Friday, December 6, 2013

Thanksliving Day Three

I'm thankful my mom wasn't a lousy mom.

Hard to believe that the day we launch C3, my mom would pass away that night from a stroke.

Every milestone of C3 has been met with a milestone of heart ache for our family.

Miss my mom, particularly lately. Decorating the tree and finding ornaments she's made for us.

But I'm thankful. The woman gave me a love for words, which ultimately led to this life of preaching and teaching and blogging.

Wrote this as a tribute to her which I shared at her funeral.

My mom liked me more than my sisters. She used to tell me stories with morals that said if at first you don’t succeed…try, try again. It is pretty easy to see that after having me there was no more need to try.

Either that or having me pushed her over the edge into despair. But I like the first version of the story better.

For as long as I can remember, she signed cards and often emails “Love you always In all ways, Mom”

And as I’ve reflected on her life and some of the lessons I’ve learned, that phrase has jumped out a number of times.

I don’t remember her ever buying new shirts for herself or going shopping for herself. She would take the clothes she got for Christmas and if she absolutely needed it, she would keep it, but if she didn’t think she needed it, she would return it to save money. But then in 7th grade, I was striking out in the popularity pool at school and couldn’t get a girlfriend…whatever that meant in 7th grade. I noticed that the guys who were popular among the ladies all had one common denominator which had to be the reason I was striking out and they were hitting home runs…they all had really nice, expensive Nike shoes. And so after making this realization, I made my case to my mom that my self esteem, my education, my future, literally my life depended on these shoes. I may have even used a 5 point powerpoint presentation to make my appeal. And she caved…even though they were ridiculously priced and money as they say, wasn’t exactly growing on trees, she got me the shoes. And while, the main result of that investment was the discovery that Nike Shoes weren’t the key to ladies, life and luxuy, I do remember mom loving me always in all ways.

In high school I did a year of marching band playing the trumpet and during a practice, a metal piece to the trumpet fell off and I picked it up and put it in my pocket and forgot about it as the practice continued. My mom found the metal piece in the laundry and came to me and had a heart to heart. Are you using drugs? She asked as she revealed her laundered findings. She was willing to call us out when necessary…because she loved us always in all ways.

When I shared with her late one night about how my girlfriend in high school was pregnant, she was heartbroken, but she hugged me tight and said to let her tell dad. She loved me at my worst…always in all ways.

Both my parents never missed a game…for any of us kids…they rooted for us…practiced with us in the backyard…drove us to games, tournaments and concerts. Both mom and dad were parents who showed up.

There’s no doubt that when dad died in 2005, a part of mom died with him. She got into a funk that she never fully came out of…but even still she got a job as an RN at Orrville Pointe nursing home and did what she has been prone to do which is take care of others better than she took care of herself.

And maybe the best thing to watch was how mom’s love, always in all ways transferred from us kids to our own kids.

Ethan, Kaitlynn, Camden, Ronan, Aralynn, Ashlyn and Chaia had a proud grandma. I know the distance was often hard, but mom cared deeply about her grandkids. Chaia’s journey in the hospital was one that had a significant impact on mom and really helped strengthen our relationship. She hated driving any distances. But while we were up at the Cleveland Clinic for about 100 days, she bought a GPS and braved the trek to Cleveland because she loved us and loved Chaia.

So mom is gone and it was both sudden and gradual. Just like dad, she died so quickly. And I miss her.. I miss them both.

My mom wasn’t perfect. She was sad for a long time. But I think what I appreciate the most is that I saw glimpses of an unconditional love in her for me and my sisters and our kids that remind me of the perfect version of loving always in all ways that is found in Jesus. Friends, he loves us at our worst. He loves us irrationally…relentlessly…unconditionally.

So when I think of Mom, I’m reminded of a God who is more than enough, more than able, more than I need and more than I deserve.

This journey is so fragile and too often I am wasting my life…so I pray for myself and for each one of us that we would do what mom tried to do and what Jesus did so perfectly

Love always In all ways.

It’s a better way.

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