An annual tribute to my mother and encouragement to you:
She was an incredible woman. Born in 1921, she aspired to be a vocal performer. As a senior in high school, she contracted tuberculosis. Her dream to perform was no longer possible and the vocal scholarship to attend college was rescinded. She married a handsome Navy pilot just before he was deployed to the South Pacific Theater in WWII. He returned quite a different man than the one she married. Post-Traumatic Stress played a major role in the alcoholism and other challenges the marriage and family would face over the ensuing years. Ma endured a life of suffering and poverty but persevered to provide for her family and was rich in a faith grounded in her relationship with Jesus the Christ. She would be the first to say she was far from perfect, but she was the most spiritual person I have known – her intentionality to unconditionally love and pray fervently for others was amazing. Finally, it was congestive heart failure that opened the door for her to go Home in 2010. She was a loving woman, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Today she is wearing her ‘victor’s crown’. Thanks for your example Ma – I love you.
Mother’s Day, the second Sunday in May provides a great opportunity to honor your mother. I am not talking about the Hallmark card, flowers or even Shari’s Berries. I challenge you to write her a tribute or letter of thanks and read it to her. (If she is no longer living, read the letter to your kids.) Take her out to eat and ask her about challenges she faced raising you. (Again, if she is no longer living or not accessible, ask a woman in the church of her generation out to lunch and have a similar conversation.)
I know your afflictions and your poverty – yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown. – Revelation 2:9-10. Life did not play out the way the church in Smyrna may have anticipated. There were attacks in the physical and spiritual realms. Yet the Lord’s expectation was for them to “be faithful, even to the point of death.” In life, families are under attack physically and spiritually. It is easy to blame or even judge parents when things do not go as anticipated. Yet the call is to be faithful to our Father by honoring the earthly mother and father He blessed us with. Then, He will stand in the gap to fill in the blanks or voids experienced on this journey called life.
The command with a promise is: “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12). The promise is one of blessing – it may be a blessing of affirmation; it may involve emotional healing; or it may initiate spiritual healing across generations. What we know is that God is a faithful Father and as we honor, He will follow through with His promise.
Prayer guide: Thank You for the mother and father You blessed me with. Life is playing out exactly as You have planned. I confess there were many years when I was certainly more dishonoring than honoring of my parents. Forgive me. Thank You for the heart change You initiated in me that provided an opportunity to honor my mother and father while they were alive. And thank You for the generational healing my family has experienced as a result. You are an awesome God and a wonderfully faithful Father! Amen.
A faithful father leads by example in honoring his mother and father.