When God sounds a lot like your Mom



Fresh off a morning commute, shouldering my bag, my backpack, everything necessary to supply me with what I might need for a 12 hour day. Grumbling a bit in my head, wishing I were home to enjoy the beautiful morning from my patio instead of spending it in a room without windows. I heard it……it was the voice I always hear when I hear birds sing.

I hear it especially when I am feeling a bit of regret, or sadness, or feeling a bit sorry for myself. It was my Mom’s voice I heard. And it knocked me for a loop because I had always thought that voice was God’s, but that day, I clearly heard hers.

“But the birds are singing, Lori.” Just that one sentence. Because I know what it costs her to hear them no matter what. My Mom doesn’t have an easy chair life. I have covered that before here in this blog. Though she is 85 she is up with the chickens. Already serving, praying, looking to Him for strength.

It’s hard to imagine just how deep a Mom’s love can go, but I found out a little bit more when I was home last. She was cleaning out the cedar chest, and as each item was lifted out she told the story that went along with it. Among the old report cards and drawings there was a broom I had made out of pine-needles held together with masking tape. “To clean up our camp,” she said. She cradled each item like prized artifacts.

Then, she lifted up a summer jumpsuit in white. I had forgotten all about  it. I could hear her grief all over again as she said, “This is what you came home from Mexico in.” She paused. Where I had faced the biggest grief of my life and hers, for a child’s sorrow is double for the parent. “I had expected you to look half-dead and instead you looked like a beautiful angel.”

As I get older, I see more of her in me. There are things we do just alike. Shape meatloaf for one. We don’t just slap it in a pan, we mix it, and shape it and mold it. And when we look in a mirror, we arrange our faces just so.

And we have a built-in desire to set about making a place homey. She and I bring wineglasses throw-rugs and coffee makers to campsites.

The way we always try to deflect a compliment.

Most of all, what holds our days and our hearts together like a ribbon is prayer. She taught me that.

This day is a day to honor Mother’s everywhere, and I honor her. I thank God for her everyday, that I still have her. I am also aware that there are many for whom this day holds much sadness.

It’s a day they grieve what they never had, or what they had and lost. Mother’s Day was always hard for my Mom. Her Mom wasn’t ever able to give what she needed most. She withheld love and affection, and compliments, though she gave other things.

And today we will see Elaine’s Mom, and that will be hard. We may or may not take her out to lunch. We will see how it goes. With Alzheimer’s you have to be ready for anything.

Mother’s Day has always been fraught with difficulty for her too. Her Mom was never there as a Mom should be. The other day she held up a card at the store with a weight on her shoulders. “This day is always so difficult.” She picked up the one with puppies, “Yes,” we said, “puppies are safe.”

Sometimes Mother’s Day means losing the Mother you never had, and that’s like a double grief isn’t it? But even in that, there is redemption. Because when you allow God to fill you with His grace, you can then hand that out to others. Even others you never received it from.

Today, as I lift up thanks for my own Mom, I pray for all those for whom this day is hard. I pray that God will wash you in His grace and wrap you in His great love.

And listen………for when you hear the birds sing, it’s always God disguised as your Mom.

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