Today marks the 10th anniversary of the day I lost my Mama. I was taking issue with the word anniversary to mark this kind of a day but it means quite simply the date on which an event took place in a previous year. It is true in this case. I suppose I linked it to a celebration and yet I can’t very well argue with the meaning of that because on this day, 10 years ago, Mama went to be with Jesus and that is the greatest celebration of all! The hope that lies in that despite the hole that was left in my life, has carried me through much grief as I await to see her again. In her last days full of darkness and my beginnings of walking through the pain of her loss, I often reflected in the comfort that I knew she was His child. She had chosen Him as her Lord and Saviour and no darkness can take that away.
I can hardly wrap my head around the timeline of this loss and as I think about her and her life, it seems a good marker to pay tribute to a life full of love. Most of all she was love. Past all of the instability and difficulty of how mental illness robbed her of some of the fullness of life, was the core of a heart that loved Jesus and her babies and grand babies and all who crossed her path in the last years of her life.
She gave everything so someone could have something even though she often had nothing herself. Her life was reminiscient of the story of a poor widow in the bible. Jesus was watching people put their offerings into the treasury and a widow came and put in two copper coins, which was all she had. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ” I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.” Mark 12:43, 44. She lived generosity like no other and gave pieces of her heart away to the lost, the imprisoned, the addicted, the homeless, the widows and the orphans.
She not only gave of her possessions and limited finances but her heart and time and prayers. I often found her on her knees calling out to the only one she knew could meet the great needs of those around her and her own heart. Prayer was her core language and I still see the fruit of her calling out to God over those years. The depth of the loss I felt from her prayer covering was tangible! For months I gasped for air but it drew me deeper to the heart of God as I discovered the legacy of living as a prayer warrior.
In my younger years, I knew a Mom who was a homemaker, always cooking, cleaning, and making sure the four of us were ready and got to where we needed to be. It wasn’t until my teen years that the compilation of brokenness in her life was visible to me. Yet I didn’t fully understand it from the first trip to the hospital for depression until her dying day. Sometimes we never do.
Isaiah 55:8-9 New International Version (NIV)
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
I just wanted my Mama, someone to walk with me and care for me and encourage me and although this happened, our roles were often reversed. At a time when my maturity couldn’t handle the truth of what we walked through I selfishly wanted more, things she wasn’t able to give me.
She taught me grace. I read this morning, with grace our souls enlarge and we give people space. In spite of her own struggles, she almost always ended up giving unmerited grace to the people around her. Ones who had hurt her, taken her innocence, locked her in psych wards and endless institutions, ones who turned on her when she found Jesus, me included. She extended grace where I gave back judgment, she spoke forgiveness where I held onto hurt and confusion. She loved through it all while I condemned.
Turns out, she was right about Jesus. I am a product of her faithful years of prayer for her children to know the love of God. I have been saved and forgiven and love Jesus more than life and long for the same thing for my children and now grandchildren into the generations. There is no other way to live than redeemed by the God that has made us. Mom showed me His love and in turn I chose to believe that He died for me and rose from the dead so I can have eternal life. This is the greatest gift of all.
Life with my Mama was a journey and not always an easy one but it was richer because of her, it taught me life is not about me but there is a bigger purpose for us to be here. I learned to walk in forgiveness, compassion, to give people space through grace, to embrace moments, to live generously with an open hand and open mind to show people how much Jesus loves them, to tell those you love how you feel and often, it made me a better Mama and wife, she sparked my creativity, her loss deepened my capacity to listen and love and walk with people even if I don’t understand and they are incapable of giving back. Life with her and after her has shown me the incredible depth of the love of our God and He always has our best in mind, in trouble and in times of joy. He is the same God. He is for us. He is all we need.
So on this day as I remember you Mama, I honour you with all that I am. Thank you for the gift of your love that surpassed anything I have seen except for the love of God. I am so very grateful God gave you to me. I am thankful for all of your prayers and tears for our family. God remembers the prayers of His saints and catches all those tears. Nothing is wasted in His Kingdom and I look forward to the continued fruit of your decision to say yes to Him.