I lost my mother to cancer almost 13 years ago and days like today are bittersweet. I was blessed to be raised by one of the godliest women I have ever known and I am saddened to recall the times I neglected her or treated her with disrespect. As I look back a familiar scripture comes to mind, “ “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), that it may go well with you and you may live long in the land” (Ephesians 6:2, 3). Commentators have a lot of different thoughts on what the promise really means in Ephesians 6, but I know what it means to me. For those of us blessed with godly parents – that promise is founded in the wisdom that comes from a life lived for God. Let me share a few of the promises and blessings I received when I hearkened to the voice of my parents (my mom in particular):
- The best things I have experienced in life are all consistent with the values my parents taught me. When I choose to serve God, follow his precepts, and live according to His will, my life is fuller, happier, and more abundant.
- There is the long-life principle. Will every person who listens to their parents receive a long, full life – no, but your chances dramatically improve when you stop and listen to the wisdom the comes from others extensive experience. I think about Solomon’s advice to his son in Proverbs 1. We all know Solomon made a lot of foolish mistakes, but like any parent he wanted his children to make better choices. Do as I say and not as I do is not the best parenting advice, but sometimes it is the heartfelt prayer of a parent who wants a better life for their child.
- That it may go well with you. I was a hard-headed, stubborn child and sadly I had to learn a lot of lessons the hard way. I think of all the heartache I could have avoided if I would have listened to my parents godly counsel. I lost count of the times mom said, “I just want whats best for you,” but those may have been the most significant and honest expressions of her love towards me. It is only since being a parent that I realize how hard it is to tell your children uncomfortable truths. The part that still breaks my heart to this day isn’t the heartache I caused for myself, but the heartache I caused my mother.
Twelve Mother’s Days have come and gone since I last had the chance to call and say, “Mom, I love you.” I look forward to seeing her on the other side of Jordan when I can tell her, “Mom, you were right. Mom, I should have listened more often. Mom, forgive for the times I spent in foolish, selfish pursuits,” but most importantly, “Mom, thank you. I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy this beautiful reunion at God’s throne of grace if you hadn’t modeled for me the character and values of a godly disciple. Your example, your teaching, and your influence laid a foundation of faith that has carried me through the most challenging periods of my life.”
Happy Mother’s Day!