Satisfaction in Honoring Moms
“Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?”
The line from Lamentations, “Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?” began hovering or lingering right after I pressure-washed my mom’s back patio two years ago. Her over-the-top gratitude wasn’t proportional for such a menial task, an hour’s effort at most. You’d have guessed from her thankfulness that a grand cathedral had been built.
When I got home, half a mile from my mom’s house, a terribly short distance away (that’ll come into play shortly), a tiny shadow of shame flickered across my mind: Had it really been months since I’d helped her out? Or stopped by for no reason other than “to visit for a spell” as she’d say. But before that Spirit of conviction could set in hard, I quickly reminded myself: “My day is all filled up. I’ve got commitments to keep. I’ll make time for you, Mom, one day real soon.” And that was that for the moment, or so I foolishly thought.
Within two weeks, my mother, through a series of unfortunate health issues, ended up in Brookwood Hospital’s ICU. It felt pitiful viewing her in such a frail, weak state. As they wheeled her back for surgery, it was that time. Not that the procedure or her condition warranted undue concern; sometimes, the Spirit nudges you so. If our Lord’s eye is upon the sparrow, I’m convinced my sweet mother was the precious sparrow to whom Christ referred in Matthew 6, at least at that moment.
On November 1st, 2021, Jesus, The Great Shepherd of the sheep, called His little lamb by name, Sandra Bryant Shamblin and she followed Him because she knew His voice. I do miss her dearly.
I’ve sloppily cried several times in my life but wailed? Never. Collapsing on all fours? Only that night. Jill, my wife, honored my one request: “Please don’t console me; it’s important that I grieve.” Thankfully she obliged. Later Jill commented, “When the Holy Spirit is working hard on someone, best stay out of His way.” She was right. Regret, more than anything else I can think of, is horrid. Like a song list continuously stuck on repeat, my shame-laced self-talk sounded like this:
- How did I drive by her house hundreds of times, within a hundred yards of her driveway, and fail to tap the brakes due to my all-too-urgent agenda?
- While struggling to breathe on the cross, Jesus’ concern lay with His mother. So much for patterning my life of ministry based on His example.
- How hard-hearted does one have to be to gloss over James 1:27 as if it didn’t exist? Not once, but countless times! “This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”
- How appalling I could ever think: “My day is all filled up. I’ve got commitments to keep. I’ll make time for you, Mom, one day real soon.” And that was that for the moment, or so I foolishly thought.
Dear Abby was the big joke growing up as a kid. Although ancient history now, it was a syrupy advice column carried in newspapers nationwide. Did moms reference it? Yes. Dads? Never! Kids, much less boys? Not in a million years! As such, I had to chuckle when a man’s man sent me this Dear Abby clip after I shared my regret with him. The laugh was short-lived.
To those with Moms who are living, your real challenge begins Monday, not this Sunday. Whenever you consider stopping by and seeing your mother, don’t dare push it off due to an appointment or a TO-DO list. “You do not even know what will happen tomorrow! What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:14) You can fake caring about her well-being, but you simply cannot fake showing up. Your showing up expresses how much you care; moms know the difference.
And if you’ve neglected to love on your mom here recently, let it go and start afresh today. Romans 13:11 says, “you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.”
If you do one thing from reading this blog, I wish you’d visit your mom real soon…. I sure wish I could visit mine.