It’s been a few years. Much has changed. Little ones have grown up. People have moved. Relationships have ended and others have begun. Time flies, and memories fade, but still, the absence of one’s Mama is not easy to disguise.

It remains. There’s a hole, and it’s most evident in the good times and the bad times. You may find that statement contradictory, but that’s exactly what I intended to say. It’s in those good AND those bad times – opposite ends of the spectrum – that I miss her the most.

It’s when I need a shoulder to cry on, or when I am beyond excited and just want to share it with my number one cheerleader. That’s when it’s the hardest. In the day-to-day, business-as-usual world, the absence is less felt.

God gave us the ability to remember. He created us and encourages us to remember from Old Testament times. In Esther’s day, Jews were instructed to establish, remember, and observe certain customs or traditions. Take a look at Esther 9:18-32. God designed us to remember, and He encourages us to do so.

Scripture says in verse 28, those customs were to be “remembered and observed in every generation by every family, and in every province and in every city.” Forever and ever. “Nor should the memory of them die out among their descendants,” scripture continues. That’s pretty straightforward. God wishes for His people to use the memories He gave us to remember.

Now, I know one’s memory of a lost loved one is not exactly as the memory of a custom, but my point is, God gave us the ability to remember and I believe He did so intentionally.

My mom, the introvert

As I remember my mom, I think of the introvert that she was. When she met my dad, she was a very shy, high school graduate, renting a room from an elderly woman in a small rural town about 40 miles from her home. She had no car (nor did she have a license to drive), no family nearby, and no friends in this new community except for her coworkers. Her dad would drive to get her and take her back home every weekend, where she’d be surrounded by her seven younger brothers and sisters, then she’d return to her room Sunday evenings to begin a new week the next morning.

Even as an adult, she preferred solitude to social functions. She would prefer to find a place in nature – either up in the mountains or by the water’s edge – to sit, think, pray, read, write, or just ponder about life.

My mom, the Bible scholar

She was a Bible scholar. A lifelong learner who devoured the scriptures and learned everything she could. Her dream was to go to Bible college, but with a houseful of siblings, there was no extra money for the firstborn to attend college. However, her thirst for knowledge remained. That actually brought her out of her shell a bit, as it led to many opportunities to lead Bible studies and teach Sunday school classes. And, God gave her the desires of her heart when – thirty five years after her high school graduation – she graduated from Friends Bible College with a degree in Pastoral Counseling. And, that led to even more opportunities when my mom became an introverted pastor. And, yes, I became a PK (preacher’s kid) as an adult, when she – in her retirement years – served a small rural church in SW Iowa. She was doing what she loved – sharing God’s truths and changing lives.

But as I remember my Mama today, I think of what was constant. She actually penned part of her obituary, giving me instructions to include her words when that time came.

“God has been my companion,” she explained. “He has walked and talked with me. Sometimes He has spoken through His Word – the Bible. Other times, He has walked and talked with me through other human beings – through my husband, my family, or a minister, but more often through just another Christian.

My mom, that other Christian

“I hope, sometimes, I have been that other Christian someone needed to show them God’s love,” she continued, in her farewell thoughts, penned a few years before her death.

Her witness remains today. Her memory is held by many. I’m fortunate enough to have friends who knew and loved her, and when their memories of her come up in conversation, it warms my heart.

Mama’s autobiographical obituary continues: “To paraphrase a quote by George Matheson (Streams of the Desert), ‘I shall be satisfied if souls shall gather there when I am gone and say…she wrought no miracles, but she spoke words about Christ, which led me to know Him for myself’.”

Thankful for Memories

That’s my mom! She’s left a gaping hole which none can fill, but I’m thankful for her memory which soothes my wounded heart and blesses my happy heart.

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