Last Thursday we said goodbye to my dear mother. It was very emotional, even though we knew it was coming. She struggled so much to breathe toward the last, and then she gently exhaled and was gone. And in that moment, I realized what I had not noticed before. My mother had influenced me so well that even though I’ve lived in a different state for 25 years, she was invisibly present in my life despite the distance and the logistics. In those fleeting seconds, as she went to her eternal reward and her body cooled, I felt her absence. You see, my mother was the loom that wove our family together into a beautiful tapestry. She was the one to give you a push or a pull when things in your life got misaligned. Mom kept track of her entire extended family, and for some she was their only connection with the rest. Everyone mattered to my mother, even when we got on her nerves or upset her. Her values are engraved in my character.

You see, Mom had certain unbreakable principles. From the time I was two weeks old she had me in church and she saw to it that my sisters and I learned the great stories of the Bible. It was my mother who taught me to read, to pray, and to see God’s hand in creation as she took us on ‘nature walks’ when I was small. Mom taught me to be kind to animals and people whether great or small. Except, that is, for mice, Mom hated mice! The fastest I ever saw my mother move was when startled by a mouse. My mother not only saw people that others ignored, but she also taught us to value them. It was from my mother that I learned that all people are of sacred worth, long before I understood what those words meant. Family was very important, but never more important than God. So, Mother insisted that family events never be scheduled in conflict with church, and if she could make it happen, she caused them to coincide so that some who usually did not go to church came anyway. My mother’s soft, generous heart taught me the principle of unconditioned love. She loved people and animals that sometimes treated her poorly. She was not na├»ve about it, and she knew more than a fair share of grief, but when troubles came, she was one of the first to rise to the aid of even those who hurt her most.

My mother was also generous to a fault. I would be hard pressed to think of any given week going by that she was not doing for or giving something to someone in need, or just because she delighted in giving gifts. I wish I had been much more appreciative of some of her gifts, but until she departed for heaven, I didn’t see that the gifts weren’t the things that were given, but the love that motivated the gifts. I think it took Mom’s passing to help me see that she’d cocooned us all in the many silken strands of her love and care. Far too often she went under noticed and too little thanked. Now we have noticed and, oh my, are we thankful. I take solace in knowing that she understands and forgives. I don’t know for certain how much those who are with Christ are aware of what happens here on earth, but I’m confident that my mother is thinking of us even if she is busy with higher, more glorious matters.

I’m sure I’m not done learning the lessons God has for me (from the blessing that was my mother, to me), but one that I’ll share here is that God’s love takes in strays, sees, and values the least and the lowest as well as the high and mighty, and continuously bestows gifts and grace upon us even though we often fail to notice or thank Him. Thank you, Lord God, for my mother and even more for all that You give and do for me!

Contact Pastor Lamb at leadpastor@ imlaycityamazinggrace. org