Sunday, May 13, 1990. It was on this day, 30 years ago, that I spent my last Mother’s Day with you, mom.
Earlier this week, while I was thinking about the upcoming weekend, it suddenly dawned on me that all these years add up to three decades without you—physically—in front of me. However, I feel your presence around me in so many ways, especially in a spiritual sense.
Mother’s Day 1990, as much as I can remember, was spent with a good meal, flowers, cards, and lots of love and laughter. Since I was only 18 years old at the time, I thought we would have years and years of Mother’s Days together. Yet, it was not to be. Oh, what my heart would share with you if I could go back to that moment in time and spend the day with you again.
Because I cannot share it in person with you, I will share it with the world.
There are many, many amazing memories I have with my mom in the eighteen years I spent with her. Going through them in my mind, I can honestly place the best of them in two categories and according to two scriptures:
Matthew 22:37-40 37Jesus replied: “‘Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
In words and actions, my mom loved God first. I do not know who initially introduced my mom to Jesus because she was raised by alcoholic parents that in no way cared for any part of their children’s needs—physically, mentally, or spiritually. In fact, I believe many different family members took them in and cared for them.
My mother was determined that her children would have a different upbringing than she did, and God was at the head of it. She read the Word, prayed, worshipped, and spoke about the Glory of God daily. I honestly do not remember a time in her life that Jesus was not a part of it.
She is the first person that told me about Jesus, and that conversation never stopped. Over the years, we spent many hours talking about the Lord and all the good things He had done and will do. In fact, one of the last conversations we had before she died was about Jesus. And you know what is so amazing about ALL of that!?
I feel the closest to my mom when I am at church, worshipping the Lord, reading the Word etc., because we bonded together the most over the relationship she and I had (have) with Jesus.
I am so grateful that my mom allowed God to work so mightily in her and through her. That is the legacy she most wanted to leave- and when I think of her, I think of Jesus. I try extremely hard to live my life in the same way and want to daily put God first and live a life that honors Him—with my family, friends, and all those He brings into my life.
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love. One of the most important attributes that we can share with those we encounter throughout our life. It is a choice we make.
As a baby, I grew up not only knowing but feeling so much love from my mom and dad. In the way they cared for me, protected me, and told me very often. I never knew how bad my mom’s childhood was until she told me when I was older. That made me love her so much more. She could have chosen to hold on to all the hurt and pain of her past, but she did not.
The deep capacity my mom had to love was a direct correlation to her relationship with Jesus and her surrender to His will in her life. Over time and throughout the years, I saw her express joy, hope, and love to so many people in her life–in day-to-day contacts and family relationships.
It would take a long time to list all the ways my mom loved fiercely, from my dad and my sisters all the way down to the people my mom met in the grocery store—literally. I am going to share only two of the many I treasure!
My mother was born and raised in Southern California, so when we moved back to this area in 1984, she resumed close relationships with two of her sisters living in the area we were in: my Aunt Ann and Aunt Irene. Years with both families gave me such good times and great memories with my Aunts, Uncles, and cousins. Oh, how I miss all of these get togethers.
Naturally, my mom shared her relationship with Jesus as often as she felt led, because she loved everyone and wanted especially those closest with her to know her Savior and be saved.
My mom was awfully close to my Aunt Irene. They shared a great love of Roger’s and Hammerstein musicals and great conversations. And, I was lucky enough to participate in both (and I still think of both when I watch Oklahoma! Or State Fair)!!
One conversation stands out between my mom and my Aunt, it was about Jesus, and this conversation was quite different and so blessed by God. I do not know how to explain it, but I never forgot it and seeds were planted that day in my Aunt’s heart I have no doubt!!
Fast forward several years and my mom passes away from cancer. This devastates my Aunt Irene, but we stay close. I love her so very much, as I do all my mom’s sisters and brother.
A few years later my Aunt Irene is diagnosed with terminal cancer. It is during this time, and one of my last visits with her, that I have the most amazing conversation that I ever had with her. God was very present and very much a part of our conversation, I have NO doubt.
Aunt Irene: Do you go to church? Are you a part of a church?
Me: No, not really, not right now. We moved not that long ago—
Aunt Irene: You need to get back in church, find a home church.
Me: Okay, we will try, I promise.
Aunt Irene: You need to. It is important that you do.
She was incredibly insistent that my family and I get back in church. My Aunt and I have never had a conversation about church before. This conversation gave me so much hope in a changed heart in my Aunt, that the many conversations my mom had with her helped her see her need for Jesus.
I have NO DOUBT that my Aunt is with Jesus in heaven and this conversation with her was my first glimpse into her changed heart. Amen!
The other memory I would like to share happened at the grocery store. My mom had just finished her nursing classes, and we were at the store to pick up a few things for dinner. She had just expressed to me how exhausted she was, as we got in line to pay for a few things and placed them on the counter.
There was an “old lady” in front of us, and she struck up a long conversation with my mom. My mom put on her best smile and spoke with her as though she had all the time in the world and that older lady was the most important person to her.
After we paid and were leaving, I brought up their conversation and how sweet it was that she spoke to her. She said, “Shanon, she was so lonely and just needed someone to share her life with.” Such a simple act that I have never forgot.
That is my mom, even the simplest gestures are filled with love and Jesus—just like her life and legacy.
My dad, sister’s and I miss her like crazy and talk of her often because that is the way we keep her memory alive to her grandkids and great grandkids that she has not had the pleasure to meet—yet!!
All the Glory to God,