A Mother’s Love

I just wrote a letter to a dear friend and pastor whose mother had just died. After reading condolences written to my friend by other pastors, the Lord led me to take a different approach. After losing my mother over 34 years ago and receiving  all kinds of condolences, I would like to share a different perspective with you.

As pastors, we are expected to respond to those who are going through the loss of a loved one whether peaceful or violent. This is also part of our Seminary training.

Yet, each death is so personal and so unique that we must seek God’s guidance for each one. Sometimes words are inadequate. Sometimes words are an intrusion. And sometimes words heal.

Here is my letter in response to hers.

Dear M—-

I will be praying for you as you come to grips with the new reality that you will never see your precious mother again this side of Heaven. No matter how sweet her home going and no matter how much our mind knows it was for the best, grief is a necessary part of that transition and in actually is an act of love.

No one can replace our mother. There is always that one question we wish we could have asked; that one moment we wish we could have shared; that one more touch we wish we could have felt.

She was an essential part of your life. You have your memories, yes, but you cannot put your arms around your memories.

You cannot lay your head in her lap. You cannot smile at her expecting her eyes to twinkle back in a knowledge only she and you share. You cannot hear that special tone of voice she reserved only for you. You cannot taste the sweetness of her kiss, or the sweat of her forehead as you kiss her, or feel the warm embrace of her love.

You will grieve her in unexpected ways, M—–  And grief will bring a smile as well as tears. Mine came 17 years after my mother died when I opened my mother’s rouge. Though she had died all those years earlier, her smell remained frozen in time in that small container.

A year later I came across a piece of her writing in an old autograph book dated 1955. As I read what she wrote, God called me to leave my job and go to Seminary. That Sunday, a lady I had never met, came up to me and said “God told me to give you these.”  My knees buckled and I nearly fell to the floor as she handed me 3 pink baby roses. They were the exact size, shape, color and number of roses my mother would pin in my hair every Sunday before church when I was a girl. Those two events led me to search for a Seminary.

Later my youngest daughter dried the roses and put them in a frame with my mother’s note from 1955 which I still display in my home. This was two years before I met you in your temporary office across the street from the Seminary I would attend. God used my mother in unexpected ways to lead me in an entirely new direction for the sake of his kingdom.

We carry our mother in a special place in our hearts for as long as we live. God does not make mistakes in the mother he gives us. I was blessed as I sense you were blessed, M—-, but you and I know that not everyone carry good memories of their mother. Sometimes I feel guilty that I was blessed to have a good godly mother. But I believe God has a plan regardless of the mother we were given. K—- and I have two cousins who had a mother who beat them, starved them, and made them sit in the snow overnight with barely any clothes on. They found the love of God through others in their life but not through their mother

So  M—-, you and I are grateful to God for our mothers. We know we will see them one day. May your memories of her bring you joy. May God comfort you with the comfort only God can give and give you peace in Jesus’ name as you continue your life journey.









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