For Mother's Day

Mother’s Day is this Sunday – our annual reminder to remember and honor motherhood. Mother’s Day is an opportunity to go the extra mile and honor our mothers with meaningful words of affirmation along with acts of kindness and gratitude. And for those who have lost mothers, it’s a time to reflect and remember their best qualities.  

For we husbands who are also blessed to be fathers, Mother’s Day provides some great, low-hanging fruit: the chance to celebrate our wives by ensuring they have a wonderful Mother’s Day. My own wife Kim is an amazing, caring mother to our three young adult “kids.” I’m also very blessed to have a thoughtful mother-in-law, Loretha.

Scripture clearly calls all children to honor their parents (Exodus 20:12, Deuteronomy 5:16, Ephesians 6:2), and Mother’s Day gives us a wonderful occasion to fulfill that command. So in that spirit, I’d like to share a little bit about my own mom, Gloria.

My Mom

To begin with, I am so thankful that she is still among the living. She is recently retired, in her early 70s, and a strong Christian who has served several churches as an administrative assistant throughout her career. My parents live 11 hours away, in the St. Louis, MO area, although my childhood years were spent in suburban Kansas City, MO.  

When I was 18, I moved three hours away for college -- my first long-term foray away from my home and parents -- and I’ve only spent seven of the past 31 years living in the same town as my parents. Yet, we continue to have a solid relationship thanks to regular phone conversations and social media interaction, along with 3-4 visits a year. I consider them some of my closest friends, and cannot imagine the heartache I’ll experience when the Lord calls them home.

My parents met on a blind date in 1969, and were married within 3 months!  Mom was a flight attendant then, and my dad, Ron, is a pilot. He flew commercially for 35 years – so he was often in the air or at a hotel in another city.  So, despite her tremendous skills and talents in the business world, Mom chose to spend her days rearing my younger brother and me as a stay-at-home mom while working part time at our church. I purposely use the proper term “rearing” instead of the more common term “raising” because of how often she had to spank my rear for stubborn behavior!  

The Encouraging Presence

Mom desired that we would become productive, God-fearing adults, and recognized her first calling was to be our parent and not solely a friend. I remember the strange feeling of hearing Mom behind a closed door, weeping to the Lord and earnestly praying on my behalf.  Although I wondered, “Am I that bad?” I also knew she truly loved me and cared about my future!

She encouraged me in school, but I never felt pressured to “get an A, or else.” Mom drove me to countless soccer practices and games. My sophomore year of high school, I was heartbroken by the fact that I didn’t letter in varsity soccer. So Mom went to the coach after our awards day and emphatically told him I was going to soccer camp that summer and would be a starter next year. This was back when parents didn’t do that sort of thing. I appreciated her sticking up for me, and it’s fun to recall that moment whenever I look at my letter-jacket in our basement storage.

Mom and Dad prioritized our spiritual growth, and ensured we were actively attending and involved in church. As a child, I wasn’t always happy for their staunch commitment -- especially when shows like The Muppets were on TV Sunday evenings. Looking back, though, I realize how formative those Sundays were; they helped make me into the same kind of Lord-loving person and parent that my parents were.

Mom is a lot of fun. There were several times when it was just her and me at home, having a bite of supper – and she’d look at me and say, “Want to go to a Royals game?” We’d gobble the rest of dinner and drive 20 minutes to the ballpark, sit in the outfield general admission (cheap seats) section, and cheer our hearts out while having lots of laughs to boot. Mom always got my humor, and I hers -- probably because we find the same things funny! We’ve traveled the world together, and have made so many tremendous memories.  

Mom has always supported me – in my choice of spouse, the careers I’ve pursued, and of course with my own three children, now ages 21, 19, and 17. What an eye-opening thing for me as an adult to see this strict disciplinarian I call “Mom” act as the permissive person my kids call “Grandma,” literally proclaiming “what happens at Grandma’s stays at Grandma’s.” WHAT?

My life has been so enhanced by all the memories with my Mom. I thank God for her. Let’s all honor and bless our moms this Mother’s Day.