There is a huge part of me that cannot believe we are here today, this earthly part of me that is so deeply sad. But then there is another part of me, a part in touch with a Peace that cannot be understood by an earthly mind, a soul that rejoices for my mother, who is also my Sister in Christ, who has risen to claim her prize. I picture her restored… all the scars from surgeries and procedures that covered her body are no more. Those pesky stretch marks from three pregnancies have been erased. I imagine her hair as a never ending silky stream flowing from her head. And surely there is no grey hair in heaven. Perhaps she is walking side by side with God Himself just as Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden amongst the brilliant blooms of flowers she has never seen before in colors that cannot be imagined. She is reunited with those gone before her… the grandmother who died long before she was born, her mother who went to be with Jesus just three months ago today. And finally reunited with her only earthly sister, one she lost so suddenly over thirty years ago. I can hear the laughter in my heart.
If my mother could say one thing today, it would be thank you. She would want to thank her angels on earth that ministered to her over the years she battled cancer. There were the food angels… all the good Southern ladies who know the way to make anything better is to feed people. The food angels had a difficult task in pleasing two opposing palettes – my mother, who would eat most anything you put before her, and my father, who has more selective taste buds. Somehow these angels kept their bellies full and satisfied. There were visiting angels, the people who took time out of their busy schedules and visited my grandparents in the nursing home when my mother was physically not able to do so. They will never know the relief in my mother’s voice over the phone when she was able to tell me how they were doing without being there herself. She also had the cleaning angels who came to clean the house for her, dusting and vacuuming and mopping floors. These are the chores we ladies don’t enjoy doing in our own house, but my mother’s angels came and did it with a smile. Last, but certainly not least, were the prayer angels, every single person who whispered a prayer for my mother’s health and strength. We will never know how many of these lovely angels there were, but we are forever grateful to each person who prayed for my mom and our family. The strength and love that we have felt through this supernatural web of support has been unexplainable. I want to thank not only the angels here in this room today but God as well for each one of you. Praise be to God that His amazing Love and Mercy lives today through the kindness of these angels on earth!
I have searched the pages of my Bible for just the right Scripture to share today, one that would fit just right. Everything pointed right back to the Proverbs 31 woman. And when I revisited the passage, I understood why. Listen as I share from Proverbs 31:10-12, 28-31:
A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
The best gift my mother ever gave me was her example of what a wife should be. My generation doesn’t have many examples of a Christian wife, but I was fortunate to grow up with one as my mother. I missed the formative years of the marriage, the ones both of parents alluded to as I grew up, the years where more patience was required on my mother’s side, more grace for a still maturing young man. My father will tell you he didn’t deserve my mother, and perhaps that is the truth. But maybe there was something else at work within my mother… maybe she had a love within her that no one here on earth deserves, a love that never runs out even when things are tough or disappointing, mercies that are new every morning, and grace that is free. To my father I would say that that she loved you with a Godly love, one that makes no sense to the outside world, exactly the way it was intended to be. And you loved her back with that same kind of love, one that pushed and pulled in all directions and made you the man you are today.
She also gave me the example of how a Christian mother should be. She wasn’t perfect, mind you… there was that one time when I was little that she promised to take me to the zoo and didn’t make good on it. I don’t know why I remember that day so well, but I sat at the kitchen table playing with Play-Doh, and I let her know that she was a liar for telling me she would take me and then not. She did not respond to me. Funny how I don’t remember her losing her patience with me ever. Now that I am a mother who happens to lose patience with her children several times a day, I am hoping she just had a good way of hiding her emotions. But maybe it’s because by the time I came along, she was already worn out from raising Trey and Todd who were only thirteen months apart. She said she rushed Trey to grow up and didn’t baby Todd enough from the very start, but I think she made up for it over time with lots of back scratches and home cooked meals.
I will rise and call her blessed every day of my life. I will thank God for her every day. In the 35 years I had with her, I received more love, more sound advice, more blessings than most people receive from both parents in a lifetime. I will remain forever grateful to my Creator for placing me in her womb, for selecting me to be her daughter. I am forever grateful to have watched her fight the ugliness of cancer with such strength, dignity, and honor. I am forever grateful to know that when she reached the gates, she claimed the reward we are promised through Jesus. By His Grace, by His amazing sacrifice, we are saved.
And to my mother, I will simply say these words… I will see you soon.