“Hello yeah, it’s been a while
Not much, how ’bout you?
I’m not sure why I called
I guess I really just wanted to talk to you.”
This 70’s song always chokes me up. It reminds me of my mom. Maybe because since high school I spent a lot of time communicating with her over the phone. Maybe because I’d often call my mom for no reason–I just wanted to hear her voice. Maybe because I miss her smile and would like to go walking with her to a windy park. I heard it while shopping in Safeway a few weeks after her death and couldn’t control my sobs in the canned tomatoes aisle. Moms are the best. Yet sadly, it’s been a while, 10 years since her death, and much has happened.
Hannah was born, we moved internationally, my kids grew into teenagers, my sister married and had children–extreme change and growth. I pull from past memories of my mom’s voice (“God’s mercies are new every morning”) and her example (banana bread always makes a nice gift and warms a heart). But there are still times when I cry to Patrick, “I just need my mom!”
My mom was like my trellis. I was a spindly, creeping vine plant growing every which way and she supported me. She encouraged me. She consistently pointed me upward, not inward or downward where trampling occurs. I still need a trellis.
God, in his mercy, because he knows my feeble frame, has given me a gift through other loving women. These aren’t replacements but they build on what Mom started and they fill out the trellis, they support through their varied gifts. Most aren’t old enough to actually be my mom but they are all a few steps ahead of me with their children and in their marriages. I thank God for providing them, for continuing to give me motherly love and insight.
I want to honor these dear women today, “trellises” in my life, always full of support and encouragement:
Sitting beside her two months before we were going to leave for Morocco, I whispered, “I feel like I’m getting ready to jump off of a big cliff.” She giggled, moved closer to me, looked me straight in the eye and declared, “You are!” She prayed for me as our family made the leap overseas and walked with me through the new territory. She was only a quick email away and sometimes we were blessed with a visit. She’d talk me through practical things like nap times and kids chores and spiritual things like urging me to abide and rest in Christ. I always felt supported through her prayers and her listening ear. Thank you, Jean. I reflect often on your wisdom and believe that you helped keep me sane.
It’s difficult to grow in friendship when you are thousands of miles away. I didn’t know this dear lady well before we moved to Morocco but she had both a shepherding heart and an ability to write a good long, personal email, a winning combo for a long distance mentor! She updated me on her graduating children, her daughter’s wedding plans, her father’s death, and daily things like pilates and home groups. In the midst of these details her heart would shine through–how the Lord is meeting her in everyday life and for what she is thankful. I have learned so much by “watching” her family’s lives thousands of miles away. Thank you, Lesli, for loving me from afar. I am so much richer for it.
When I first met this special lady in Morocco, I couldn’t help but think of my mom. She both looked like and practiced hospitality like my mom did. I remember laughing out loud when I thought of the blessing of knowing someone like my mom, yet in an international context! She could cook like a Moroccan, speak like a Moroccan, and had raised her children internationally. Through the years, I grew from her wisdom and cherished how she loved our kids. I still cry when I remember watching her walk down the street with my two oldest, going to treat them to ice cream. Thank you, Karen, for loving me and for showing me Jesus in your life.
This Chicago mentor befriended me when our kids were small. I remember her talking of Edith Schaeffer, finding joy in beautiful flowers, sending me a list of favorite children’s books (I still love Alfie and Annie Rose!)–all which pointed me to the loveliness of Christ. Her deep thoughts, humility, and desire to make much of Jesus drew my heart to hers again and again. She empathized with some educational issues with my kids, she remembered my struggles, and pleaded before the throne for me. Thank you, Melissa, for your compassion, sensitivity, and wisdom.
Though a family friend for years, it was just this past summer that I bonded with this shepherding soul. She lived right down the street from us while we were in Arizona for a month and each week I’d walk down and pour out my heart to her in her living room. She listened, she asked questions, she loved. I’m grateful for both how I was cared for and for her example of how to love others. Thank you, Kathi, for your enthusiasm, your listening ear, and your love for the Word and how it can change people.
And there are other lovely mother figures that I learn from–most recently sweet Jan, who is gazing at Jesus as her outer nature is wasting away but her inner nature is being renewed each day.
God has never left me or forsaken me when I lost my mom. A mom I thought I could never live without. He provides and provides and provides. And I continue to grow up the trellis He kindly gives. To Him be the glory!