Mother’s Day is a National holiday. I will never be able to avoid it. No, I haven’t forgotten to get a gift…for my wife. My Mom passed away in 2013. She was sick on Mother’s Day. On Father’s Day she was in hospice care.
I led worship the day before she passed and I led worship the Sunday after. It was difficult but I was resolved to honor my Mom the best way I knew how. I worshiped God.
It is interesting to see how others treat Mother’s Day in view of their own tragedies. For those who have also lost their Mom and for those who will never be one. This time of year is tricky for us who help plan worship services. Do we treat it like every other Sunday? Do we go all out and give gifts to any Mom in the service? Do we dedicate new Moms and their babies? Do we just ignore it all? It is tricky. No matter what you do, someone is hurt or upset.
My Mom wasn’t perfect. She often made me roll my eyes. But she was Mom. She had a way about her that you knew she was special.
I especially thought about her this week. My son is struggling in school. He was not made for the classroom model that is used. He doesn’t sit still with his hands folded. He has a hard time containing his excitement when the lesson is finally interesting. He dislikes homework. I was much the same way, though I was really shy and quiet and would spend most of the day looking out the window, dreaming or drawing characters on my paper.
I remember all the times my Mom stood up for me and would ask the teachers tough questions. They usually couldn’t answer and I am finding that today’s teachers have just as hard a time answering my questions. I remember when I was in 5th grade and my teacher Mrs. Alvilar was directing our class to sing a “singing Christmas tree”-type song and each of us had to have a costume from a country around the world. We didn’t have money to buy that kind of thing. So “dress rehearsal” day was the day of the performance during school and I didn’t have anything to wear for the occasion. Mrs. Alvilar made me go to the front of the class because she had “extra” costumes. They were Spanish dresses. She made me put on a dress and wear it down the hall to the cafeteria, during the rehearsal, and back down the hallway to our classroom. I was so scared when I got to class that evening for the real performance. I cried. I knew I was going to have to wear a dress…but Mom had a talk with Mrs. Alvilar and a friend (savior) had an extra karate gi that I could wear instead.
She was often doing that. When my gifted classroom wasn’t stimulating, she moved me to a more advanced school. The teacher yelled at me and we went back to Mr. Luntao’s class (which I liked better anyway). When Mrs. Alvilar didn’t think I was gifted anymore and was moved into a “regular” class (yeah, there were gifted kids in the regular class too) she asked Mr. Gake hard questions about what we would be learning that year. When Mr. Dacanay accused me of cheating on a spelling test, she was there asking tough questions when I was adamant I didn’t cheat.
She was smart. But almost too smart. I wonder where she was in her faith the last few years of her life. I had heard her say in passing that she and my Dad couldn’t find a church that could teach them things they didn’t already know and would challenge their faith. So they didn’t go to church. When we would talk about politics, her favorite subject, she would insist on things that I knew were false but she wouldn’t check the sources I gave her…at least she didn’t let me in on her conclusions.
My Mom was outgoing. She would push me to invite people over even when I knew that their attendance was pity. I have gotten out of my shell from that shy kid. My Mom was a hero to a lot of my friends and where I am firm in particular beliefs, I wonder if they liked her because she just tried hard to be liked.
You see, she wasn’t perfect. But she was Mom. I love my Mom. She was one of the only people who can still pop my back outside a chiropractor. We Lewis’ have thick backs and broad shoulders and it takes more than weight to make the spine pop. She knew everything about me. What I like and what I don’t like. She knew about all the girls over the years that I had crushes on and sympathized with me when they weren’t interested. But when I brought Janna home to meet my family, my Mom was so proud. Not only had I brought home a beautiful lady, but “She is so mature. She is smart. This is the kind of woman I have always prayed you would marry.” Janna is the woman I wanted my Mom to meet.
My Mom wasn’t perfect. But she was Mom. I know we had our differences. But, she knew how to mediate situations of angst. The last time I spoke to Mom, she told me about how proud she was of me. How I was raising my family to be believers, how to walk this earth with Christ, and that I was doing my best to be a great Husband and Dad. She knew where she was going when she left this earth. I pray that God took her home in her imperfection because of His grace.
It is with that faith I can lead worship on Mother’s Day. It is with this hope I march on in life. I do get teary as I think about her and miss her. But these tears are merely human, nostalgic tears. I know I will see Mom again. I have this hope and faith that leads me forward. I don’t lament not having her today. That is selfish. It’s unholy. She wouldn’t want that. If I spent Mother’s Day shaking my fist at God and lamenting her death, I wouldn’t be fulfilling the calling that God has for me and for my Mom. The Gospel gives me the hope that lives within me to be joyful when I miss her because of the future heaven we will all live in together.
Each day that I live, I will continue working for God’s Kingdom because of the influence of women like my Mom as well as my Grandmothers, Mother-in-law and my wife. They all have shown what motherhood is about. And each are unique and share different qualities that are admirable. I am thankful that God gave me a Mom that cared about me so much and gave me the gift of faith in Christ. My Mom surrounded me with loving people in Christ’s church who watched over me, formed me and my faith, taught me God’s Word, shared the Gospel with me, became family, and gave me opportunities to grow into the faithful man, minister, father, husband, and mentor I am today.
Go love your Mom. Thank her for her influence. If she is gone, thank God for her and think about all that she did for you in this life. Honor the women who have been “Mom” to you over the years.
For my Mom, Marjorie Alice Lewis, who I love and dearly miss.