My Mean Mom!

Sunday we mark Mother’s Day.  Some scoff at the day as nothing more than an invention of those who sell greeting cards, flowers, and dinners to guilty children. Others find the day incredibly painful reminder of a Mom now gone. Still others are women for whom the day is an endurance test of sorrow because of children never held, perhaps never conceived, or lost in miscarriage, or perhaps even in a now regretted termination of pregnancy. I write with a sensitivity to the sorrow that some feel, with no tolerance for the scoffers!

I love Mother’s Day as a time to recognize and thank those who carry out the most difficult task in the world, raising a child, all while learning on the job!  God gave me a good Mom, a woman who loved God and us, though imperfectly, with her whole heart.

(What follows is a personal reflection that I wrote on Mother’s Day, 2006. My mother had broken her hip that Saturday night. So, after preaching on Mother’s Day Sunday 2006, I traveled to Pennsylvania to sit the night with her. She died 5 years later. These words honored her 15 years ago, and still are as true to me as the day I wrote them. To my Mom,  possibly the most influential person in my life.)

I’m writing this while watching my Mom sleep in a hospital bed. Occasionally she sort of rouses to recognize that I’m here, but mostly the morphine has her in a haze of semi-consciousness. It’s my privilege to sit here by her bed, but it’s oh, so hard to see her in such pain. She was on a stepladder on Saturday evening changing a light bulb. Somehow she missed the last step, fell, and broke both her shoulder and hip! Mom doesn’t like to acknowledge that she’s days shy of 70 years of age, hence being on a ladder when she might have been more cautious. I’d scold her, but I’ll probably be just like her 20 years from now – resisting every limitation of age with kicking and screaming.

While I was leading the worship service at church this morning, I was thinking about my Mom; worrying really. In between worries, I remembered. Somehow thinking back to the way she was when I was 10 or 12, made thinking about the ‘now’ less frightening. I hated that she was a no-nonsense Mom then, but sure appreciate it now.

She believed in making her kids self-reliant, disciplined, and capable of understanding life’s choices have consequences. I hated making my bed to her specifications. (lines on the bedspread straight, corners tight!) I despised that I had to keep my room picked up neatly. (no dirty socks on the floor, all clothes on hangars, thank you!) 

But, from those little daily chores, I learned that IF a person tends to the simple stuff, the harder things in life tends to fall into place, too. She didn’t let me think of letting school work go. It aggravated me that other kids could blow off assignments and that their Mom would cover for them with written excuses. Mine said, “you deal with it” and let me take whatever was coming my way for my irresponsibility. It taught me that deadlines mean something and to get my work done, on time!

She modeled the same diligence she expected of me. I can’t remember when she didn’t have dinner ready.  There were NO piles of laundry ever. (Quite a feat for a women who always had several children in her home for 40 years).  I cannot remember her house being in ‘a mess!’ I didn’t hear her complain too often either. She showed us that life was about doing what needed to be done. Yep, there’s a lot of Mom in me.

So, sitting here watching her face which is a lot more lined than the face that I remember when I close my eyes, I believe she’ll be OK, because she’s one tough lady and because she trusts God. I oughta know, cause she raised me to be tough and to trust Him too!

An anonymous author penned this in tribute to his Mom —
Because of my mother, I missed out on lots of things other kids experienced. I’ve never been caught shoplifting, vandalizing other’s property, or ever arrested for any crime. It was all her fault. I didn’t get drunk, didn’t take up smoking, wasn’t allowed to stayed out all night, or a million other things that other kids did.

Sundays were reserved for church, and I didn’t miss ever, that I can remember unless I was deathly ill. And, I knew better than to ask to spend the night with a friend on Saturdays. Now I’m a God-fearing, educated, honest adult. I am doing my best to be a mean parent just like Mom was. I think that’s what is wrong with the world today. It just doesn’t have enough mean moms anymore.”   Now an old man myself, I still say, Amen to that.

Forgive me for this little reverie… I’m only thinking about my Mom today!

The Word says of a noble mother – “Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!” Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.” (Proverbs 31:28-31, NLT)


I pray if you’re a Mom, you find joy, strengthened by faith.

Happy Mother’s Day.

CWTW will not be published next week, returning on Monday, May 17.

Lord-willing I’ll see here, refreshed and ready to encourage you in your love for Jesus.

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