"I am exhausted and completely crushed. My groans come from an anguished heart...I am on the verge of collapse..." Psalm 38:8,17
I heard these words just two days ago, coming from the overwhelmed heart of my mother. The stress of the past ten weeks has been taking it's toll on her. She is completely broken as she watches the love of her life for 65 years become a stranger in many ways. I can't begin to imagine the loss as a wife. I only know it as a daughter.
Mom has been a tower of strength and the pillar of our home. It's difficult to watch her suffering now. A time of life when I wish she could just relax and enjoy the blessings of family and friends, she is burdened with the incredible weight of countless decisions and unfathomable heartache.
Growing up, our home was a place where I always felt secure and loved. Mom used every opportunity to set a godly example to let me see the reality of Christ. Even when my sister and I would argue (which wasn't often!), Mom would burst forth in a chorus of "To be like Jesus", making it difficult for our disagreement to continue while being sweetly serenaded with God's truth.
No doubt these teachable moments were a direct result of mom's daily, consistent, personal time with her Lord in prayer and Bible study. As long as I can remember, Mom has been rising each morning by 4:00am to spend time with the Lord, studying His Word and lifting her family and loved ones to Him in prayer. As a child, my days began and ended with prayer. Mom would kneel beside my bed each morning committing my day to the Lord. Then joining hearts and hands around our dinner table at the close of the day, time would be given to read His Word during "Family Worship". I can recall praying for everything and everyone, often stopping in mid-prayer to ask a question or give a hug, but Mom never seemed to mind. I learned early that I could talk to God anytime, anywhere, and He became my best friend and Saviour while watching mom model such an intimate relationship with Him.
Mom is faithful, not only in her quiet times, but in all areas of her life. She is a faithful mother, wife, grandma, great-grandma, sister-in-law, mother-in-law and friend. Her daily letter writing is just another example of her committment to those she loves. It has been the 'norm' for dad to drive to the post office every morning, mailing numerous letters, notes, and little words of enouragement to those the Lord happened to place on mom's heart.
As a godly woman, mom's quiet countenance, gracious nature, open hospitality, discerning spirit and tender heart have always made our home a haven, not just for her family, but for all who enter. A knock at the door, and in no time, the kettle is boiling, as she shares a hot cup of tea, a smile or a tear. She provides a listening ear, encouraging word and prayerful support, ministering God's love.
Perhaps one of mom's favourite past-times, besides a trip to Tim Horton's for coffee with a friend, would be her love of reading! A good book, a hot drink, and a cozy place is mom's personal refuge. She enjoys quiet evenings, needlepoint, fresh white handkershiefs and peanut-buttered toast. She is happiest when her family is happy.
She is the Founder of "There-there's"! Unexpected gifts, large or small, given for no other reason than to simply say, "I love you." We never required a special occassion in our home to wait for a parcel. Often little surprises greeted us on our dinner plates, under our pillows, in lunch bags, tucked away in suitcases and now even on doorsteps. Mom is a generous giver.
Mom invested in the life of her children, making sacrifices for us, and she did it with passion. I cannot thank her enough for making the life-long investment in training and shaping me. She provided the colour and shading that brought depth and dimension to my life. In my growing up years, and still often today, I find time for everything and everyone but you, Mom, and yet, would any of the others have done for me what you did? I don't know how many times I could have made you happy by simply saying, "I love you, mom."
Our relationship hasn't been perfect. We have our differences and we don't always agree. Mom is an eternal optimist, refusing to see any negative and believing always in the good of everyone. Extremely sensitive, her responses have at times received rolled eyes and judgement from this daughter. She goes to great lengths to please others and longs for everything to always appear right and well. Her home is immaculate. Her clothing pressed. Her dinner always prepared. Her floors cleaned. Her windows washed. Her perfume on.
Since becoming a mother myself, I appreciate and love my mother in a deeper way. Being a mother. What a calling. What a responsibility. What an honour! I esteem my mom for the perseverance she continually displays in daily taking the time and effort necessary to ensure that she leave a healthy and godly heritage, a heritage that I now strive to pass on to my family.
Today as I celebrate being a mom, I also celebrate the memories and moments shared with my mom. Treasures in my heart that will never wear out or fade away.
Linda Weber, in her book, "Mom You're Incredible!" writes:
"Motherhood is not an entry-level service position for mindless, insecure and second-class citizens. It is the noblest of callings. To be entrusted with the very life, health and well-being of a tiny human person is a great gift and honour. To realize this small child reflects traits and characteristics of you, your spouse, and your families is a mind-shattering and heart-rending realization. To invest your time and best efforts into a child and to watch him grow, develop, and excel is to be part of the creative majesty of life itself. Never let anyone denounce motherhood or dissuade you from experiencing it. It transcends all other experiences."
As Theodore Roosevelt said, "No other success in life - not being President, or being wealthy, or going to college, or writing a book, or anything else - comes up to the success of a man or woman who can feel that they have done their duty and their children and grandchildren rise up and call them blessed."
Mom, today I rise up and call you blessed, as I am blessed by having the delight and honour of being your daughter. I wish right now I could remove all the pain, loneliness, decisions, misery and distress. I am doing what I can, but it feels like so little as I watch your head bow, your body shake and tears flow.
Today Mom, I am praying for you. May the Lord tenderly hold you. May you feel His arms surround you. May your heaviness lift. May your helplessness be replaced with great courage. May the clouds of darkness dissipate. May His peace, that passes understanding, reign and be a reality in your heart. May your fear and insecurity vanish. May His love carry you...just for today...and then all your tomorrow's. I love you mom.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
"You have given me greater joy..." Psalm 4:7
Today is a day of greater joy.
Today is a day of celebration.
My Mom and Dad celebrate 65 years of marriage today. A wonderful milestone has been reached. Sixty-five years of covenant living and loving.
Their love has climbed mountains, endured desert dryness, walked paths of pain, forged valleys, battled storms, soared over unexpected wonders and lingered in gardens of delight, always side by side.
Firm believers in never allowing the sun to set on an unkind word or misunderstanding, short accounts were kept and a lifestyle of forgiveness was modelled. Their love was and is anchored firmly in the Lord.
Married in their late teens, now in their 80's, any observor would forget their age as they walk hand-in-hand and arm-in-arm.
"Dorf" and "Demf", as they lovingly call one another, still embrace like newlyweds. Mom will ask, "Who's your girl?" and Dad will respond without hesitation, and with exclaimation and a twinkle in his eye, "You are."
Cupping Mom's face in his hands, he still speaks words of endearment, cherishing her beauty. He adores her completely.
They were first love and only loves.
The following picture was taken about nine months ago.
Most of you know that my Dad is struggling with health concerns right now. We are hoping to enjoy a little time of celebration today. Please pray that it will be a special day for all our family. Ten weeks ago I questioned the arrival of this celebration. The Lord has been so gracious as to give us all "greater joy" and more treasured moments with my Mom and Dad.
My sister, her son and I went to the hospital last night to decorate Dad's room to surprise Mom today. Dad enjoyed being in on the planning and he was directing our every move.
I hope to be back later today to post additional pictures.
Today I'm celebrating...and I have greater joy!