Every week our editor throws out a Viewpoint question. Contributors share their opinions and experiences. Some questions are political. All personal. And sometimes just down-right scary to answer- at least for me. I don’t thrive on politics or debate. I usually run from it. But God is stretching me.
This week the question was personal rather than political. In honor of Mother’s Day this weekend and my mother’s birthday on May 9th, I share my response with you:
There is no doubt in my mind that if it weren’t for my mom, our family would not have attended church. Going to church does not faith make, but it’s often the starting place. Her talented fingers forced the melody of music through the piano at our tiny church. Good pianists are golden in small towns. The church probably would’ve folded without her committed heart. She was there every Sunday and Wednesday for choir practice. This was her service but also her joy and crown.
My sister followed in her shoes. She too became the valued pianist of her tiny farm-town house of worship. I however did not receive the gift of music but rather of speech. I love to preach and write about the music of God’s love.
It was in that tiny Methodist church where I heard sermon after sermon of God’s love for me. The foundation of my faith. The foundation I’ve passed onto my children. God loves us. Mom’s life and mine have taught me that suffering is not the absence of His love. It’s the invitation for it.
My mom knew pain. She knew grief only too well. The loss of a baby; the abandonment of a husband with the words, “I don’t love you anymore.” How does anyone get over that? To lose a child and to be unloved. I’m not sure she ever did. But she never quit her faith.
Alzheimer’s began to steal her mind at age 60. Way too young.
When we moved her into assisted living, my sister and I went through her things to organize and purge. Sitting on the floor of her closet that day we found inspirational books and Bibles, paper clippings, cherished notes, and a few journal entries. Those entries were permanent reminders of her choice to accept Christ and to rely on Him in the fog of grief. Permanent promises that I will see her again on the other side. Much needed hope.
In her memory yesterday, I wore an elegant gold cross.
It was the only piece of her jewelry I wanted.
ps. If your mom is still alive, tell her you love her!