For Mother’s Day this year I decided to take some time to put into words how much I love you. Words are one of my love languages, so I’m hoping it’s at least somewhat near the top of your list, though I know I’d probably be a better daughter if I were in Blacksburg right now helping renovate the new house. But, I am giving you my microwave so that has to count for something, right?
The older I get the more I recognize the miracle that is family. For thirty years you have loved, nurtured, taught, disciplined, and exhorted the five of us, pushing us toward faith, love and good deeds. I don’t need to convince anyone that you were the best mom. In the past thirty (!) years you and dad have successfully launched five kids into the world. Five college degrees, five careers, five humans who no longer need to live with you. Don’t get me wrong – we all still need you, but your children are all successful independent adults (well, I guess there is still a chance one of the others could screw that up…not me of course).
Five kids in seven years. You must have been exhausted, but I couldn’t tell. I can’t remember a single time when I needed you and you didn’t have time for me. I know there were seasons that I drove you crazy, but you never pushed me away. You sent my friends home when my introversion couldn’t stand to be around people, and I could always trust to you say “No” to something I didn’t want to have to do. That was the best. In fact, I recently helped a fellow introvert make a similar plan with her mom.
It’s actually funny to me how many times I sit with a student and think to myself, “What would mom say right now if she was here?” Most of the time, your proverbs come out of my mouth.
“Just do it and your heart will follow.”
“Don’t argue with an idiot. He’ll drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.”
and…perhaps the best of all…
“Yeah, that’s just not true.”
Five kids. Five.
But we all know the reality is that you have countless more.
Mom, Ma Duggar and Mrs. Bates combined don’t have as many children as you.
What’s so crazy to me is that now I realize it wasn’t your children bringing them in, but it was you.
Eddie is the first one I remember. There you were, taking care of him and helping his mom, living out for me what it meant to “care for the orphans and widows in their distress” before I could even read.
For thirty years. Every day. Single moms, young families, teenagers who needed a mentor, college students. As your biological children got older, your other kids did as well. Their names are running through my mind and I know I haven’t even thought of them all. Every day of my life you’ve just showed up and loved people by giving them your time, sharing your wealth, giving away your possessions, and by getting dirty and working with them.
And what astounds me most is that you never quit. Even now, when your children are grown and you’ve reached an age where you could gracefully bow out of this kind of service, you show up. You serve in the nursery every Sunday. You mentor young mothers, but even more wonderfully, you love their children. You invite them in, care for them, give their parents a break. You see needs and fill them. You notice what needs to be done and do it. Even this month, you’re moving out of your house so someone else can stay there.
For thirty years I’ve had the honor of watching you die to yourself every day. For years I came downstairs in the morning to see you sitting on the couch, reading your Bible and praying. Then, you got up and went to work, faithfully living out the gospel.
You are the most faithful, steadfast servant I have ever known. You weren’t a stay at home mom at all – you were a full time teacher and missionary, making disciples by doing other people’s laundry, cleaning other people’s houses, buying other people groceries, loving other people’s kids….in the name of Jesus.
I just pray one day I can be half the woman you are. That I will be faithful, selfless, and willing, as a friend, daughter, sister, wife and mother.
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
Let her works praise her in the gates.