I’ve been thinking a lot about moms lately. Big surprise there—right? Of course I think about moms all year round. Quite continually, actually. But especially at this time of year. Our local Mom to Mom group just said our summer goodbyes. Mother’s Day is coming up. I marvel regularly at the heroic love the moms in our family (Erika, Kelly, and Abby) give their husbands and children.
But also, I was recently asked to share some reflections about my own mom. As I was thinking about the way she loved me, four gifts she gave me stood out. As I share them, I am very aware that not all of us receive these gifts from our moms; but keep reading: All of us can pass them on. These are all gifts I hope I bestow on my own children and grandchildren. All gifts you can pass along to your kids.
First, she listened to me. And listened. And listened. From those after-school conversations at our kitchen table when she seemed absolutely fascinated with every little thing about my day to my venting phone calls as a young mom myself, she listened. David Augsberger nailed it when he observed, “Being listened to is so close to being loved that most people can’t tell the difference.”
Second, she laughed a lot with me. These days, when Erika and I collapse in laughing fits which are often inexplicable to others, I think of my “humor heritage.” I will always be grateful for the sense of humor that lived in my own grandmother and my mom and—hopefully—lives in me. (OK, I am shamelessly co-opting Paul speaking to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:5. Of course the faith these Godly women passed on is far more important than their sense of humor. But it’s a great combination.)
Also, my mom loved me fiercely. She showed this in all kinds of ways. All the “love languages,” really. But one particular way stands out. She loved me enough to be honest with me about hard things. When I experienced my first encounter with death (the sudden death of my best friend’s father), I remember having nightmares about my own father’s death and talking to my mom about them. “What would we ever do if Daddy died?” I asked her.
I will always remember her answer: No pretending. No just “let’s hope for the best.” But this: “Honey, I don’t know what I would do either. I can’t imagine Daddy dying. But I know this: God never gives us grace ahead of time. He gives it to us when we need it. If God took Daddy, He would give us the grace to walk through that.” Good, true words to live on. In every single chapter of life.
Finally, she prayed for me. Seriously. Continuously. Always. And I knew it because she always followed through and asked me later about requests I had shared. These days, I think often of E. M. Bounds’ observation: “Prayers are deathless. They outlive the lives of those who utter them.”
So, here’s the good news for all of us, regardless of the gifts we did or did not receive from our own moms: these are all gifts we can pass on to our children. We can listen to them. We can laugh with them. We can love them fiercely, deeply, and honestly. And we can pray with and for them. Always.
And even better news: These are all gifts God gives to us.
He listens to us. “All my longings lie open before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you.” (Psalm 38:9)
He laughs with us. We are made in His image. And He gave us laughter.
He loves us with a stubborn, sacrificial, forever love. The entire Bible is His love letter to us. But here’s one example: “This is love: Not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)
He prays for us. Check out these verses: Roman 8:26 (The Holy Spirit prays for us) and Romans 8: 34 (Jesus prays for us).
Remember: You are loved. You are listened to. You are prayed for. Pass it on!
Happy Mother’s Day!