When I was 18 years old, my Dad took me out onto the front porch and told me Mum had cancer – and she had it bad. She had six months to live at the most, possibly only a week if the internal bleeding didn’t stop. I was the eldest of six kids, and my baby sister was only 8 months old. My world crumbled at that moment – although my sense of God holding me has never been stronger.
Mum’s story captured the hearts and minds of believers around the world, who began to pray for her survival. Over 22 years later, my Mum is still alive and living life to the full – by God’s miraculous healing power. I cannot begin to express how grateful I am that she is still part of our lives, that she is Grandma to my four kids and a dear friend and mentor to me still.
My Mum is an extraordinary woman. People who know her compare her to an angel, or Mother Theresa (she laughs at them when they do). She is probably the most selfless, intelligent, joy-filled, missional, God-centred person I know. Her faith guides everything she does – whether she is lovingly caring for my significantly handicapped brother, or housing an ex-prostitute single mother trying to overcome heroin addiction, or getting up an hour before anyone else to spend time in prayer and reading Scripture, or opening her house up to a constant flow of visitors, many of whom are drug addicts and convicted criminals, but are all welcomed with a cup of tea, freshly baked treats and a warm hug.
I love my Mum. She and Dad introduced me to a God who embraces the outsider, who empowers the disempowered, who loves the unlovely, who willingly goes low to lift others up. Their faith in action has taught me more about God than a thousand eloquent sermons, four years at Bible College or the best-worded theology books. When I read the descriptions of how the New Testament church were to love each other, it makes sense to me, because I’ve seen it lived out in front of me.
This morning, we sat around a campfire with Mum and Dad, and my sister and her husband, and we sang worship songs and shared about the faith of our mothers. It struck me again how amazing God’s plan for his church is – a community of people living as family, discipling one another, showing how to follow God is their everyday lives. My mother is a true spiritual elder in my life and in the lives of so many that she touches – a beautiful example of spiritual maturity for others to follow and learn from.
This Mother’s Day, I thank God for sparing my Mum’s life, and for the incredible life-changing work he has done through her in so many lives, including my own. I pray I can follow in her footsteps, as she follows in the footsteps of her rabbi, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.