My mom died six years ago today. I never have to stop and figure out how many years it has been, since Zeke was born just a month after Mom died - actually on her birthday. And since Zeke will soon be six years old - well, it must have been six years. I was so blessed to have my mom for a long, long time. She was almost 96 years old. But I can tell you, it really doesn't matter HOW long - it is never long enough. These last six years have had so many moments when I would have loved to talk to her. To get her opinion. Or to just laugh with her. Our moms hold a special, special place in our hearts that is not easily filled by anyone else. I actually took a picture of this photo which is in a scrapbook that I made for my mom. This very "impromptu" picture was taken by my dad, as my mom and I were working on a holiday dinner in December of 1971. My mom never liked our kitchen in this house. It did not have much counter space and we were always trying to work in a very cramped little space. In thinking back to that lack of working room, it may be why I am so comfortable in my own very small kitchen that doesn't have much counter space! I got used to it when working with my mom! I love this very genuine smile on both our faces.
I was searching through our scanned photos for a picture of me with my kids when they were teenagers. I settled on this picture which was taken on Easter in 1999, An interesting fact I have discovered - I am not in very many pictures. That is because I was usually the one TAKING the pictures at the events! So it is hard to find pictures that include me with the kids. Looking back at that picture of my mom and I, I realized just how important it is to keep taking pictures with our kids! I am so thankful that I have that picture of Mom and I and I am grateful to have this photo with both Gwen and Doug!
Today at my small group, I mentioned that these weeks in April are a bit difficult for me. During these weeks, my mother, father, sister, mother-in-law, and father-in-law all died. And even when I KNOW that these dates are just days on a calendar, I still feel that melancholy heaviness trying to get me down during this time. I am so thankful for the prayers of my friends today, that lifted that heaviness off of my heart. I was thinking of just how fitting it is that Easter falls during these weeks this year. It is a time when it is easy to fall into that sad/mourning time as we remember the events of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. I have always tried to imagine just how distraught the disciples must have been on that Saturday. When their friend was gone and they could not begin to come up with a plan to go forward. They had believed their teacher, but it was dark and cold and empty with his death. But then Sunday morning came!!! What an amazing, wondrous time that was. For us, even with the heaviness of Holy Week - we know that Sunday is on the way! Jesus has risen! He is alive!
The best part of this is the reminder for me that Mom is in that amazing place right now, praising Jesus. And she is with her mom - something that she longed for her entire life. (Her mom died when she was only two years old) And the happy news is that one day, I will see her again. And that makes this day of missing her so much easier. I know that I have blogged before about the song "In Christ Alone". My mom loved this song after she heard it. She said it told the whole story. So once again, here is In Christ Alone in honor of my mom. And it does really tell the entire story of Jesus.
I just love this last stanza of this song. there is a message there for all of us.
No guilt in life, no fear in death - this is the power of Christ in me.
From life's first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns, or calls me home, here in the power of Christ, I'll Stand!
Jesus, thank you for powerful songs that tell us your story and help us share that story with others. Thank you for the comfort you bring to all of us who are missing loved ones who have died. Give us all the reminder of the hope we have in you, Jesus. Amen