Saturday, October 27, 2012

Happy 100th Birthday Mom!

If my mom were alive today, she'd be celebrating her 100th birthday. Sadly, she died at age 70 from the effects of emphysema. Way too early in my opinion. It's been nearly 30 years since she passed. In some ways it seems that long, but sometimes it seems less.

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
I wish I could say I was always the daughter she dreamed of having, but I frustrated her many times with my disobedience and, as I matured, with my lack of motivation with regard to school. By the time I got to high school, I was more interested in socializing than studying and received grades that matched that attitude. I went to college, partied hard, and found myself back home the next fall instead of beginning my sophomore year...

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!

17 comments:

Megan DiMaria said...

Lovely, Pam. You were blessed to have been so well loved.

Dawn M. Turner said...

What a wonderful testimony of your mother's love for you. I have that kind of relationship with my mother even now. She's been my greatest supporter and champion, even when I didn't deserve it. And I count myself blessed to have her.

Regina Smeltzer said...

Pam, your mom would be so proud of your accomplishments today. I have to believe that God lets our loved ones know of our successes. Great picture! You were quite a cutie!!

Regina Smeltzer

Tammie Edington Shaw said...

Pam, thanks for sharing this beautiful story.

Pamela S. Meyers said...

Thanks, ladies. I'm touched that my post resonated with y'all. It would be nice if I could have even a minute back to tell her thanks in person.

Pamela S. Meyers said...

Regina, you got me to thinking. Since she died, my life has taken a complete turn in that I returned to school and completed my degree 11 years after she died, went on to find my writing niche and published magazine articles and now, novels. It would be awesome if somehow she is aware of that.

Kym McNabney said...

Sweet. Thanks for sharing.

Mary L. Hamilton said...

Beautiful testimony, Pam. Thanks for sharing it.

................................ Kevin Parsons said...

Moms taught so much by example, didn't they? My mother didn't need to tell me anything. I just needed to watch. Oh, but she told me a lot too! Good stuff.

Yvonne Anderson said...

This resonates with me big time. My mom was much like yours in that she was a church-goer but never talked about her faith, even to the point that I was never sure what she believed. She didn't understand what I was talking about when I came to know the Lord, and never wanted to hear about it. But she sure did know how to love her family! I could shout a good hearty Amen! to everything you said about the way your mom loved you. Also Amen! to the fact that God loves us the same way. Lovely post!

Pamela S. Meyers said...

Wow, Yvonne, that's awesome that my thoughts and words touched a soft spot with you regarding your own mother.

Deborah Dee Harper said...

Pam, what a lovely post! I firmly believe that our loved ones know what's going on in our lives, that they can celebrate or cry, laugh or roll their eyes at what we're doing down below. I'm sure she's very proud of you and pleased with your wonderful words.

Blessings,
Deb

Sadie and Sophie said...

We always thought everyone's parents were like ours when we were growing up. Sadly, that wasn't true. Ours were the best because, like your mom, they gave us unconditional love (and a few whacks to the seats of our pants LOL). We count our blessings every day that we had Dad until age 79, and still have Mom who's quickly approaching 84!

Thanks for sharing about your mother - loved the picture!

Pat Trainum aka P. T. Bradley said...

Beautiful commentary on your mom. She sounds like a wonderful person and I know you miss her terribly.

Suzanne Wesley said...

A beautiful tribute to your mom on an important date. So glad you shared it!

Pamela S. Meyers said...

Thanks Suzanne!

CDennis said...

And I can tell from your story how much you loved your mom back...and you lost her so young. I love the picture! Hugs, Catherine