Just last week I was able to combine going to the beach to caddy for Thomas with taking a really good friend for a little girl time. God provided the most amazing weather that I can ever remember having at the beach. It was a fabulous time, really one I will never forget. God through my dear friend Sabrina seared imprints on my heart and mind, reminding me of the fabulous blessing of being a mother that I will never forget. “Her children rise up and bless her.” Proverbs 31:28a
Just a week ago Sabrina came over to my house. She is my friend I fondly call, “The Cake Boss.” Since I am in the season of celebrating many brides, I am meeting with Sabrina often to have her make and design “special cakes” for bridal celebrations. When Sabrina came last week, our one hour meeting turned into five hours. I loved it–unplanned time to share and really catch up.
Just over a year ago, on December 23, 2015, I received a phone call telling me that Sabrina’s youngest child, age 24, had been killed in a car accident less than a mile from their home. It just didn’t seem real. I had just seen them at lunch the day before. Taylor had just flown home for Christmas from LA where she was in fashion retail and a personal shopper for “the famous.”
So many memories rushed through my mind. I have been friends with Sabrina and Eddie for more than 25 years. We met through our desire to bring a parenting ministry called “Growing Kids God’s Way” to Columbia. We traveled with them to Chicago to attend a conference about parenting at Moody Bible Institute. We became lifelong friends on that trip. Sharing heart-felt desires and concerns about raising our, then, young kids.
When I got the news, it sent a razor sharp pain through my brain to my heart…that ended in my legs…that sat me down for hours…to absorb the news.
Because of life and many directions of kids and careers, I haven’t seen Sabrina on a weekly nor even monthly basis over the years, but Sabrina and I have never missed a beat when we see each other…just a very special friendship. Low maintenance for sure. A TRUE FRIENDSHIP where we can catch up quickly, laugh and share intimately. Today I love how, for many reasons, God has us in close contact.
When we sat on my sofa the other day and I was able to get around to looking her square in the eye and ask, “HOW are you REALLY?” Tears welled up and filled her eyes. She reminded me that Sunday would be Taylor’s birthday. :( That is when my mind started to race and the Holy Spirit started moving in me. As we sat there, I picked up my phone to look at my calendar and, yep, my week was somewhat free. I then asked, “Would you like to go to the beach on Sunday for a few days–girls trip?” With tears still welling and spilling she said, “Yes!” without hesitation. With that, the trip was planned.
On Sunday, after the bridal shower I was helping to host, Sabrina was dropped off at my house and we headed to the beach. As she climbed in the car I discovered she had just come from “seeing Taylor,” the gravesite. I loved just driving and listening to her share her heart, her grief and her memories. My heart played flip flop all the way to Garden City because of the fond memories shared and the sadness. Looking back, I can see it was a God-orchestrated trip and learning time for me and, yes, just seven days before Mother’s Day.
Sabrina shared with me something I want to write and share that we, as mothers, need to pay attention to. First, know that Sabrina had no clue of the future. None of us do. Taylor had been living in LA for over two years. Out on the West Coast as opposed to where Sabrina lived which was the East Coast. Being that far away and with the time differences and work schedule, they communicated often through text messaging. Through Sabrina’s “invisible umbilical cord” connection to her youngest child she sensed that she needed to go and see Taylor and that she needed to go for 2 weeks. She had not seen her in many, many months. Moms, you know what I mean? “She hadn’t laid eyes on her!” Without hesitation and feeling the Holy Spirit’s nudging, Sabrina booked her ticket and went in May of 2015.
She reflected with me on Sunday the treasured memories of that trip. It was the only real time she had with Taylor before she died. She had only been home with her family for a day in December when she was killed. A tremendous gift now, when she reflects on that very treasured, intimate time that God orchestrated for a mother and daughter.
Sabrina shared with me the precious highlights of that trip. Things like how proud she was of Taylor and all that she had done on her own to get established without their help. She told me about their drive along the Pacific Coast one Sunday afternoon where they laughed together the entire day (one of their favorite things to do) and how they had stopped along the drive at the beach for a walk. Sabrina found something on the beach she wanted to keep but was afraid to take. With a smile she told me that Taylor looked at her, picked it up, and ran to their car. That something now sits on her back porch in Columbia. Sabrina talked about covering furniture for Taylor while she was at work and working to make her apartment more homey…things that we mothers love to do. She also shared with me having to go back to California to that same apartment to dismantle after Taylor’s passing…gut wrenching.
While we were driving it was so sweet and heart-moving to personally witness how her other daughter, Spencer, who is now a mom herself and lives a distance away, called her for some motherly advice that she wanted for a friend. Then she face-timed with “Millie Mac,” Sabrina’s granddaughter, for at least 20 minutes. A genuine comfort for Sabrina on such a sad day.
They shared some laughs and openly, in front of me, shared tears and their deep sadness. Sabrina, by the way, is affectionately called “Lovie” by her granddaughter. And as if that was not enough, her oldest son, Hunter, called to check on her multiple times. I had lumps in my throat the entire drive. I could relate just a little. While Brewer’s life was hanging in the balance in January, Thomas and Collins rallied to comfort me often in my distress. I again had to rebuke Satan the entire drive with the whole “survivor’s guilt” attack that he loves to throw my way often.
Sabrina’s sharing with me last week was a gift from God. His perfect timing to remind me of some things that, as a mother, I don’t ever want to forget. Important things I think we all need and would want to be reminded of in this busy world we live in. So today as I celebrate being a mother with all the mothers out there–a blessing, a privilege and a gift–I pass along the “Gift” that Sabrina and Taylor gave me last Sunday, just a week before Mother’s Day:
1) Do not ignore that thing/alarm/sensor that is inside of all mothers…about their kids…act on it!
2) Laugh with your kids any chance you get.
3) Make memories with them…that only you share.
4) Pray for them daily–bold prayers.
5) Love them and let them know it daily; despite their shortcomings….a simple text or email.
And most importantly, realize you are the only mother they will ever have. It is an anointing by God and no one can take that place. Do not allow the miles to separate you or to stop you from “laying eyes” on them.
Make the time.
Spend the money to go and see your kids no matter where they are! Nothing is more important. Even though they grow up, you will always be their mother…and believe it or not, they will always need you…even if they don’t say so.
“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward,” (Psalm 127:3).
“Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws.”~ Barbara Kingsolver