Thursday, May 05, 2011

Glorying in What My Mom Couldn't Do

It has been twenty Mother’s Days since my mom died. I had no idea on that Mother’s Day in 1991 that so soon the breast cancer she had been battling for about three years and appeared to be kept at bay, would return with a vengeance in the fall, and by February of ’92 she would be gone.

Today, Thursday May 5th, is the National Day of Prayer and this Sunday, May 8th, is Mother’s Day. So I am feeling a need to remember my mom but also to recognize the power of her prayers on my behalf.

My mother lived her life as the ultimate “glory in the ordinary” person. Like many moms, she stayed at home with her kids and gave up more prestigious or lucrative opportunities so that she could be there for her children.

Being a child of the fifties and sixties I took for granted what most children today are not able to experience--a mom who was simply “there.” Being there meant humble service as a nurse, cook, clothes washer, chauffer, teacher, tutor, counselor and advocate. I read somewhere a study that put a monetary value on all the things moms do and it came up to something like $100,000 a year. I think it is more like the Visa commercial that says, “priceless.”

It must have been so frustrating for my mom when I hit my late teens and I was making some stupid choices. Skillfully combined with that I had an attitude of entitlement and ingratitude for the years of sacrifices she had faithfully made for our family. That wasn’t easy but I did my best. I worked hard on it. Then to create even greater distance between us, she was beginning to follow Jesus Christ as a real disciple and I know I wasn’t. Conviction.

She would let me know occasionally her concern over the direction I was heading and I had learned to “tune her out.” However, what I had no defense against was…her prayers--especially when she ganged up on me with her praying friends. Now that really wasn’t fair.

So now these twenty plus years after her death and some forty years after my self-centered, self-destructive later teen years, I honor my mom not so much for what she did for me (though I am truly grateful!) but especially for what she couldn’t do for me.

She called upon a Greater Power who could work on me from the inside out, not from the outside in, as she tried to do before she learned the secret power of prayer. She pleaded with Him to reveal Himself to me, for me to know Him myself as she was coming to know Him.

My mom’s life powerfully speaks to me today as a father and grandfather who finds myself increasingly looking at my children’s and grandchildren’s lives from “the sideline.” I often want to run in there and get in the game with them but know I can’t. (As a football fan I can remember that not working out so well for old Woody Hayes when he stuck out his foot from the sideline, tripping an opposing player!)

The irony that my mom’s life has taught me is that when we realize the need to pray and call upon the One who can do what we can never do for our loved ones, then we through our prayers, offer to them what they really need the most, the Living God Himself.

Thanking God for the Legacy of a Praying Mom,


Note: Do you have any stories of God’s Glory showing up in the ordinary? I would love to hear them and share them with a larger audience if you would like! Just email me at (

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