Hello friends and followers,
Today is Mother’s Day in the UK.
It was an occasion that my mum just loved, particularly in the last few decades of her life. Because we utterly spoiled her. We celebrated her. We did our best to show just how much we loved and appreciated her.
Mum has passed away now. But I still want to remember this incredible, faithful woman of God. I still want to celebrate her life. I still want to give God thanks for the privilege of being her daughter.
Below is an extract from my diary which I’d like to share with you all. The entry was written about 3 weeks before my mother died.
I feel like bawling my eyes out. I feel like breaking down and sobbing until every fibre of me has been ridden of pain and disappointment and disillusionment. I am writing this in a new place (not my Ivory Tower as usual). I am at my mother’s home, sitting at the dining table—the scene of so much laughter and joy and boisterous revelry.
I sit at my lap top with all the signs of my mother’s warm personality and godly commitment around me. Upon the walls are framed photographs and certificates. Photos of good times, of birthday and graduation events and of her Bishop’s ordination. Photos of celebrations. Photos illustrating Bible verses. Pictures reminding the onlooker of the power of prayer. Certificates testifying of my mother’s commitment to a certain Christian ministry and to her completion of a Bible course.
I grieve for the mother these photos and certificates portray. A strong God-focussed, prayerful, caring, committed and compassionate woman.
Earlier, I had borrowed one of her many Bibles. This one sat upon the dining room table. I borrowed it whilst I sat in the overgrown, neglected garden, which is another cause of grief, since it does not bear any resemblance to the garden my mum loved and tended for years.
Oh it’s not the kind of garden that you’d see in a gardener’s magazine. It was too haphazard in layout and design for that. Mum’s garden contained an apple tree with the sourest apples you could ever hope to eat. There were also potatoes, green beans and gungo beans, spring onions and mint. All this mixed with rosemary and strawberries, roses and pretty pink flowers (the name of which I do not know).
But nowadays, along with invasive weeds, mum’s back garden seems to have sprouted old furniture, disintegrating bits of wood, parts of a vacuum cleaner, rusty pipes, containers of industrial fluids and God knows what. There is also a massive eyesore of a building that one of my brothers decided to build—against the wishes and vigorous protestations of his siblings and without my mother’s permission.
Whilst I sit typing at mum’s home, she lies in a hospital bed – a mere shadow of the woman I came to love, respect and highly admire and whom I still love to her very bones, whom I still respect with every fibre of my being and whom I still highly admire, as an example of the woman of God I desire to be.
And as I sat in the back garden on this beautiful day, a day that sported a cloudless blue sky and bright shining sun, there was a stark contrast between my mental climate and the gorgeous weather.
Our lives have changed. Indubitably. Undeniably.
No more mum to call upon and ask for prayer. No more mum to bring our problems to, knowing she would plead and intercede for us to Father God. No more mum on her knees in the earth tending to her beloved gardens. No more mum to arrange family get-togethers and cook extravaganza feasts… to sit back in satisfaction watching us eat and enjoy her food… to bask in our compliments and expressions of gratitude… to listen to the same old family anecdotes and the same old good-natured ribbing of one another. No more mum to join in with the hilarity.
It seems so unfair that this wonderful woman who has been responsible for raising us up single-handedly since the untimely death of my father, this woman who was responsible for making such warm beautiful memories for her family, should have these same precious memories wiped from her memory bank, so that all she is left with is the knowledge that she is incapacitated and without dignity and, the very condition she’d said she would never want to become a feature of her life (having seen it in the lives of others), should turn out to be her own experience.
My father often used to say: “Life – it no easy!” I would further add: “Life – it’s just not fair!”
Anyway, whilst using the Bible for my quiet time with the Lord, I came across a letter at the back dated 1 November 1989 from one of my sisters. This 4-page letter contained an outpouring of her heart about a particular situation, which had remained unchanged, despite ongoing prayer.
It was such a heartfelt letter. I was touched to the core of my being, so I can imagine how it must have touched my mum. I have no doubt that this letter prompted a session of passionate prayer and intercession on behalf of her daughter and grandson. I have no doubt this outpouring of sorrow and confusion and hurt prompted a phone call in which my mum encouraged, consoled and sought to strengthen my sister. I have no doubt because that was the kind of woman mum was.
As the old saying goes, life is not a bed of roses. Challenges and changes come and we either face up to them and deal with it, or we can run away in the hopes that distance will give us respite, or we can allow our problems to press us into a place of defeat and victimhood.
In the dining room where I sit, there is a cabinet crammed with wine glasses, champagne flutes, candles, crockery and cutlery. Most were gifts to mum over the years and were used for our birthday celebrations, dinner parties and Christmas get-togethers. Some items, such as a colourful set of sherry glasses, were not used anymore because they were so old-fashioned. However, mum didn’t get rid of them and they kept their place in the cabinet.
Looking at this cabinet, it set me thinking…
As Christians, when we encounter the difficulties of life, it’s a relief to know we have a Heavenly Father that cares. It’s wonderful having a loving Saviour and friend in Jesus, upon whom we can cast our burdens. And it’s comforting and reassuring that we have the Holy Spirit who has been called alongside us to help and counsel us.
But are we actually benefiting from these spiritual resources that we’ve been given to enable us to walk victoriously in life? Or, are we merely keeping them like trophies in a cabinet, which we take out now and again, perhaps even use on the odd occasion but otherwise, they serve no significant purpose in our lives?
Thank you dear friends for sparing the time to read this post. For all those who may have lost their mother recently, I pray that the God of all comfort will be with you… that you will be able to look back at the time you’ve shared in the past and rejoice over the memories.
And for all you mothers amongst my readership, may I take this opportunity to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day!
CREDIT: the above CCo image comes courtesy of Terri Cnudde at Pixabay.com