I’m sad today.
To be honest, I miss my mom. It’s been just over two years since she went to be with Jesus. Her death to cancer was a horrible way to exit earth. But I take solace in the knowledge that she had a glorious entrance into heaven. I thank God that I had the privilege of leading her to Christ when I was a teenager.
Yesterday when I saw my brother and his family out in Des Moines (for my nephew Zach’s graduation party) it brought back a flood of bittersweet memories of mom. My brother and I swapped stories of mom with each other as we drove around Des Moines getting stuff for the party. We talked about how much we missed her and how wild it was to be raised by such a tough, hardworking and big hearted mom.
She was one in a million (maybe billion!) I have never known a more upfront, forthright, genuine and generous person (and I’ve met a lot of people.) She was the essence of frankness. People think that I’m blunt but I pale in comparison to “ma”.
I remember one time when I was preaching in church when I asked the not-meant-to-be-answered question,
“How many of you struggle with bitterness?”
My mom yelled out “I do everyday!”
I yelled back, “Hey ma! That was a rhetorical question!”
She yelled back louder, “Well don’t ask the stinkin’ question if you don’t want the stinkin’ answer!”
Looking around at the stunned and silent audience she blurted the one word question “Right?”
They cheered and I blushed.
I miss mom’s absolute authenticity. I’m kind of sad as I type this on Mother’s Day. But I’m also happy.
Why happy? Because I’m grateful for my wife, the mother of my children. It’s been over fifteen years since we exchanged wedding vows on that hot and muggy August day.
She is one in a million (maybe billion!) I have never known a more loving, gentle, kind, compassionate and courageous person (and I’ve met a lot of people.) Some think that I’m courageous because of my travel schedule, work ethic and intensity but I pale in comparison to my beautiful wife. She will be the one that is rewarded much more than me at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Her acts of service, willingness to listen to others and genuine empathy for anyone and everyone take much more courage than standing in front of an arena of teenagers to preach.
It was her quiet strength and courageous compassion that first caught my attention as a college student. She would talk to me, ask me questions and then listen intently. I have never met somebody so interested in the needs, feelings and hurts of others. Most people (like me) are too busy with their own needs, feelings and hurts to take time to love and listen to those around them.
This character trait so attracted me to her that I decided to ask her out the next time I saw her. It happened sooner than I anticipated (which means I didn’t have time to work on my “script”). We were in the lobby of Colorado Christian University when I asked her perhaps the dumbest series of questions ever uttered on planet earth:
Me:“Would you mind if I asked you a question?”
Me:“Would you mind if I asked you out?”
Me:“Do you want to go out?”
I cheered and she blushed. The rest is history. Two kids and fifteen years later I feel like the most blessed man on earth.
On this Mother’s Day, I thank God for a mom that raised me in the midst of poverty and encouraged me to pursue my dream of becoming a preacher. And I thank God for a wife who has stuck by me all of these years in spite of my “idiotsyncrasies.”
What are the lessons on this special day? Honor your mom and appreciate her like never before. Believe me, you will miss her when she’s gone.
If you are a married man, give your wife an extra tight squeeze, look deeply into her eyes, thank her for putting up with you and tell her how much you love her.
If you are single…good luck with that.
P.S. I love you sweetie.
P.S.S. I miss you ma.