Mother’s Day 1987, my Mom chose where we went to church that Sunday. We had been going to a great Catholic church for years but moved away and just. could. not. do. the local Parrish as it was D. E. A. D. and I mean, dead. No pulse. Dry as a bone. Even the priest died.
We thought, “God, You are big. Surely there is more to You than just standing, sitting, and kneeling…”
So, a beautiful lady who used to help my Mom clean the house once in a while invited us to go to her church. And when my Dad said, “Betty, why don’t you pick where we go for Mother’s Day…”, my Mom took him up on it.
28 years ago, exactly, on May 10th, 1987, we walked into a small non-denominational charismatic church where people were dancing in the aisles, waving flags, marching, and shouting “Hallelujah” and “Jesus” and praying in tongues and the pastor had a southern accent.
It was awkward. Seriously.
But, high-tailing it out of there would have been even more awkward, so we sat down near the front, a never-before heard of thing as a Catholic, and listened as best we could through the Texas twang to the message the preacher was sharing that day. And what we heard, amidst the hankies and praises and “amen’s” was that the God who we knew loved us, the One we knew about already from Catholicism, was One who wanted to know us, and be known by us, in a more personal way through the example of the life of Jesus Christ. And we learned the Holy Spirit wasn’t so much a Ghost as our spiritual life-line, a powerhouse for getting to know God through His word, a forever-with-me Presence for discernment and revelation, God’s presence in me for life.
And it clicked. It made sense. God, at least an iota of God, made sense to me in a way that changed my desires from learning ABOUT Him to wanting to get to KNOW Him, and be known by Him.
I watched my Mom quite a bit on this new portion of the spiritual journey. I watched her come into herself, her true self, her child-of-God-self. I wondered why she cried a lot about Jesus, so I finally asked her. She told me they were tears of happiness and thankfulness, tears to show her love for the Lord.
I used to be annoyed at how quickly my Mom’s eyes would rim wet when she’d talk about God and his Word. She could cry at the drop of a hat for the capacity of love she had for God.
Over the last several years, her tears didn’t bother me at all. The moment my daughter was born my tears began to well up and spill over, even at a commercial. I learned empathy. I was struck when I became a Mom just how very much my Mom loved each of us girls.
But as I sit and write this, remembering back to my Mom’s arms outstretched, head lifted, smile wide, tears freely streaming, dancing before her Lord, the very Lover of her soul, I’m most grateful that on Mother’s Day so many years ago, my Mom modeled to me a love and hunger for God, both in the giving and receiving, that would grow to insatiable depths right before my eyes.
One might think with such an example, one of a woman falling in love with her God and living solely for Him, that I’d seemingly follow suit. One might think. But I continue to fail miserably and pray more for God to raise my kids in spite of me.
Maybe that’s it? You see, I know my Mom wasn’t perfect, but the legacy of memories she left me are ones of her passionately pursuing her God.
I’ve passionately pursued trying to have my act together and continue to come up short…putting the cart before the horse, believing the lie that I HAVE to have my act together in order to approach God or receive from Him.
What my Mom modeled most faithfully was a life of going to Him each day and asking Him what she was supposed to be doing. One day at a time. Not perfectly but beautifully.
And looking back…and looking forward, I realize, that’s all I’ve ever wanted.
All along, all that time, she “modeled” what a woman loved by God looks like…that’s where the tears flowed from…the place of knowing His grace and forgiveness and unconditional love, in spite of herself.
Thanks, Mom, for leaving a Mother’s Day legacy that defies time and space…I love you, always. Boo xoxox