Jen’s Gem: Faith begins at home.
Today would’ve been my Mom’s 95th birthday. She passed away a dozen years ago and while the loss is not felt every moment any longer, there are certain times when it rears its ugly head. Today of course, holidays, and milestone events for my children and me make me wish she were still here.
She would’ve oozed with pride over my daughter’s acceptance into college and her academic success. She would’ve marveled at my son’s basketball prowess and knowledge of the game. Oooooh – to have Face-timed her during prom preparations, graduations, driver’s licenses, and first jobs. Of course, this assumes she would’ve had a cell phone or computer, which is unlikely! Who knows? Maybe!
My mother was a fantastic cheerleader. No – not the cheerleader you see at sporting events, although look at her – she would’ve rocked! She was cheerleader who encouraged you and gave you that extra boost of confidence when a new challenge threatened to sink you into an abyss of insecurity.
She was also the one who would listen intently and eagerly as you shared the happenings of your life, ready with a word of advice whether or not you asked for it. She had an innate sense of people and could size them up pretty quickly. She was somewhat quiet, but when she spoke, you paid attention.
Her cooking was to die for, easily switching from Italian meals to traditional Southern foods in a blink of an eye. I do believe that my family would’ve been millionaires if we’d known enough to package and sell her mouth-watering pies, cookies, and breads. Look out Mrs. Fields!
Raised a Southern Baptist, she converted to Catholicism so that her children would be raised in a singular faith. I would’ve loved to have learned more about this monumental change, but like many questions I wish I’d asked, this one will join its unanswered friends.
Other than going to church every Sunday, completing the Catholic Sacraments, and a family Bible on the living room table, there wasn’t much evidence of faith being practiced on an everyday basis. Yet somehow I knew in my guts that my mother loved God. I believe it was her faith that sustained her as the pain of the cancer gripped her body and eventually took her life.
My father’s faith worked a bit differently. Oh sure, he insisted on weekly church attendance, but he’d skip out after Communion. He’d question the sermons and note how they could’ve been improved. And don’t even get me started on what this gifted musician would say if the choir sang off key!
If I had to classify my parent’s faith, I’d say my Mom walked by faith and not sight, whereas my father was slightly opposite. He questioned and wanted answers. My Mom just knew that she knew that she knew.
I’ve got a mixture of both in me as I walk out my faith. There are things that I just know coupled with lots of questions. Just ask the pastor of my church who I torment on a pretty regular basis. Thankfully, he has not blocked my text messages or banned me from Bible college…yet!
“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 NKJV)
I’m grateful beyond words for having parents who taught me the importance of faith in God. We were not an overly religious family, we did not walk around quoting Bible verses, but the hint of God’s importance was evident.
My children have seen a few flavors of God during their time with me. Yet today, they know exactly where I stand. I pray every day that they find their faith’s resting place light years sooner than I did, so that they can live victoriously as God intended.
I have my mother and father to thank for planting seeds of faith in me. Those seeds have sprouted and now I’m doing my best to pass it along to their grandchildren. I’m not sure what my parents would think of my soon-to-be-attained degree in Theology next year or my weekly blog and podcast where I share my faith so openly. But boy – would I love for them to see it all.
So Mom….Thank you for the gift of life. Thank you for your love. Thank you for always being my cheerleader. Thank you for teaching me about the importance of family and tradition. But most of all, thank you for planting a seed of faith in me. It’s truly the greatest gift I’ve ever received.
Happy birthday Mom. I love you!