched, hung on the wall in our house as I was growing up. I cannot explain how much peace that fact has given me through the years. Because, to me, it was a symbol of my mom’s love.

I had the example of four amazing Christian women in my life from the very beginning. My mom and my grandmothers each had amazing gifts of faith that were visible in everything that they did. My mom’s faith, however, was displayed to me every single day. The way she prayed before every meal and at bed time – not route prayers, but heartfelt and sincere messages that showed us how prayer was supposed to be done. God was not some far off deity to her. He was, and is, her very best friend.

She had a personal relationship with Him before it became the “Christianese” term that is heard in churches today. I’ve seen for myself the peace that this relationship has given her through some pretty tough times. She clung to the Cross through an abusive marriage and a messy divorce, single parenthood on one small paycheck, remarriage which found her with five ( and then six) children and everything in between. She was strong because she found her strength in Him. Because she loved her children, she did everything in her power to teach us that same faith.

I grew up watching and admiring the convictions of my mom and my grandmas. However, it was not THEIR faith I needed. One more thing my mom taught me was that the only faith that could save me from sin was my own. I had to know Jesus for myself. She introduced Him to me, but I had to let the relationship develop. I had to turn to Him and ask Him to save me. I had to get to know Him for myself. I had to get on my own two knees, admit my weaknesses and ask for His grace. That was all I had to do, but no one could do it for me.

The other memorable thing that hung in our house through my childhood (and now hangs in MY house for MY children to see) was a painting of Christ at a door. He was knocking because he could not let Himself in. There was no knob or handle on His side. I remember, very clearly, the day my mom pointed this out to me. I had looked at that painting my entire life and had never noticed it. She explained that Jesus is a very courteous guest and would never invite Himself in, we have to ask Him. Once we do, He will move Heaven and earth to get to us, but we have to give Him a way in. “Just open the door” she told me, “He will do everything else.” She made me see how much I needed Him. She made me see how much He loved me. She LET me see how much she needed Him as well. That is what I remember, and admire, the most.

My mom is the strongest woman I have ever known. Letting us know that the strength that carried her was not her own was, and is, the best gift she could ever have given us. It is the gift that will carry us through this life and into the eternal life that awaits us.

My grandmothers (the OTHER three strongest women I have ever known – who also found their strength in Him) as well as my grandfathers have gone on to that eternal life, but because of the legacy that these women have left behind, I know that I will see them again. I know that this earth is not my home, that a better one awaits me on the other side. I am so very homesick to see all of my grandparents again, as well as other dear friends and family who have gone before me. They are waiting for me in Heaven, I know.

I cannot begin to imagine life here without my mom, but I know that odds are it will happen someday. She is healthy and strong, but we are humans and humans grow frail and weak. Neither of us will live forever and she will, obviously, get older first. I face this with a bit of fear, but only the mortal fear that, in this life, I will be without her. I KNOW that my eternal life is secure and will be spent in the same place as hers. I know this because of the other verse she taught me, the one that gives me hope for the future …

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:3

I love you Mommy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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