Today I am thankful for my mother. This would have been her 75th birthday had she not succumbed to diabetes and heart disease fifteen years ago.
My mother was an amazing woman. She could play the piano by ear and had a beautiful soprano voice. Unfortunately for me, I did not inherit her musical abilities. After eight years of piano lessons, I still can't play in front of an audience (here an audience is defined as "anyone else in the room") and I have what can only be described as a "functional alto" voice. But she instilled in me a love for music, especially old hymns.
My mother taught me rules of etiquette. She used to take me and my friends to fancy restaurants in Dallas or to see The Nutcracker at Christmas time so we could "practice being ladies". "Polishing her diamonds in the rough" is what she called it. She taught me that young ladies do not call young men on the phone nor do they sit in their laps. Words of wisdom like, "If you'll do that in public, people wonder what more you will do in private" and "It only takes an instant to ruin a reputation," as well as "I will trust you until you prove you can't be trusted," reverberated in my teenage brain and kept me from making many foolish mistakes.
As her health began to decline, she always kept a positive attitude. When her leg had to be amputated due to an infection, she put us all at ease by saying, "That just means I have my foot in the door of Heaven." The picture above is my mom (seated) and Joel's mom at our reception. She had spent the entire week leading up to the wedding in the hospital with pneumonia. Through countless doctor visits and hospitalizations, she kept her cheerful disposition and wound up ministering to almost everyone she came in contact with--doctors, nurses, hospital roommates, therapists, and housekeeping personnel. That is not to say she didn't have bad days or bouts of depression; but even in those dark times, she sought refuge in her Saviour.
She took me to church and taught me about Jesus, as much in deed as in her words. She prayed for me. She prayed for the man I would marry. When Joel surrendered to the ministry, we were still just dating. As a gift, she gave him a beautiful blue Italian glass fish he'd admired on her ettigere many times. She told him, "So that you will always remember to be a fisher of men". I'd had my eye on that fish for years and made it quite clear that I would have it in my house someday. So I told Joel, "She gave you MY fish, that is more binding than an engagement ring!" I think Eunice knew what she was doing all along :)
She had a wonderful sense of humor; although nine times out of ten, she'd botch the punchline to a joke. She just loved to laugh. And it was infectious. When I was growing up and would have friends over, I think she giggled as much as we did...maybe more.
My mother also had a great sense of decorating style. I grew up in a house where the walls changed colors almost as often as the seasons. Sometimes, I get a little twinkle in my eye and Joel will sigh, "You're gonna make me paint something, aren't you?"
I could go on and on, but still not find the words to express all that my mother means to me. Losing her was the most difficult thing ever.ever.ever. Greg Laurie says, "[She's] not lost. I know exactly where [she] is." And that is so very true, but it doesn't make me miss her any less. It doesn't make me hate it any less that she will never know her grandchildren in this life or that they will never know how a hug from her could set the world right. But I take comfort in the fact that she is not lost, but found in Him...complete, whole and restored. For this and so much more, I am very thankful.