On Mother’s Day tomorrow I will remember my Mom… but my job now is to celebrate and
rejoice over my wife, the mother of our children. So this brings me to the last (not the last thing my Mom taught me, just the last thing I’m gonna talk about in these posts) of the major lessons I learned from my Mom.
FAITHFULNESS TO MY DAD…
I love the story of my Dad asking Mom to marry him… SHE SAID NO! Not because she didn’t
love him, or want to marry him… but because she was too practical… she didn’t think they could survive with him in seminary, finances, etc. So my Dad went home and
worked with my Pop to put together a financial plan/ presentation and took it back to Mom… must have been a pretty good presentation, because she said YES! This was the beginning of a lifetime of great joys, great laughs, great tears, great frustrations… GREAT FAITHFULNESS.
1. Mom was faithful WHEREVER it meant… My parents’ life hymn was “Wherever He Leads, I’ll Go”… and they did. Mom had felt called to missions as a young girl… she married a Pastor… but I don’t think Richmond, VA, Holland, VA, and North Augusta, SC were places she had in mind… but as they grew together in their calling… they simply OBEYED. That meant Malawi… but the “wherever” didn’t stop there. After less than 4 years in Malawi, my
Dad’s health, meant we wouldn’t be able to return… and so “wherever” meant Camden, SC then Richmond, VA. I always felt like Mom and Dad were a little unsettled for years being in Richmond… but as they proved their faithfulness wherever they were, the wherever led them around the world and back again. Some of my favorite pictures of Mom and Dad, and where they seemed most at ease and happiest, are in the deserts of N. Africa, among the masses in E. Asia… together. The Lord has led my family to Powhatan, VA, specifically to Old Powhatan Baptist Church. We love our church family, we love the work the Lord has given us to do, we love our community. But, I know that my faithfulness will best be proven TOGETHER with Jo Anny. Thanks, Mom for your example of faithfulness to Dad and to the Lord, no matter WHERE.
2. Mom was faithful… in sickness and in health… both her’s and Dad’s. Much of the 4 decades of marriage between my Mom and Dad was spent with her taking care of him, nursing his pains and praying him through illnesses and serious medical conditions. Kidney disease, acute appendicitis (that almost killed him), retinal detachment, blindness, kidney failure/ transplant/ failure again, diverticulitis… my Dad was always more weak than strong… and Mom was faithful. Working when he couldn’t… managing a home, our busy schedules, and his care… she was incredible.
3. What really marked her out in her faithfulness to Dad was that all of this was done in LOVE… All of the “wherever” or “whatever” faithfulness would have been a clanging cymbal if not for her love for Dad. There was arguing, there were rolled eyes, moments of exasperation, frustration, anger… but love always won. My Mom loved my Dad more than any of us… he frustrated her more, brought her more joy, affected her more, made her smile more than anyone else. Whenever Dad was in the hospital, Mom wanted to be by his side as much as possible. Dad needed it, and often we thought that Mom just wanted to be in control of the situation as much as possible… but now I know that SHE NEEDED IT… because she loved her husband.
In their final days, all of the frustration and exasperation that can be so easy in marriage was replaced by concern, care and compassion… a softness toward one another that was simply fun, and at times, a bit uncomfortable to watch. Like two young lovers whose worlds revolved around each other, they wanted to present their best to each other even at their worst. Dad wanted to be shaved before seeing mom in the ICU… of course he was in a hospital gown. Mom wanted makeup before she saw Dad… as tubes came out of her nose.
In her final days, Mom climbed out of bed in her weakness and climbed in to cuddle with Dad as they napped. I still cry when I see these scenes in my mind. Love was the mark of their faithfulness… and oh, to love that way in such faithfulness.
I love my wife… and I know that I have learned best how to love her in faithfulness… because my Mom taught me how.
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