I've been wanting to write this since shortly after Mother's Day last year, but I was always waiting for the words to come easily. This probably won't be as articulate as I'd like, but I think today it's too important to miss saying.
I had a bumpy childhood. We all have, to some degree. My mom was a single mom for some years. I love him, but Dad was and still is, sometimes very difficult. Which hampered my mom's ability to be the mom she wanted to be. She was tired, frustrated, and didn't have a lot of patience. She messed up sometimes. But she was obedient to God's Word. And because of that alone, for all her mistakes, she got it absolutely right.
She made sure that we always knew how very much she loved us, she asked for forgiveness when she needed it, but most importantly – she made sure we knew Christ. She didn't just take us to church. She had a relationship with God. And we did, too. She wasn't without sin. In fact, I'd venture to say she messed up with God and with us royally sometimes. But she stayed obedient, always going back to prayer and worship, and letting us see how important it was to be humble before God. To not turn our backs on our faith just because we didn't feel worthy or because a Christian life was too hard.
And here's the most important part: ten years ago, on May 22, 1999, at 11:00 p.m., shortly after getting off the phone with airlines and funeral directors and our home church pastor, I went to bed lonely but at peace. My sister had died. But I knew where she was and Whose she was. My sister was young. But she was ready. In the days leading up to her death, Lora emailed my mom about her maturing relationship with God. How, despite some trials she'd suffered recently, she was leaning on God, sure he was lifting her up. She was so in tune to Him that she called my mom one day in April to say that she was driving along that day and she could almost feel Jesus in the passenger seat. She was at perfect peace that day. She had no clue that in a few short weeks she'd be in her final place, alongside Him. None of us knew. But for all our grief and sorrow, my mom and I cling to the promise that we will see her again one day.
Here's the thing. To date I have not lived a worse nightmare than getting that phone call in the wee hours of May 22, 1999. We hadn't expected it. Couldn't have imagined it. We couldn't possibly have been prepared for that kind of shock and tragedy. But thanks to my mom's continued obedience to God's will, my sister was prepared for it.
My mom's legacy will not be the shouting or short temper. Among a multitude of her other awesome attributes, it will be that she introduced her daughters to Christ. I am grateful for my mom's obedience, my sister's faithfulness, and God's promises.
"Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you." John 16:22