Happy Birthday, Mama

(I read this to Mom this morning at Ellerslie–all the staff wrote a letter to her to read. Mine just happened to end up being four pages long and included a power-point presentation with the picture I painted and the poems. ;) )

Dear Mom,

On Mother’s Day, as you’ll no doubt remember, I painted you a picture:

(picture not included)

And I wrote you a poem…

The first day I met you, I was bawling in your arms.
I was reeling from sudden exposure to this new situation:
life on the outside.

…which should have stopped before it ever began.

So, I tried writing another poem:

Mom, I can’t thank you half as much
as I think I oughter.
You’re my friend, my confidant, a gentle touch,
The best mother that ever loved a daughter.

This daughter has quirks,
You know this better than any other
But, this too has its perks:
You’ve never mistaken me for my brother.

Needless to say, I am not painting you anything OR writing you any poetry for your birthday. You deserve better!

It’s your birthday. And here I am once again trying to do the impossible–put into words what you mean to me. There is so much that I love about you. So many things that I don’t even realize the extent of it. Here’s a handful of things I love about you:
– I love that you make the best food ever thought possible.
– I love that you are so gullible that I can make you believe almost anything.
– I love that you always know exactly where everything is when one of your offspring (ok, me) needs something.
– I love your hair.
I love that you put up with me–my wild whims, my emotional outbreaks, my crazy ideas, my insensible humor.
I love that you love Jesus.
I love your laugh.
I love that everything usually gets better as soon as you walk in the door.
I love your selflessness.
I love the way you have raised me–with honor, integrity, and a sweet love for our King.
I love the way you love those around you and pour yourself unreservedly into their lives.
I love your voice. (who thinks she has the greatest voice ever?)
I love that you have allowed me the honor of having 78.6 gazillion siblings.
I love that you sit in the other room while I’m making dinner and yell out random ingredients I should add to my salmon patties. Raisins,  tabasco sauce, and nutmeg? Eggnog? Really?
I love that you give so much of yourself that I have to sit you down and talk sternly with you about the importance of eating.
I love that your response to the previous note is usually “I ate half of a protein bar!” and expect me to be impressed.
I love that you’ve been willing to forgive so many times over.

Speaking of forgiveness:

I’m sorry that I’ve teased you endlessly–actually, I’m kind of not sorry about that, and it will probably continue.
I’m sorry that I made your car mold and smell bad.
I’m sorry that I put you in a position where you had to be the “mean mom” and take away my bedroom door and bed. For close to four months.
I’m sorry for all the times I’ve forgotten things that you’ve told me to do.
I’m sorry for the times that I rubber-banded the squirter-thing at the sink so it would spray you when you turned the faucet on.

Thank you for loving me in spite of me? :)

There are times when I look at you and ponder your life and I am simply speechless. Remember the other day when I choked really bad on my water? That’s probably what was going on at that moment. Having a mom like you has been the adventure of a lifetime–in more ways than one:

I remember getting up really early in the morning back when I was a morning person (like, 30 years ago), and I’d come sit by you while you were reading the Bible.

I remember you relentlessly trying to get me to “STOP SITTING UNDER THE DINING ROOM TABLE WHEN WE HAVE COMPANY, GRACE….YOU’RE 10 YEARS OLD.”

I remember the day someone told you that a friend of theirs had believed them when they told them that the word “gullible” had been taken out of the dictionary–and you gasped and said “When did they do that?!”

I remember the times you used to make us dance through the house, arms flailing, with Silverwind playing loudly in the background because we were falling asleep in our math books.

I remember spending countless hours gardening, weeding, harvesting, canning, (and eating!) with you. I’m still in awe of all you managed to get done with a troupe of kids like us…er….me.

I remember the day you had surgery and my little 4-year-old self was glued to the patio as I watched you get carried into the house–I had never seen my Mom anything but perfectly strong and capable.

I remember the many hours you spent discipling other ladies, girls, moms, neighborhood kids, and anyone you could nab.

I remember you going out and buying your OWN lego set, Search & Rescue, and not letting us play with them. You’d get them out sometimes and play with them–they generally were searching and rescuing lost souls and having revival meetings out behind the station.

I remember you and Dad willingly taking international refugees into your home and giving everything you had to help them survive in the world.

I remember you climbing up into the high rafters with large rolls of tar-paper on your shoulder while we were building our house.

I remember your unfailing patience and willingness to “see the good” during less-than-desirable circumstances and situations.

I literally do not ever remember a time when my Mom has not completely selflessly served those around her–spilled her life for the cause of the gospel.

There have been good times and “bad times” in our lives as a family–and yet to see you still allowing yourself to be completely used of God, no matter what the consequences may be, and to see you continually give up your life brings tears to my eyes. You gave all of yourself when you had a whole passel of little unruly kids to raise (what? no, I never snuck books and food and hid them under my bed…). You gave all of yourself even through the winds of Fairhaven–though you got worse than nothing in return. And here you are giving yourself fully right where God has you now–at Ellerslie. No matter the season of life, no matter how daunting the road ahead, or how painful the road has been in the past, I’ve seen you remain constant…as only one whose feet are firmly planted on the Rock of rocks can do. I truly hope that one day I can be half the woman you are–although, like Elisha, I would dare to ask for double, because you’ve taught me not to stop short of “all the way”.

You are the description of tough and gentle love. Eric hit the nail on the head when he said you are a lamb with the face of a lion. You have a love and devotion to the Lord that is rare in our day.

The Lord has used your life to impact and change me more than possibly anything else in this world–thank you, Jesus.

As I was writing this, I remembered that I wrote something last year, too, but wasn’t able to be here to read it to you–so I went and looked it up. I obviously felt the same way then as I do now–even some of the exact same phrases are in here! So, I want to read you a piece of what I wrote last year, too, since I’m here to read it personally now:

I look at you each day and I’m amazed. I’m blessed and honored. I’m humbled. Each day as I work alongside you, I witness something amazing. I see in you a depth of selflessness that I didn’t know was possible. I see God shining through you. I see God around you. I hear God speaking through you. You’ve taught me who God is. Your life has been a constant demonstration of Jesus to me–and to so many others.

Having a mother like you has been one of the greatest gifts anyone could have given me–your passion for the Lord, your devotion, your desire to instill a love for your Saviour into the lives of your children, your selflessness, your courage, the way you constantly direct me to the Lord, your desire to to see God high and lifted up . . . thank you.

It brings tears to my eyes to so many times just to observe the way you allow yourself to be used of God. I have watched you give up your life. I have experienced the love you have poured into the lives of everyone around you. I have seen you sacrifice yourself for someone else. I have watched you rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. I have seen a devotion to the Lord that is rare in our day.

Thank you for being such a picture of what it is to be set-apart for the Lord. Thank you for showing me what it is to be a lamb with the face of a lion. Thank you for allowing your life to be used to show the world around you what it means to have victory in Jesus.

To see my own mother living a set-apart and given-up life for the Lord Jesus Christ has touched me and changed me possibly more than anything else in my life. One of my biggest wishes is to be like you.

All of that is still true and is the resounding theme when I consider the idea of writing a letter to you.

Thank you, Mama, for allowing your life to be a picture of a set-apart heart. Thank you for loving Jesus above all. Thank you giving me the honor of living day-in and day-out with someone who holds nothing back–for being able to see that lived out in front of me each day.

I love you.


2 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Mama

  1. This is such a happy post! You are such a character, Grace. And apparently so is your lovely mama! I love this post. And I love you. And I suddenly have an intense longing to beam myself to where you are and enjoy some time with your crazy, awesome self.

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