MY MOM

Our pastor came up with an idea for something different for the message/sermon time on Mother’s Day weekend. He had a few staff members speak at each service telling how our mothers impacted our lives. The challenge was to do it in just five minutes. I was given the opportunity to speak in one service and below is what I said about my mom.

What I remember about my mom when I was very young is when we had friend chicken. Some of you may remember in those days when you bought chicken from the grocery story it included, in addition to the wings, also two backs.

For the longest time I thought the backs and wings were the best pieces because my mom always took them and left the other pieces to my dad, my brother, and me. I eventually realized that she took the pieces she did so we could have the legs, breasts, and thighs. My mom was unselfish.

The next thing I remember is that when I was in grade school my mom when to work in the school cafeteria. When my class and I came through the line she tried not to show me special favor, but it was so difficult for her. While in grade school I always was glad she was there. When I moved to junior high so did she; but to my shame I never was as glad to see her or as proud of her as I had been in grade school. But I do think she understood and never said anything to me about it.

While I was in grade school and junior high my dad was a problem drinker—every weekend he got drunk. But even though my mom would have been justified to kick him out, she never did. As I came to my teenage years my dad became a Christian and got his act together. I don’t think my mom ever regretted staying with him.

When I got my license and was able to buy my own used 53 Chevy my mom always had a message for me before I went out. She would say, “Just one word Bobby, be careful.” I knew what she meant, but I could not help saying, “Mom, be careful is two words.” Like many mothers, my mom worried a lot about both my older brother and me; and about my dad. I guess it goes with having that role.

When my dad was diagnosed with leukemia my mom took great care of him. He passed a few years before she did and took it hard. She lived in Ohio and we lived in California. When I think about it I’m sorry my children did not have more time around my parents, and I’m still sad I was not able to spend time with her during her last few years after my dad’s death.

My mom wasn’t perfect by any means, but she was a wonderful mother through whom God took care of me, loved me, and blessed me.

And on this Mother’s Day I again say thanks to her and to Him.

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A PICTURE OF CONSISTENCY

This article was written almost 19 years ago the morning I learned of my mother’s death. It is also included in Chapter 12, Preacher’s Pen Columns, in my book A Pastor and the People: An inside Look through Letters. I am posting it this week in honor of Mother’s Day this coming Sunday.

July 1, 1998

I received a phone call this morning that my mom had passed away.  I’m not sure of the details yet, but apparently she died last night in her sleep.  Although we knew it was coming, we weren’t expecting it quite so soon.  I was hoping and praying she would make it until our family got there to visit in August, but it wasn’t to be.  And I’m okay with that.

My mom has fought her last battle; and I don’t view it as a loss.  Throughout her life she fought numerous battles.  All of us do, of course, but it seems like she fought more than most people do.  And she was a courageous and persistent battler.  She often had reasons to quit; but she was not a quitter.  And in her death I’m sure she did not quit; but it was time to move on.

If in his life my dad was a trophy of God’s grace, then my mom was a picture of consistency.  She was always there.  From as far back as I can remember until this past Sunday when we spoke with her she was there.  She was there caring and praying and doing what she could to help and make things better.  I guess that’s the primary role of a mother.

At times like this it’s common to think about things you didn’t do or say that it’s too late now to say or do.  There’s much in that category for me, but I also think there was an understanding between my mother and me that went beyond words.  Anyway, I sure hope that was true.

I am disappointed that I will not be able to visit her as we had planned later this summer, but I am pleased she is no longer suffering and worrying.  She feared becoming more and more incapacitated and lingering in pain.  I am thankful that is not the case.

More than that, and not speculating on what God has in store for us, I’m blessed to know that she is now with my dad.  None of us know the details of heaven, but we do know it is a reality for those who accept God’s gift in Jesus.  She sorely missed dad; and it’s a blessing to know that even though she is gone from us, she is where he is.

Knowing mom as I did, I doubt that even in heaven she will be able to completely quit worrying about my brother and me and her grandchildren.  But I hope that in light of her new surroundings and situation she can at least worry less.

Good bye mom.  I’ll bet it’s easier for you to pray for us now than it’s ever been.  I love you.

–Bob

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