When I was young I felt nurtured by a doting mother, as a teenager “suffocated” by her, and as an adult cherished and loved in a way that words would never do justice.
As an adult, I see and appreciate things about my mom that I never understood as a child. She is truly a woman of God. I am awed by the way she quietly serves behind the scenes with the fruit of the Spirit so abundant in her life. She plays ping pong with lonely widows, takes others to the doctor, or just sits for hours listening to their stories and being a friend.
I could tell you many stories about my mom (and my dad for that matter) and the selfless way she (they) gives to others. However, one recent event really stands out as evidence of the way my mom (& dad) are being used by God in powerful ways.
Each year, my parents take a migratory trip to the south (they are Canadian snowbirds, eh). This past winter they chose Destin, FL for their annual sunshine break from the brutal Canadian winter. In her usual fashion, my mother quickly connected with a lonely widow who had traveled south from Kocomo, Indiana (pop. 46,113). The widow was struggling with some health issues and wasn’t able to get around well. My mom walked her dog, did her laundry, and checked in on her daily for a visit.
Consequently, when my mom invited her to join them one Sunday morning at their church, the woman heartily agreed. The message was powerful and directed right to the heart of this woman. Afterward my mom took her out for lunch, shared her testimony, and led her to a saving relationship with the Lord.
The story is a fantastic example of how showing God’s love brings others to understand and accept it in a personal way. But it only gets better from here.
Concerned about the woman leaving to go home without any local church connection, my parents began to pray and search the internet for a church they could call and get their new friend plugged in. This went on all afternoon that day but no church or connection was to be found.
Later that evening my parents took the woman to a Gospel music concert at a local church. In my dad’s usual fashion, they arrived quite early in order to secure a good seat. As time when on the church began to fill with a growing crowd. Soon the choir loft was opened to make room for even more people. Strange enough though, during this time two seats remained empty next to my parents and the woman. It was odd because people looking for seats just kept walking right by.
Finally, seeing that the church was almost completely full and the two seats still remaining empty, my mother suggested to my dad that he wave over the next two people who came in the auditorium. So turning in his seat, my dad saw a couple enter and immediately started waving at them. Through hand signals he indicated they had two seats. The couple looked puzzled but came down the aisle to where they were seated.
The couple took their seats next to the woman and soon struck up a friendly conversation. Suddenly, the woman leans over to my mother and announces, “You’ll never guess where this couple is from!!” You guessed it…Kocomo, Indiana. Even more fantastically, this couple runs a church ministry for widows. And the two empty seats? The couple said that they couldn’t see any empty seats until they had walked all the way down the aisle, which no doubt explained their puzzled looks.
There is no denying that when we allow ourselves to become a vessel in God’s hands – HE shows up in big ways.
Mom, I’m proud of you for many reasons but none more than the fact that you are a beautiful example of what it means to personify the love of Christ.
My parents visiting their new friends in Kocomo, IN this past Spring. (My parents are the couple on the left.)