Tomorrow we will celebrate Mother's Day and I really wish that I could call or visit my mother once again. But over two decades ago the Lord saw fit to take her home with Him and she is enjoying His presence today. And I would not want to take her away from that. Unfortunately, for some sad reason, we often fail to fully honor our mother on this special day until after she is no longer with us. Then we wish we had done so or could do it again.
The lord blessed me with a special mother. She loved and faithfully served the Lord. She led her children to Him. She loved her husband and her family. She provided a special home for us even when facing tough days of real challenge. She had the gift of hospitality and was a special friend and help to so many people.
As a child I didn't really understand the difficult times and challenges she faced nor the sacrifices she made for her family. But they were many. Married during the difficult years of World War 2, she moved nine times in the first 12 years of being married. And for most of those years they didn't even have a car and had to depend upon the bus and friends to get around. But somehow they did. And, of course, we never missed church.
Like so many families in those war years, she had to use an ice box for refrigeration until my brother was born in 1945. At that time we lived in New Cumberland and appliances were scarce. But a local dealer was able to get a refrigerator and because my father was a school teacher and they just had a baby, the dealer chose to give my parents the opportunity to purchase it. That may have been the first luxury she ever had.
There were numerous situations involving mother that I will never forget. She never liked to drive the car, although she had her license so that she could drive in emergencies. One of those came when our dog got sick and had to go to the vet. Dad was teaching that night so she had to drive. While trying to turn around she bumped into a fire hydrant. When I opened the door our dog jumped out and we had to spend quite a bit of time trying to catch the frightened pup. It wasn't funny then, but we often laughed about it later.
Mother was always involved with Child Evangelism Fellowship and for many years we would have a Good News Club weekly in our basement. She and I both did the teaching. But one night she and a friend decided to go to the CEF training session which was held in downtown Lancaster. Unfortunately they got mixed up and ended up in the middle of a meeting of the Water Street Rescue Mission which was being held for the homeless and those with bad habits. Most of them were men. While it was probably very frightening at the time, we enjoyed laughs about this experience for many years.
Since we were charter members of our church which we helped start in 1950, my mother had ample opportunity to use her gift of hospitality. For many years we always hosted all the visiting missionaries and speakers. When our church first started we housed the young men from Berean Bible School who came for the summer to support the beginning ministry. We provided housing and my mother provided great meals for all. It was lots of work for her, but she enjoyed it, and it provided a great spiritual experience for her children.
Mother was a great cook. We couldn't afford to go to diners and there were very few fast food locations when I was growing up. So holiday meals, Sunday meals and birthday meals were always special times. For birthdays she made special layer cakes that were filled with our favorite fillings (mine was apricot) and iced with whipped cream. No wonder I have always had trouble with my weight. But our favorite treat was her macaroni salad which she always made without a written recipe. Unfortunately, despite many tries by many family members, nobody has ever been able to recreate that special dish. Oh how I miss that! In their senior years my parents actually added a large room to their house and purchased a large expanding table so that they could regularly host the entire family - three generations - for meals. Special memories!
Mother loved children and she loved to care for the elderly at the county home. Folks there loved her because of her caring spirit. She also loved to listen to the children in Awana and, after her death, many of the children were heart broken because they had loved to come to her. They really missed her and many tears were shed. She touched many lives as shown by the huge turnout for her funeral and family visitation.
There is so much that I could share about her and I thank the Lord for her life and that she was my mother. One of the things that I treasure most was that on her last birthday all of my family were able to visit with her and spend quality time sharing. That was really a little unusual on her birthday. And little did we realize then that the very next day she would be taken home to heaven immediately following an automobile accident. A young teenager failed to observe a stop sign and broadsided my parent's car on my mother's side.
That event is still hard to think about. It was very hard for my father who then lived without his loving wife for many years. But looking back, I thank the Lord that mother was spared all the pain that often goes with seniors, including things like loss of memory, nursing homes, hospitalizations, etc. God gave me a special mother. Happy Mother's Day, mom.
P.S. - If your mother or mother-in-law is still alive, don't you dare fail to call or visit her tomorrow and spend some quality time with her. You never know when it will be your last chance to do so.