Gathering the 1st Stone – My Mom

The early part of this past May, my mom died, went to be in the arms of Jesus, after a bout of Alzheimers!  The 1st stone I am gathering is my life with her, my relationship with her, how God used all that she was and all that she wasn’t to shape me and bring me to the promise of His Kingdom in my life.

I am actually going to collect two stones dedicated to my mom.  The first is before Alzheimer’s, the second is after Alzheimer’s.  I want to be honoring of her and at the same time transparent.  I am praying that I accomplish this and you can take some of what I learned, apply it to your specific situations and reach higher in God.

One day I was actually at the end of my workout and I was laying down.  As I laid there, I started thinking of my mom and how she was during my growing up life. One and a half years prior to this time, we built an apartment attached to our garage and my parents moved into our backyard.  This presented some blessings and challenges that we were not expecting.  We knew my mom’s health was failing and that maybe she had some dementia.  We did not realize the extent and how people are affected by memory loss, how fear often times overcomes them and paralyzes them emotionally, mentally, and even physically.  My dad had done an amazing job of ‘covering’ for her probably for the previous 5 years.  But here I was thinking about my life with my mom and how we had got here.

God opened my eyes to a lot of beautiful ways that she had laid her life down for me.  When I was young I wrote backwards and upside down.  You could read it in the mirror.  I don’t know for sure if that was a form of dyslexia or not, I do know that she spent hours upon hours with me at the breakfast bars, helping me to retrain my brain.  I would pout up, wiggle, make excuses, but she was consistent.  During those years in our educational system, mainstreaming was not implemented.  I would have been labeled and placed in the remedial class.  The goal for children in that class was to get them to be a functioning part of society.  There is a very good chance I never would have been a cheerleader, bat girl, play softball, win several awards, graduate 3rd in my class or go to the university.  I would not have met Randy, married, have three Kingdom adavancing kids and help found Prepare International.  PrayGround and all the kids and parents it influences would not have been.  And the list goes on.  It was like I was watching  ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ but it wasn’t about my life exactly, it was about my mom’s life and how I am who I am a large extent because she was who she was.  She loved me and gave me what she had.  She was a teacher and she taught me!!  (side note:  I never suffered from self-esteem issues concerning my mirror writing.  My dad thought it was incredible.  He bragged and showed everyone that came to our house.  I thought I was like a super hero, or secret agent. Smile.  To this day I can write and read upside down and backwards.  When I am tired a readily default to mixing up words and numbers.  Crazy how the mind works!)

But my mom WAS a teacher!  She loved to teach.  One of the statements that someone said of my mom at her funeral was that she didn’t teach subjects or ‘school’, she taught children.  She strived to pull each child’s ‘specialness’ out of them.  She made each child feel special.  I want to be like that.  We received so many compliments of how she had influenced countless people by being their teacher and how she encouraged them.

Another one of my brother’s friends told us this at her funeral:  He said that my brother, Jimmy had asked him to spend the night.  This friend was from a influential, solid family in the community.  He said my mom came in to tuck the boys into bed.  She told Jimmy she loved him and when she got to the door, she turned and said, “_________, I love you too!”  He said that was the first time in all his life that he remembered anyone telling him that they loved him!!!!  No one ever would have thought that of this particular young boy.  But my mom was always looking for the holes in children’s heart and trying to fill them.  She saw beyond the outer appearance.

I think that she did this so well because she, herself had holes in her heart.  Jesus had filled most of them but there were some she had never let God fill completely.  As a result, this particular rock I’m gathering from my mom is so strong and so secure.  It is forged with her self sacrificing love but there are a few holes in the rock.  Those holes were filled by my dad and my Mom Droke (grandmother).  God made a way that I didn’t even notice the holes until that day laying down after my workout.  I didn’t know how to respond when I saw my mom not only as my mom but as a person.  A person battling fears, insecurities, rejection.  I still don’t know how to feel, it’s just a fact in my life.  But she fought past the holes in her heart to fill the holes in hearts of others.  I want to be a hole-filler!

Next week I will talk about the second stone I’m gathering dedicated to my mom.  It is a stone of how God used my mom’s struggle with Ahlziemer’s to equip me for the Promises on the other side of the River.  This stone is very small, but very heavy.  I am determined to be vulnerable and truthful.  Through my transparency may Jesus shine bright in your lives.

But as for this stone, a stone solid but porous, I am grateful!  A stone of self sacrificing love.  A love that reaches beyond self lack to fill the holes in others.  What is one way God used your mom as a solid foundation?  Were there holes that others filled?  Are you a hole filler?

Originally posted June 2nd, 2017

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