What words can capture Mom’s life? I need orchestras and choirs, the roar of the ocean and the sound of her lone violin in a country church. But here are my words—my loaves and fishes broken, and I hope, blessed.
Mom knew how to be the mother of boys. She let life flow and boys play. She let the house fill up with the snakes, lizards, and spiders we caught. She was a camping Mom who baked pies and made jam on a Coleman stove. She let us, or at least me her youngest, fill my summers with fearless tree climbing, fort building, and hide-and-seek until the last gleam of the sun. She blessed our summers with homemade root beer and popsicles.
Because of Mom’s practice with her sons, she got a reputation as being the teacher at Myrtle Crest that could handle boys other teachers couldn’t. One day, a couple of boys hid a snake in her desk drawer. Mom calmly grabbed the snake behind the head and preceded to chase the boys with it.
Not only was Mom a wonderful mother to her boys, she was a devoted wife to my Dad. She and Dad were lovers and best friends. She would always rather be with Dad than with anyone. After her stroke it was difficult for Mom to speak. Once while talking to her about camping with Dad at Cape Perpetua, I noticed a tear streaking her cheek. I asked her several times if she hurt anywhere. Finally, I asked if she missed Dad. She nodded yes. I have been blessed to see the beauty and richness that marriage can offer. The example of Mom and Dad’s marriage has richly blessed my own.
Mom also taught me how to love the church—God’s people. Much of her life she was a pastor’s wife and therefore got to see the good, bad, and terribly ugly in the church. She never got bitter and never embittered her children against the church. Like Dad, she was authentic—the real deal for 94 years. I say 94 because she couldn’t remember a time when she wasn’t a Christian—a time when serving and pleasing God wasn’t her heart’s desire.
Mom has been a model of courage. Dad died in December of 1993—twenty-three years ago. Despite her loss and grief, Mom faithfully continued to serve God and was soon busy helping Teckla and I raise four boys. She continued to love, give, and serve while keenly missing Dad. She prayed faithfully for all her children and grandchildren—some of whom may be alive today because of her prayers.
There is not much we can now give Mom—a woman who in Christ now has everything. Her riches have long been in heaven. She needs neither flowers or stones as a memorial. But I want to invite you to give what she found most precious and prayed for most often: radical obedience to Jesus Christ. Our own surrender to God and devotion to His Son is really the only thing we can still do to increase her joy and bless her heart.