Friday, May 6, 2011
GIFTS FROM MY MOTHER
Losing my mother was not as hard as hearing the diagnosis of Alzheimer's which slowly ate away at her memory over a ten year period. Watching a capable person become become totally dependent is never an easy thing. She had spent her whole life working hard first on our farm and then, using her talents to establish the first medical records library for our local hospital. She even returned to school to become a certified medical records technician. It was quite an accomplishment.
After the death of my father, though, we began to see some changes in her that troubled my sister and I. She would begin to misplace things, and became very forgetful. One night when she came to visit me and my family, she arose around 3 a.m. and started to get dressed "to go to work" she said. It took some convincing to get her to return to bed, and after this incident, we decided to have her undergo some testing. The results were as we had feared and so began the long journey into night.
During those years, I spent many days weeping for the loss of her companionship, and yet, I remembered the many times she had given me precious gifts of her love and attention just when I needed it most. As a child, when I was afraid at night, she would slip into my room and gently stroke my face with her hand until I went to sleep. Somehow, it always made me feel safe and loved.
Of course, I can never forget the gift of her tireless efforts as she took care of me during my bout with polio. Neither she nor my father ever left my side during the days I spent in the hospital and the months of recuperation at home. Even after I had recovered, she watched over my health like a mother hen with her chick.
More than any other gift, though, is one that has stayed locked in my heart through the years. My mother was a letter writer and card sender. She never failed to keep in touch with loved ones and especially with me when I was away at college. She would tell me about all the things going on at home and ask how things were progressing with my classes. Then every letter would end with these words:
"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace" (Numbers 6:24-26).
As a college student, I didn't think too much about these words. In fact, at the time, I was not a committed believer, so I never did more than read the letter or card. But God promises that His Word will never return void, and little did I know that within a few short years, the blessing my mother ended every letter with would become the seed that blossomed into my full blown faith in Jesus Christ.
Through the years, my mother gave me many more gifts like the love for the Psalms, teaching me how to pray, listening when I had a need to talk and even, teaching me to drive. I know that was scary for her! Above all, still stands that verse of scripture at the end of her letters. She was bestowing a blessing on me, and I will treasure it always in my heart.
In raising my own family, I have tried to carry on in the faith of my mother, and as Mother's Day comes around again the words of Proverbs 31: 29-31 come to mind when I think about her: "Many women have done excellently but you surpass them all. Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates." Although she is now a sweet memory, the fragrance of her life lingers on in mine, and I am grateful. Selah!
What gifts has your mother given to you? How will you celebrate her love on Mother's Day?