I will never tire of thanking God for my mother, who's painted through her life-canvass one of the most beautiful pictures of Christ I have ever seen, in spite of experiencing suffering beyond what most people can imagine.
It's been 6 years since she was forced out of her home and marriage. And for years I have wondered how she endured those 25 years with someone so cruel, how she isn't bitter and hardened and angry, how the pain hasn't swallowed her whole. And all I can think is, it's because she's wholly swallowed up in the Shadow of the Almighty.
It's her resilience that sets her apart. Resilience that comes from spending numberless hours of head cradled in tear-soaked pillow and knees knelt in prayer to the only One who can fathom her anguish. Gentle as the dew, our mother has remained steel-resolved in her commitment to serve the One she came to know as a 23 year old.
Her heart was broken countless times by the one she vowed forever to, but not her spirit. Instead of dwelling on her own bleeding heart, she etched into ours the importance of always living out 1Corinthians 13. This mother of mine, who when growing up planned to be a nun, instead ended up in America at seventeen years of age to support her family in Colombia...And 36 years later has 6 children, and no home to call her own-- but she is one of the most cheerful and generous people I know.
Now, twelve years since her last visit to Colombia, she's emailing us from there, thanks to a kind loved one who paid for her trip. And even in her short paragraph, I see in her words that heart that beats for others.
"At home with mom, like a dream...coming here reminds me a little of Romania...poverty and sadness and at the same time beauty and mercy in everyday stuff...praying for wisdom and love as the days go by...love you lots, mami."
I think back to Sunday night, and those words I scribbled and sneaked into her bag as I packed it, that all-time favorite quote on motherhood, the one I keep writing to her every mothers day,
"When the judgment shall sit, and the books shall be opened; when the 'well done' of the great Judge is pronounced, and the crown of immortal glory is placed upon the brow of the victor, many will raise their crowns in sight of the assembled universe and, pointing to their mother, say, 'She made me all I am through the grace of God. Her instruction, her prayers, have been blessed to my eternal salvation.' "
Truly, when by God's grace I enter into eternity, the truth of those words will be echoed from my lips.
And how I wish I could fully express what my mother means to me, but I cannot. As I sit in our room, I find my moms nursing school binder, and tucked inside I find my previous mothers day card, and my poet-brothers' handwritten note to her from Christmas 2007, and as I read his words, I can see why she keeps them with her, them more beautiful than anything I could ever say about our mother.
Your heart is a river, so
gently flowing, its love and
compassion, no end in going.
Your eyes a portal, a mirror,
a reflection, of the One so immortal.
Your hands have labored so
endlessly, results are producing,
Those who match the love of
God are few, He gave His life for
me, and so have you.
For reflection, the sun has the
moon, humankind has itself, and
God has you.
This Mothers day, although she will be thousands of miles away, her influence, her spirit, her ocean-heart of love, still reach across the expanse and fill my heart with gratitude, me so blessed beyond expression... And I pray that as she serves her family there, she knows how much she is loved and missed by her little ones here.