The post I am writing today is a very personal post but one which has impacted me tremendously. My mother was an influential part of my life from the time I can remember talking to taking my first step. She taught me life, how to love the Lord and put Him first in my life, and living in the moment. I love her with all my heart and have the deepest respect for her. I didn’t always feel this way.
My mother developed Muscular Dystrophy after she gave birth to me. Her father had it and naturally she was a carrier of the crippling disease. I asked her what her first known symptoms were. She told me she would kick her right foot out a bit when she walked and people began to notice. I was around age 2 or 3 when my mother noticed these first symptoms. She had some testing done at a local hospital and the diagnosis was confirmed. She had Muscular Dystrophy. The type she had would be a very slow progressing type that would develop through the years, getting worse all the time.
I didn’t seem to really take notice of her disease until I was in high school. She needed help to walk so my dad would take her arm and walk with her. She functioned well and did just as much as most normal people except it took her much longer to accomplish a goal or task. It pains me to say that I was embarrassed by her condition. I would see other young girls with their mothers out in public shopping and doing the typical mother-daughter things together. Silently to myself I would think why isn’t that me? Why does my mother have to be this way? It isn’t fair! I can’t go out with my mother and do fun things like all the other girls get to do. I was raised in a Christian home where both my parents loved God with all their hearts. I knew what right and wrong were. I knew my attitude stunk when it came to my mother and her condition. Secretly I wished I had a mother that could take me places with no trouble. My mother had to have help walking. She needed help because the least little pebble or rock in her way would make her fall. Falling was a great fear for her.
My parents were very involved in the church. My dad was choir director, deacon, and song leader. My mother played the piano. Could she ever tickle the ivories!! I loved hearing her play that piano. I remember countless hours at home growing up hearing her practice with my dad singing in the background. My mom needed help getting up and down from the piano at church. My dad would go over and help her down to her seat. Her disease couldn’t stop her from playing the piano, at least for many years. Even sitting in church I would have those feelings of embarrassment when my mom had to have help with anything. How selfish and shallow my teenage thoughts were!!
As the years moved along one by one, my mother grew slowly worse. Her home now was a wheelchair. She no longer needed a cane to help her keep steady as she walked, eventually ending up with a wheelchair and hooked up to oxygen. Muscular Dystrophy slowly atrophies the muscles and her lungs were failing. She needed help getting a deeper breath. The last two years of her life were the worst. I watched her lose weight slowly. She couldn’t eat much at a time for fear of choking. She became a shell of a woman I once knew. Her little body now felt like a skeleton when I hugged her. Probably the most profound way I knew God was with me was the summer before my mother passed, I helped bathe her. I had never done this before. My dad always did it. But she specifically asked me to for some reason. I now know what it was. My dad later told me he didn’t know how much longer she really had to live. He knew she was slowly dying day by day. That hot summer day as I filled the bathroom sink with water and poured the liquid soap on a washcloth to bathe my mother, tears began to slowly well up in my eyes. I didn’t want my mother to see me starting to cry so I tried to hide it the best I could. As I bathed her and looked at her skeleton frame, I knew she was dying as well. It literally hit me for the first time in my life. This lady who had raised me, sacrificed for me, and would have taken a bullet for me didn’t have much time left in this life. All those negative feelings I had for her came rushing over me. The embarrassing thoughts I had of my mother when I was a teenager shamed me at that very moment. How could I have been so selfish? I felt so guilty. At the same time I felt at peace as well. This was a time I could be with my mother because I didn’t know for certain how long she would be with us. As I continued to bathe her I began to remember just exactly who she was.
My mother was a strong, Christian woman. Although she couldn’t participate physically in many things in the church, she prayed. She prayed and she prayed and she prayed. I can honestly say she was a prayer warrior. I remember seeing her sitting in her chair at home when I was growing up with her Bible in her lap. In her relations with other women and men she was gracious, gentle and godly. We had many late night talks about boyfriends to what kind of chocolate we liked! I cherish those talks we had. My mother told me she asked the Lord to just let her raise me and to see me raise my children. She knew her disease would eventually take her life. God granted her that wish. He answered her prayer.
As I write this post, tears roll down my cheeks. I love my mother with all my heart. She taught me how to be a true Christian lady. It will be four years this November that my mother went to be with Jesus. She fell asleep in her chair and never woke up. She went peacefully. She didn’t experience any pain.
Why am I writing all of this about my mother? Yes, it is painful to think about her struggles and difficulties on this earth. Now I can rejoice because she is in heaven with a new body that is free from any pain or ailment. I write about her because the Lord used her to speak to me and tell me that He is here. God is with me no matter what I am doing, no matter where I am going, no matter what I am going through. I have to say that summer before she passed when I bathed her God spoke to my heart in a profound way. I could almost hear him speaking. God doesn’t speak audibly but I heard him with my heart. He let me know that He was preparing to take her soon. That all those feelings of embarrassment I had as a teenager were forgiven. God knew I loved my mother with every ounce of my being. That’s all that mattered.
Yes, God is here. If you acknowledge Him, He will make His presence known. I want to end with my mom’s life verse. Romans 8:28 says….And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. If I am half of the lady that my mother was, I will have accomplished what she set out to do. Mom, this is for you. Know that your life here on this earth was not in vain. You impacted my life more than you’ll ever know. You taught me to love the Lord with all of my being. For that, I am eternally grateful.