Edited heavily for Mother's Day 2014.
This is my mama......
I know that everyone in the world thinks THEIR mama is the best in the world, but actually.....my mom IS the best in the world.:)
She's everything you would expect for the world's best mom to be: kind, wise, nurturing, supportive, discerning, very loving, funny, beautiful...the list goes on.
But perhaps the quality that trumps everything else, or rather ENHANCES everything else, is her faith in God. She is the example to my brother and me of what it means to follow God with your whole heart.....through the good AND the bad.
I remember from a very early age waking up every morning to my mom sitting in her chair by the fireplace, drinking coffee, and reading her Bible. This was always the norm. However, when I was 16, my parents began to have visible marital problems, and it was then that I really began to learn and understand the depth of my mom's relationship with God. During that time of upheaval in our family, I watched her continually go to God and the Bible for strength, comfort, and hope.
Her prayer life "took off" at this point in our lives, and I constantly walked in on her - be it the living room, the bedroom, or even her CLOSET...where she would be down on her knees pouring her heart out in prayer.
This unnerved me a bit in the beginning, because our spiritual lives had always been somewhat conservative - we believed, we went to church, we prayed, and we were encouraged to participate in churchy activities and Bible studies. It was a comfortable existence where I thought I had this God thing all figured out. But, mine was a surface kind of belief.... the kind that is expected and socially acceptable. And yet, I was only 16. My belief was probably as real as I knew how to believe at the time, however lukewarm it may seem to me now. But all that changed my sophomore year of high school.
In my young life, I had never had to really face anything that made me desperate to find peace and hope - and where God was in all of it - until my family started to fall apart. In a way, this chaos in our lives was forcing us all to make a decision about who we believed God to be, and whether we had faith in Him - an unrehearsed, vulnerable, "get on your face" faith.
My mom did.
Through all the turmoil, my mom's faith and relationship with God became more real, more alive, and more tangible as I observed her from a distance. She was praying all the time - in the car, in the shower, in the kitchen - and OUT LOUD, I might add. I can see now that all those early years of awakening to find her reading the Bible had laid the groundwork for her ability to dig deep spiritually for a supernatural way to cope with her marital crisis during my teenage years. But back then, I didn't know what to think, partly because this was such a new side of her, and partly because I was an ugly mess just trying to make sense of the circumstances we were facing as a family.
And partly, I'm sorry to say, because I thought she might be losing it, what with all the praying she was doing.
But then, I saw a peace settle over her, and a calm resolve and fortitude formed in her countenance....and even though the marriage was still troubled, I knew that I wanted what she had found.
So began for me what really has become a lifelong quest to try and seek God and His Word like my mom - seriously, expectantly, and resolutely.
It is the easiest and the hardest thing to do... this authentic and vulnerable relationship with God. At times I think I'm pretty good at it....which, laughably, is usually when I'm not. But all these years later, I am humbled by the grace and mercy God has shown me in the face of my proud and sinful and willful nature. And love...He has shown me lots of love....in the most unexpected ways,too.
Though I do regret that my mom and dad did eventually split up, I DO NOT regret that the situation forced us all to face our need for a real relationship with God....and that,folks, is what the abundant life is all about. Regardless of the circumstances, this journey with God has been just pretty unbelievable. And I say "unbelievable" in the most positive sense.
Though some of our prayers weren't quite answered the way we hoped, because of God and who He is, we are better. Broken, yes. But beautifully becoming whole in God. All four of us. That, in itself, is one big answered prayer that I know my mom prayed diligently for us as a family, and is still praying today.
I thank the Lord for giving me a mother with "get on your face" faith. It was by watching her that I began to learn who God was....and how He loves me.
And how He loves all of us. ( Cue the David Crowder song):-)
By His grace and mercy, I hope to carry on this legacy to my own children.
Thank you Mom. I love you. You are the World's Best.
Happy Mother's Day and Happy Birthday this week!