I am constantly amazed at how often I miss seeing how God is working in my life. When I discover some word or insight of God’s plan and power that I have ignored, I am deeply moved and humbled. How could I have been so blind? I believe I am often in a state of ignorance or denial.
But—then an insight comes. I see my life differently.
Last week, a friend and I were having a talk about our faith and the hope that God gives us in times of need. She was quick to respond by saying she thanked her mother, in spite of her mother’s short comings, for living and sharing her faith. Her mother was a believer. My friend was greatly influenced by this mother’s faith. My friend too, is a believer in God’s grace and is a follower of Jesus. We were both moved by the realization of her mother’s influence on her life.
The days following our conversation, my thoughts kept turning to the faith of my own mother. How have I been influenced as a daughter by her life, her life of faith?
Often I have been involved in reflections on the meaning of spiritual growth. In discussion groups, a question that is usually asked is who has influenced your journey of faith. Frequently, the first answer is the impact of a mother. One occasion, I have answered that question stating it was a special woman who had given her life to Christ and was called to youth ministry. She had been one of the strongest influences in in my teen years when I was searching for my calling. There is no question that was true. I did eventually become a youth worker and Christian educator. Her commitment, belief, and purpose changed me. They affected my own life decisions.
But during this conversation with my friend, I came to see that my own mother really was the greatest contributor to my faith journey and direction. God’s work in her life had also laid the foundation for my faith—not just my calling, but my full life of faith.
My mother persevered through an ugly divorce long before divorces were socially accepted. Her health broke as a result. With God’s help, through a loving family, church, and friendships she came to wholeness and new life. She eventually worked full-time as the youth director and secretary for our local church. Her faith, strength, and love were evident to all she met. Her last calling was as a House Mother in our church college. In the midst of her great suffering and struggles, she sacrificed much to give me a full life. She modeled a faith life that did not fade. It was the most precious gift she could give me.
Remembering the life of my mother, showed me a treasure shared and passed on. Recalling
her story is another gift of God’s grace. God brought me a new awareness of direction and gratitude for my mother’s journey as a believer. Once again my eyes were opened. I could see with great joy my faith inheritance.
Not long ago I was moved by a thought from Frederick Buechner. It helped me be aware of God’s work in the gift of remembering:
“When you remember me, it means that you have carried something of who I am with you, that I have left some mark of who I am on you.” (Frederick Bueckner, Whistling in the Dark: An ABC Theologized.)
My eyes are opened. I am marked by my mother’s faith. Which raises the next topic for my spiritual reflection. What mark of faith will I give my own daughter?
Photo: Ann Taylor’s daughter, Susan.