This will be my third Mother’s Day without needing to purchase a gift for my mom. Mom passed three years ago after the deteriorating health of her frail body finally gave up and said it was time for her to “call it quits and head home.” So, my gift to her this Mother’s Day is to acknowledge her influence on me, and hopefully help other moms recognize the inspiration each mom provides their brood.
Moms, even though you might not think you’re having an impact on your child, know that you are because God is using you when you don’t even know it.
Several times over the last few months, I’ve thought about when I sat quietly next to Mom’s hospital bed and watched her sleep to the rhythmic and melodic beat of a heart monitor, waiting for an occasional one sentence dialogue. Knowing that she was slowly drifting from us, my memory would recall particular photographs and memories of specific events or thoughts that brought to mind the specialness of this kind woman who I got to call “Mom.”
Since her death I still process through the “should haves”, “could haves”, “wish I would haves” and lamented over things I would have done different, and different things I wish we would have done while there was still time to do it. I still think through the hundreds and hundreds messages from people expressing their condolences through sympathy cards, texts, and e-mails. Most expressed a gratitude for the impact that my mom had on me; seen by others, but never really ever appreciated (and perhaps acknowledged) by her mustached son. Until now.
I came to this conclusion. My mom’s character influenced me two ways; through her presence, and through her listening ear. Because of those two things, her character and life of service spoke volumes into my life, even though I really never thought about it while she was alive.
As I reflected on the 57 years I knew her, I realized that she was present at some pretty significant points in my life. She was there when I was born in Midland, Texas (a given). She was at there at the Beach Boys concert in Tulsa where I committed my life to Christ. She drove my then girlfriend Jan, and I to our first date the summer of my 9th grade year; a Led Zeppelin concert no less! She came to my high school swim meets, my graduations, and our wedding. She was the first one I told when found out that Jan and I were pregnant with, and became a first-time grandma with our daughter, Melissa. She was at each of our kid’s weddings.
She showed up at significant times.
Here’s the second thing she always did. She listened. Whenever I talked, she listened. Probably got tired of hearing me ramble, but she always listened.
Showing up and listening. Two things that my mom did well. And by doing those two things, she indeed had a profound influence on me. Her life of service was truly more “caught than taught”.
Mom was a volunteer for various organizations most of her life; Red Cross, hospital auxiliary, Girls Scouts, homeless shelters, thrift stores for the needy, and Boy Scouts. All volunteer; all a giving of herself to others.
Surprisingly I’ve lived my life the same way. I’m amazed that a mother’s “showing up and listening”, coupled with God’s faithfulness to mold and shape lives into vessels of His peace, works so well together.
I also realized some other things about my mom. I never heard her quote Scripture. I never heard her get up at church and speak. I never heard a Bible story come from her lips. I never saw her reading her Bible; never saw her pray. And she still had an amazing impact on my life.
She gave her life to people and was married to my dad for 62 years. Two pretty good lessons that are better “caught” than “taught.”
So, this Mother’s Day, I want you moms to sit back, relax, quit being so critical of yourself, and know that regardless of what you have done or haven’t done in the life of your child, God is still going to use you to influence the life of your child. Your child is “catching” more than you know. And one day, your child will be thankful for a mom’s role in his or her life, just like I am today.
Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers who are being used by God in ways that you don’t even know, to influence the life of your kids. God bless you all!
(My mom’s last words to me? She woke up from a deep sleep, smiled and looked me in the eyes and said “Mark, your mustache is so white”. It was her way of making sure a smile would come to my face every time I think of our last time together.)