Proverbs 31:28 Her children rise up and call her blessed
In the 38th year of my life, there are few things which have endured since my beginning. In our modern age of impermanence and unsettledness, life is constantly changing. Life looks very different today for me than it did 5 and 10 and 20 years ago.
But one of the few blessings which have remained constant through it all is my mom. For as far back as I can remember, she has been a constant expression of God’s goodness to me.
Some of my earliest memories are of my mom patiently reading to me Bible stories before bed.
I remember mom taking a break from playing tennis in order to play catch with me and encouraging me when I caught the tennis ball.
I remember one my first birthday parties (6 or 7?) when mom invited the neighbor kids and made some fried chicken.
I remember visiting America for the first time and going to Disneyworld with mom in December and having hot chocolate.
I remember coming to America with dad and how mom remained behind to manage the store and wrap things up.
I have a general memory of the countless hours she spent working with me on my handwriting, on my math, on my Chinese homework.
I remember as a little boy going on walks with my mom when she was expecting Jennifer and sitting with her in the living room trying to feel the baby kick on her belly.
I remember the birthday party she organized for me during those awkward middle school years and having friends over to my house.
I remember how I always seemed to get caught by mom playing video games when I shouldn’t have been… and how wisely and graciously she responded.
I remember going to my uncle’s dry cleaners after school where she worked and looking forward to getting a meatball sub.
I remember when dad hurt his back and mom asked us to pray for her as she managed our store all by herself.
I remember being broken-hearted over a girl and being able to talk to my mom about it.
I remember many times when I was sick and when you’re sick, there’s no one quite like mom to care for you.
I remember being an ungrateful teenager, and yet how graciously and patiently mom dealt with me.
I remember praying together with mom as she wept over the death of her brother.
I remember regularly seeing her reading her Bible and praying for God’s grace up on her children.
I remember the weekly prayer meetings and Bible studies she would host in our home.
I remember her taking me to countless church and school functions and waiting patiently for me (and this was before smartphones to keep her entertained).
I remember going off to college and missing mom’s cooking so much.
I remember how I was able to save so much money by moving back home after college and being reminded of how mom never stopped being mom (and that’s a good thing!).
I remember how mom encouraged me not to give up when I was frustrated with my job, and to pray for God’s direction for my life.
I remember when we sold the store and mom worked for the school district in a job she was way overqualified for, but still did it with the humility and grace that comes from the gospel.
I remember mom sitting up front during some of my earliest sermons (and they were pretty bad) and encouraging me in them.
I remember mom’s patience with me as I became more obnoxious and argumentative in my theological views.
I remember her encouragement and prayers for me as I headed off to seminary and eventually to pastoral ministry.
I remember my mom going with me to Washington DC and helping me get settled as I started the internship at CHBC.
I remember how kindly my mom welcomed and accepted Stephanie when I first brought her home to Houston.
I remember how happy I was to have my mom and the rest of my family and extended family there in DC for my wedding.
I remember how my mom stayed with us when Jubilee was born and helped care for Steph and pack the home as we prepared to move to Portland.
I remember how my mom cried when we were leaving after our first visit to Houston with Jubilee.
I remember how well my mom has loved all my kids and has prayed for them just as she prayed for me.
It’s an amazing thing to trace my life through the love of one person. Yet in God’s kindness, this is the blessing that my mom has been all my life.
On this 70th birthday, Ma, thank you. I love you.