“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” Deuteronomy 6: 6 & 7
With my mother’s 86th birthday just a few days away, I’ve been thinking about things I’ve learned from her; especially now, since she isn’t quite capable of casual conversation about things.
Some of my earliest memories are of me being about three years old. At that point, I was pretty much a Daddy’s girl. And one of the things I knew about Daddy, was that he liked coming home. He never was the kind to stop by the local bar or club on the way home. My father’s faith in God kept his heart at home. Equally, Mom made sure that our home was a place to which he wanted to come.
Mom’s dearest desire was to be a home-maker. There is a difference between a house-keeper and a home-maker. A house-keeper is house-proud, focusing on how things look. A home-maker creates a clean, inviting environment where people feel special, cared for, significant. It wasn’t easy, but Mom worked toward this. A home-maker understands that she plays a significant role in setting the tone in the home; she is driven by the motivation to provide a place where relationships are established and grow. A personal faith in Jesus Christ is the foundation my mother built her home around. Mom taught that faith to us, her children.
Every family has their own way of doing things. My dad was the kind of person who wanted to eat dinner as soon as he got home from work. Mom—a home-maker—adapted herself to this preference making sure that when Dad did come home from work, dinner was ready; and, we three children were ready to sit down at the table as well. My half-brother (five-years older than me,) could use a regular chair, I sat on a booster seat and my sister sat in the high chair.
Our family sat around our table a lot. Mom taught us these words: “God is good, God is great. Let us thank Him for our food. By His hands we must be fed; thank You Lord, for our daily bread.” In this practical way we began learning to include God in our lives.
I confess to having a difficult time writing this blog: because I have so many memories. Which ones do I write about? What point am I trying to make? I can see how much my Mom invested into my life; often she had no idea she was doing it. To be honest, neither did I—until I sit down to write about it.
I want to write the truth here, not sugar-coat the friction and unrest that were often in our home. Nor do I want to justify the mean and ugly things we went through. Yet, I also want to write about the love that we did share, the forgiveness that was practiced, the courage that was taken hold of in order to persevere and maintain a family unit. Our family story isn’t about major accomplishments. More than anything, our story is about facing those daily challenges, simple things that gain value once considered and understood.
Even with the frustration of dementia, Mom’s heart is still holding onto her hope in Christ. And this is my hope too.
Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,