Happy Mother’s Day Mama!!

Happy Mother’s Day Mama!!

I just wanted to tell you some things that might not fit in a traditional card. I hope that is o.k.

You have been such a wonderful mom to all of us. Now that I am a mother myself, I get it. There is so much involved that it’s hard to even put it into words. But I understand the emotion and the love that is so great it hurts sometimes. I understand the sacrifices that you made for all of us. I understand pushing through difficult circumstances and trying so hard to be a good role model. You did it all without a second thought. God crafted you so perfectly and I just love you so much.

When we were little you did all the right little kid things. You were there for us, you took us to our games, you helped us with our rooms, and our schoolwork. You loved us and played with us and helped shape us into respectful, decent human beings. As we got a little older, you stepped it up and armed yourself with a tough exterior for all the times we were stupid teenagers and were mean to you. ☹ I’ll never forgive myself for being so rude to you in the mornings when I was a teenager. You were so sweet! You just took it in stride.

When we all stepped into adulthood, you made it easy and supported our decisions and listened so patiently. You genuinely just wanted us to be happy and whole, whatever that meant for each of us. You didn’t push your opinions or your idea of what we should be doing, you just listened and supported us with so much love. I always felt so safe with you. It wasn’t until I was a young adult that I realized not everyone has that beautiful circumstance. It was such a gift.

Through all the different phases, there was a steady and solid theme of prayer and faith. That’s the piece that takes my breath away. It’s such a blessing to know that someone is always praying behind the scenes. Even when we don’t ask you for specific prayers, I know you are praying for us. If I thanked you a million times, it still wouldn’t be enough.

I’m in such a bittersweet season right now with Joey and I catch myself often reflecting on my own relationship with you and I’m just always so grateful for you Mama. You have been such an amazing role model and I know I wouldn’t be the mom I am without having you to model the way for me.

This year has been quite emotional. Receiving the news of your stroke was…. I don’t even know the word. It was heavy and hard and emotionally crippling. I watched you fight through all your heart issues over the years and I know it was so hard on you, but you were still you and you were communicating, and healing and I got to see your grit and your strength.

This stroke though…. I don’t know, it felt different. I didn’t know what to expect. I was afraid. I was afraid I might never hear your sweet voice again. You have such joy in your voice and it has been a constant consolation to me, and I was so afraid. We prayed and we prayed, and we prayed. And you…. You fought through it with such grace and such strength and such tenacity.

You were determined to have your voice heard again and I have never loved you more. I am so proud of the hard work you have done and selfishly I am so happy to hear your sweet voice again. I will never take that for granted. Being able to call you and hear the joy and the happiness in your greeting. I don’t know how you do it, but you manage to fit joy and love and happiness in the simple words “Hello! How are you?”

I don’t know how you do it, but it fills me with gratitude and makes me feel safe and loved so very much.  Just four little words and everything is right again. I’m so proud of you. I know you were afraid too, but you used it to your advantage. You forged through the frustration and confusion and came out victorious!

You are an amazing woman. You are filled with God’s grace, compassion, and pure love for others. I’m sobbing typing this letter and my heart feels like it will burst any moment. I love you Mom. I’m so grateful for you, for your gentle spirit and your deep love for us and for the Lord. Thank you seems very inadequate, but thank you for all the things, small and large that you have done for all of us.

Happy Mother’s Day! I love you and I can’t wait to see you very soon. I hope you have a great day today. You are the best.

Love, Jennifer

John 3:16, Homily, Euch. Service

John 3:16

When I think of this Gospel from John 3:16, I am struck with two memories. The first memory is of Rainbow Head, the man who used to show up at sporting events with a large white Afro wig that had every color of the rainbow streaked through it. He would locate himself so that every camera covering the event showed him in the background.

He stood as a solitary figure holding a white placard with John 3:16 written on it. This was his way of spreading the good news. Somehow his attempt at witness backfired. When I saw him, I was to remember John 3:16, but in fact when I see John 3:16, I think of Rainbow Head, rather than Jesus. A number of people pointed this out and he stopped.

The other memory that comes to mind is the question, “Wasn’t God the Father being cruel for allowing His Son to be killed for the sake of all of us”?  Am I the only one who has considered this?

The answer has to do with the fact that the Father did not kill the Son. He allowed Him to be put to death for the sake of all the other sons and daughters of His creation. And, more importantly, Jesus arrived at the decision to allow His life to be taken for the sake of us, His brothers, and His sisters.

Jesus had spiritually matured to the point (level six on the Kohlberg chart of emotional maturity) where He realized what He needed to do and likely discussed it with His Father during one of His late-night prayer sessions with His Father.

That gives us a different way to view this otherwise difficult, bordering on the barbaric, view that jumps into our minds from time to time.