Before anything else has been said, I know that my Mama would want me to preface that she is not perfect. She has made mistakes, she has failed, and she attributes anything else to the grace of God. But, what my Mama will not tell you about herself is that she is an amazing woman, friend, believer, and yes, one heck of a mom.
It was just a few weeks ago when I got the call. It was a beautiful day in South Carolina, and I was sitting outside eating ice cream. My phone started ringing; it was my mom, and with a deep breath I answered. The moment was heavy as I listened to my mom explain the test results. After sixteen long years of remission, breast cancer had come back. The surgeon had got it all (thankfully), but the next steps were unsure.
And at that moment, I immediately doubted God. After all, this is not the result that I prayed for. But, I will never forget the words that followed the news she said, “Are you okay? I just hate that you and your siblings and your father have to go through this.” In one of the hardest phone calls of her life, my Mama remained more concerned about others than she was about herself. If there were ever a way to describe my Mama’s legacy, it would be that; it would be that my Mama has thought much of others and not as much about herself.
This posture of humbleness has been learned over countless years of morning quiet times with the Lord at the end of the kitchen table or the island on the right barstool. Just about every morning I can remember, my mom has sat there reading her Bible, studying her devotionals, weeping and rejoicing, repenting and growing. I learned to see her meet with Jesus there morning after morning, month after month, and year after year.
Growing up, I wanted to be like her (let’s be honest, I still do). I wanted to read my Bible, too because my Mama was. But when this news came, it became more real to me than ever before why my Mama met with Jesus all those mornings. It was because when the storm came, the waters rose, the winds blew, and the results were not what she had prayed for; she still trusted God, and she still professed His enduring faithfulness.
She knew that God had brought her so much more than healing some sixteen years ago when she was diagnosed with breast cancer the first time. And, she knew that He would again redeem and restore so much more than her physical body. “It is all a part of my redemption process,” she continued to say on the phone that day.
And, all at once, my immediate doubt of God faded, and I wanted to believe God was good at that moment more than anything. Because my Mama believed that He was, I chose to believe that He was, too. Since then, I’ve thought back to all of the efforts and lengths my mom went to so that she shared her faith with my brother, my sister, and me. All the moments leading up to times like this and others that have made it hard to believe, and I think back to the notecards taped to my mirror with Bible verses, the times I cried and my mom just prayed over me, the card waiting on my placemat with encouragement and scripture, and the times that my mom admitted that she, too, needed grace. Conversations in the kitchen after school, on the beach at vacation, or riding around in the car my Mama talked my ears off about Jesus. And, you know what? I was not always a receptive child, and especially not a receptive teenager. There were times, even long periods of time when I am sure my Mama thought that she was not getting anywhere with me.
There were times we fought and argued a lot. There were times she knew I was not listening to her. But, my Mama kept writing scripture on the notecards, she kept talking about Jesus, she kept reading her Bible in the mornings, and she kept living out her faith in a raw, real way. The moment she walked out of my dorm room on move-in day, I knew that I took for granted the incredible woman my Mama was (and is), and I knew that a large testament to my faith was her and the way she lived her life.
I saw that my Mama knew she was not perfect, and I grew to respect her so much for admitting when she was wrong because it made her faith seem so tangible and real to me. I could go on about my Mama. She is an amazing wife, friend, sister, etc. but, I know her best as mom, and now as I am entering into my twenties, I am getting to know her also as an amazing best friend. My mama would be the last person to tell you what a legacy she has left not only to me but so, so many other, and that is exactly the reason she deserves so much more than these words I am writing right now.
I know that because my mama loves Jesus, she can love me and show me a glimpse of His love. Like Him, I know that my mama will, “never leave nor never forsake (me).” (Deuteronomy 31:8) She has shown me mercy and limitless grace (1 Timothy 1:15-16). And, she has taught me to live my life in a way that says, “I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.” (Psalm 146:2) These lessons and so much more will last a lifetime as my mama’s legacy continues to grow.
Mom, you are an amazing woman of God. No moment was wasted. I know Jesus because of you.