This morning I journaled about Mom, reflecting on how much she loved me, and realized that the greatest lesson she gave me was unconditional love in action.
My family was what one would call nominally Christian. We knew about Jesus and attended church, sometimes regularly and at other times not, but we didn't know Him personally. I often hear people speak of their moms being strong spiritual influences on their lives. Their moms prayed with them, taught them from the Bible as they had their devotions, and pretty much followed the scripture verse that says, "Train up a child in the way he shall go, and even when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6. But back then my mom did not have that kind of Christian walk -- as I said we were nominal Christians.
I came to know Jesus in a personal way a few years before she died, but I never had the chance to see her come to a similar faith. Where she was spiritually at the time she passed only God knows. It is He who can look beyond our outside appearances and know the true inclinations of our hearts toward Him.
Most mothers love their children with all their mights, but to me, my mom loved me more. Perhaps it was because she almost died having me. My parents were married a long while before I came along and then, because of complications with my birth, I was the only child she had.
|Mom and me swimming in Lake Geneva|
Still my mom loved me fiercely.
I went through a broken engagement and a move to the West Coast in search of life's fulfillment. Bounced from job to job and partied hard. Then, finally tired of that life, I moved back to the Midwest only to have Mom diagnosed with emphysema several months later.
During the five years she lived with that debilitating disease, I stopped running from God and surrendered to Him. She wasn't interested in hearing my testimony and invitation to commit to Jesus. I was told not to evangelize her. I never learned for sure why she felt so strongly that way, but I suspect it had to do with the church she attended as a child. She didn't like my choices as far as my faith was concerned ...
Still my mom loved me fiercly.
In my opening, I said only God knows each person's heart as far as their relationship to Him is concerned. And I have peace with that. But in looking back today, I realize that even when she didn't set out to teach me a spiritual lesson, she did. No matter how much I disappointed her, treated her disrespectfully (especially in my teen years), and disobeyed her, she never stopped loving me. And that's how God is with me. I've disappointed Him, at times treated Him disrespectfully, and disobeyed Him. Yet He loves me unconditionally because I've placed my faith in His Son Jesus. Thanks to Mom, I knew what unconditional love felt like long before I came to know that kind of love from God.
Thanks, Mom, and Happy 100th Birthday!