A Tribute to Mom

Mom we love you to the moon and back and miss you everyday.  A “will” is usually thought of as a legal document that someone has drawn up bestowing their possessions to their family and passions when they die. I would like to take the time to write my mother’s unwritten will. Yes, she had a written will of earthly possessions but she also left an unwritten “will” that was imprinted on the lives she touched….especially her daughters and five grandchildren. She well understood “That the only thing you can take with you when you’re gone is what you leave behind………..” Proverbs 31:30, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

My sister and I referred to her as “The Rock” a. k. a. Mom. She was known to her five grandchildren, Tucker, Lauren, Brewer, Thomas and Collins, as Mimi ….and to the man she loved for over 60 years as Pat.…….! If you had the pleasure of knowing this lady, you would know that she “walked her talk”. In fact, she did 80% walking and 20% talking…….She did what I like to call “live out loud”. That would be the title of her unwritten will….She loved Jesus….and this is how we knew it….Proverbs 31:15, “She gets up while it is still dark, she provides food for her family”. Her day started and ended with prayer….a quiet time and prayer she shared with dad in the morning …..and a prayer in bed with my dad every night….I know this to be true because in the last months of her life….we had a baby monitor in the bedroom for her care. When I would visit….I could sit in the den at night and hear them pray together after they went to bed at night and there was always evidence of it in the morning when I got up, no matter the time, they beat me up and the Bible and devotion book were in the same place but on a different page. Living the scripture found in Psalm 92:2, “To declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night.”

As young girls Marcia and I were taught and nurtured as she took care of the two of us and our dad daily with great love and diligence. My dad may have been the head, but he deferred to her as the chief of staff, the ROCK. She took great care in preparing all meals, paying all bills, doing laundry, cleaning house, gardening and serving in the church and community daily. Proverbs 31:17, “She sets about her work vigorously, her arms are strong for her tasks.” And verses 26-28, “She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed, her husband also and he praises her.”

My dad fully trusted her as in Proverbs 31:11, “Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good and not harm all the days of her life.” As children Marcia and I learned to cook, iron, and work in the garden. Her heart her entire life leaned heavily toward the poor and needy, especially children, living out loud by her actions. We tagged along in the summer as she went to the homes of the needy and picked up the children and took them to the health department to get vaccinations. We also went with Mom to buy and deliver groceries to these families.

A VERY SIGNIFICANT TIME IN MY (SHERRY) LIFE…..

I came home from first grade early one day. I said I was sick but really I was heartsick over a child named Earl. We sat in alphabetical order and he sat by me daily. For a few days I sat and watched as he had only a piece of bread for lunch. Finally, I couldn’t watch it any longer and went home before lunch. I finally told mother what was wrong. This was before schools provided free lunch. The next day she sent me back to school and I was assured by my mom that he would have lunch….from then on he had a hot lunch. It was several years before I found out she had taken care of it…Deuteronomy 15:7-11, “If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs.”

Marcia and I didn’t mind taking a backseat as we handed her each of her grandchildren. The thing that stands out in my mind is the prayer, concern, and love she expressed to Marcia and me daily and to the grandchildren over the years. She was at the hospital the day each of them entered the world and she invested herself in their lives, even learning how to text in her seventies when she had dramatically slowed down. It was her way of staying in touch while they were so busy in college. She always entered their world and sought to show them she loved and cared for them daily….…which was evident as I watched them tell her countless times in the last days of her life when she could not utter a word. The tears would flow down her face when they would come by her bedside….all evidence of a heart of deep love and care for them.

When Thomas at age 5 was diagnosed with diabetes, she headed to Columbia that day. Every day after she called me to check on him until he was old enough that she could call or text him on his cell phone. She didn’t miss a day…calling to check and tell me she prayed for him. She stayed concerned. She prayed and loved all of her grandchildren but her heart stayed heavy and concerned for Thomas. Before she lost her ability to talk, which she knew was coming, she expressed to me that I needed to take care of myself so that I would be able to care for him.

I really didn’t realize how competitive Mimi was until our kids started competing in golf tournaments. She was clueless about the sport, but she learned. She had never watched golf in her life but she became a student and a spectator of the game. She went to countless golf tournaments and watched the kids play and enjoyed every minute. She would always talk to me about what she thought they needed to do. She was fully engaged in the grandchildren and their passions. I have to say, even though she never attended college, she loved Clemson and loved the football games. I am thankful she had such fun this past fall watching them on TV.

She loved her sons-in-law, Tim and Bill, as if they were hers. With diligence, she and Dad prayed for our marriages and our health and safety and prayed we would love the Lord.

If you knew her at all, I think you would agree that she had three very evident and profound spiritual gifts: the gift of giving, the gift of hospitality and the gift of administration. I never once heard her verbalize what her gifts were; she just LIVED THEM VIVACIOUSLY! She gave not just to her family but to many others and gave abundantly. Her home had entertained hundreds and her dinner table, as I reflect back, has fed thousands over the span of her life. She kept her house and affairs in impeccable order.

She lived a life that was committed to Jesus…her deepest desire on this earth was to “live out loud” a life that was committed to loving, serving and obeying a book she read daily, the Bible.

I Corinthians 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Deuteronomy 6:5-9, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

Thank you God that I will see her again one day! What great comfort we have knowing we have an eternal home with Jesus.

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