Rise Up

“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.”

– Proverbs 31:28-31

To My Mom on Mother’s Day:

I write today to call you blessed, to tell you that you surpass them all. Twenty seven years ago, almost twenty eight, you gave your life away to this calling named “motherhood” without a thought of turning back. At least you never let on that you wanted to turn back, if you did. You gave birth to three little lives and cared for us as if our lives were your own. You nourished our dreams and treasured all our cares. You cheered even in our failures and sang sweet lullabies to us at night. I know I will never know how much you’ve given of yourself and your dreams so that we could have ours, but I hope you know today that we love you for every moment you gave of yourself for us– even those moments we didn’t see.

Thank you for choosing a simpler life so you could stay home with us, so you could be at all our games, taxi us to every event, wait for us to come home every day after school, help us with homework every night, be there to cry with us in every pain and wipe all our tears. In the midst of a world that says that money is best and success is wealth you held fast to your conviction that all the money in the world couldn’t make up for the gift of your time. You were right.

Thank you for sharing the gospel with me. Through your lips came the greatest story I have ever heard: that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins. Because you faithfully delivered to me the truth of Christ and Him crucified I believed in Christ at the age of four and have been spared from so many regrets and pains. I can look back on 19 years of faith in Christ today because of your proclamation of the gospel at our kitchen table.

Thank you for the gift of music you’ve shared with each of us. I can remember the first night you didn’t sing me a lullaby to tuck me in– I laid awake into the wee hours of the morning before finally waking you up to sing to me. More nights than I can count I’ve fallen asleep to the sound of your fingers masterfully playing the piano. You patiently tried to teach each of us piano and encouraged me as I learned to play guitar. Some of my sweetest memories of living at home consist of singing and playing with you and Caris in the living room. You have blessed the church and your family immensely with your giftedness.

Thank you for your listening ear. I am sure I have told you too much over the years. Through high school you listened as I droned on and on about boys and friendships and teachers I hated. In college you listened as I excitedly told you of my adventures and all that I was learning. And now that I am grown and on my own you have listened patiently as I’ve learned that not every dream comes true, not every hope is realized and not every plan comes to fruition– but that God is worthy to be praised through it all.

Thank you for your hospitality. I know you don’t think you are good at it, but you are. You created a home where visitors feel welcome, where friends know not to knock but just to walk in, and where teenagers often sat in the backyard and drank our sodas or watched our television even when no one was home. You housed anyone who needed it whether it was for a night, a few months, or a year and did it all with grace. You chose to live in a small modest home rather than a mansion in a gated community so people would feel free to stop by anytime. You decorated with thoughtfulness for how welcome your visitors would feel. You lived out what you taught us: that people are more important than possessions and all the money in the world couldn’t buy one good friend.

Thank you for waking up early to pray and be in God’s word. Just yesterday I was reminded again of how often you pray for me. I know that the prayers of a righteous man (or woman) accomplish much so I am sure that who your children have become today are due, in no small measure, to the prayers you offered up to God on our behalf. Your consistency and dedication to Christ are shown in the lives of your three children today: all three following hard after Christ and seeking to model the same faith which was modeled for us.

Thank you for loving our dad for 30 years. You have provided us with a stable home life, the example of two parents who love each other, love Christ, and love us. You have left for us a heritage of perseverance and faithfulness to the covenants we make. I consider it no coincidence that today you have two happily married children, and one who desires the same. It’s your love for dad that gives me faith that love does exist, that marriages can work, and that all the hard work is worth it in the end.

I know how dearly you love each of us. I’ve never second guessed it for a moment. I could continue on with all the ways that you’ve died to yourself and lived out the calling of Christ for all of us. But today I hope you know that your labor was not in vain. Every load of laundry you did, every dish you washed, every meal you made, every bag of groceries you bought, every stitch you sewed, every fight you mediated, every tantrum you endured, every package you sent, every gift you bought, every chore schedule you made, every word of encouragement you gave, every field trip you chaperoned, every party you threw, every moment of sleep you lost, every tear you cried– none of it was in vain. Your calling wasn’t worthless and your legacy lives on today in the lives of your children. Thank you for being our mother.

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