"MOM! I need you."
Racing up 13 stairs.
Turning left towards her bedroom.
There she is. On her knees. Praying.
"Just give me a few minutes. I'll be there."
That's all she needed to say and I knew things were going to be alright.
It didn't happen often - a handful of times, maybe - but often enough to forge a memory of my Mom that will stay with me forever. The several times I found my Mom kneeling beside her bed praying to her God was a moment of indescribable comfort. Words fail me. I'm glad my memory hasn't. Yet.
Thinking back to moments of my childhood when I saw the evidence of faith in my parents brings a certain joy and peace that seems reserved for only such memories. As I watch our children become teenagers and get closer to adult life these memories scratch the surface more frequently and they seem to be taking on greater meaning. My parents owned a faithfulness that was tangible. Their faithfulness was demonstrated in part by having daily devotions and praying before and after meals, to church attendance (as a teenager - regretfully, I'd argue it was akin to forcing a horse to drink), to tithing even when money was scarce, and to Christian day schools. I still hear my Mom asking one of us to get the 'black envelope from the hall closet' where she kept the money that was set aside for the weekly church offering.
Which brings me to this thought: faithfulness seems to fall off the radar when talking about the nine fruit of the Holy Spirit. I wonder if it's because faithfulness is an act that exhibits its fruitfulness most often within oneself. With the exception of 'joy', the other seven fruit - love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control - can be displayed in our actions demonstrated toward others. Faithfulness manifests itself in daily, personal prayer; in weekly worship with God's family; in sacrificial giving; and in teaching our children "when (we) sit at home and when (we) walk along the road, when (we) lie down and when (we) get up". Deuteronomy 11:19.
It's this persistent and gentle faithfulness that glows in Mom's face. For whenever I visit her, she seems to have just laid down her Bible and (or) it appears she had been spending time in prayer in the presence of her Saviour, Jesus.
Mom's speech has been impaired greatly since suffering a stroke in 1996. And, for a reason I don't fully understand, when she sings her speech is clear. It's as if God said, "My child, because of a lifetime of faithfulness you always be able to sing praises to me. I won't take that joy away."
And, if you listen very carefully, somewhere in the distance, you can hear Mom sing a song she often sang when I was growing up - I Love to Tell the Story (Listen to Alan Jackson's version.).
of Jesus and his glory, of Jesus and his love.
I love to tell the story, because I know 'tis true;
it satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.
I love to tell the story, 'twill be my theme in glory,
to tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love.
(Author: A. Catherine Hankey)
Sing it again, Mom. I want to hear it again.