Thursday, February 27, 2014

Least of These

Sorry, Mom. I couldn't resist ;)
It's Mom's birthday today. Forty awesome years. She's told us lots of stories about her growing-up years, her early married years...and then it mostly fades into testimony (after testimony, after testimony) of the amazing things God has done for her. There've been times when things went "wrong", so to speak, but she rested in knowing that "All things" were for her good. (And indeed, all the stories prove it.) She has always had an incredible way of choosing to look at the good things in her life instead of dwelling on her woes. I think this attitude plays deeply into what she is to me - that is, a Mom.

  One day, while I was working around the house, I stopped for a second with a realization. As I listened, over the space of about ten minutes, "Mom" was the most popular word. Shouted down the stairway, said softly in the living room, crowed around the corner...and I thought, does she ever wish she had a break?

But no, she doesn't.

I've seen a lot of mothers who absolutely can't wait to get away from the plaintive calls. Some roll their eyes when a child asks for help. Some complain. Some sigh and make a big show of how inconvenient it is to have to do anything for their child. But Mom looks at it from a completely different perspective.

To her it's a privilege - an honor given to her by God. To her, it's not a matter of "How much work can I avoid" - but "How much of Christ's love can I show? What more can I do to see this child be the best he or she can be?"

How do I know that's her attitude? Because I've watched her actions. If she only said "I love you," every once and a while, I don't think that would have cemented it for me. No, it was her actions; how she talked about us, how she treated us and the level of respect she gave to each of us on an every day basis.

For as long as I can remember, Mom has always treated my concerns as true concerns - from three to seventeen. So many times she's stopped to explain things to me and answer my questions. She let me sleep in her bed when I would sneak there in the middle of the night (although, I found out later, I wasn't as sneaky as I thought. She just, mercifully, let me stay. :) When I was rude and hopeless,  she replied with wisdom and kindness. Her prayers always interested me, because I knew that my name would usually turn up in the middle of them. "Dear Lord, please help Anna to..." and I would be encouraged.

I know there must have been times when she felt like giving up, though. Days when "Mama" - every three minutes seemed to grate her nerves. When interruptions (during school, through nap time, in church, while she worked) tempted her to give a frustrated reply. When the incessant work we presented received little thanks or appreciation when she'd helped us. But there's a verse that's always stuck with me - and I think it describes Moms dedication really well.

Matthew 25: 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

More than any thanks I can give her today, is the reward I know God has stored up for her because she did it "unto the least of these."

Love you, Mom.

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