In church this morning we were reminded of debts we owe as children to our mothers. My mother died 29 years ago from an accident falling downstairs on the day after Christmas. Only 57 years old, she was bright, (in intellect and personality), loving, encouraging, supportive and creative. And much more! But two things particularly struck me as I sat in church. About her spiritual gifts to me. As a deeply spiritual woman she had devotional depths, yet a down-to-earthness filled with life and humor. Two spiritual gifts stand out:
TIME - on countless long walks with the dog she would patiently, sensitively, let me open up on where my life might go. I never appreciated just how much time she was giving me, nor the powerful spiritual dimension of these hours. I can still hear her voice asking about what I thought God was calling me to be, and what gifts I thought I might have. I recall really wanting to share with her. And her quietness (for 95% of the time), and her insights. "You know, Michael," she once said, "I can see you one day teaching young people preparing for ministry." Really?
COURAGE - of course mothers can speak directly to us (like noone else!) when they are concerned. But, for my mother, the key issue was how closely I was walking with Jesus Christ. What were the qualities of my private relationship with Him? On one notable occasion, when she stayed with us during my first couple of years in the ministry, she chided me about my apparent lack of quiet time with God. She rightly perceived my busyness for God was in danger of burying my core relationship with Him. It takes spiritual courage in a love that notices important things to challenge others like that.
This Mother's Day I give thanks for my mom who gave me spiritual gifts of time and who challenged me (like noone else!)