Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother’s Day

She turned 18 two weeks before I was born.

Her's hasn’t been an easy life. Still isn’t. But it’s been a life full of faith.

She had three boys and a girl, spaced about 14 months apart. Then she had a miscarriage, another daughter, another miscarriage, another daughter, and another son.

She was divorced after her first five children, remarried later for the final two. These are the basic facts, which tell nothing at all about her.

There are two primary elements to my mother’s life. She is an artist, and she is a believer.

She has followed her art throughout her life (I have a painting/calligraphy piece she did as a teen). The exploration of her artistic talents has been constant. It has placed food on her table and paid the rent, for nearly all of her life through paintings sold, lessons given, art traded. She went to college briefly, but most of her techniques have been self taught.

Her faith has been astonishing.

Once, when I was five, my father was away, hauling grain, 500 miles away. We had nothing to eat. She sat us down at the table. She told us the Lord would provide. She started to pray. A Canadian goose landed in the yard. We ate.

A few years ago she told me that she felt she was supposed to go on a mission trip to China, to tell people of God’s love. She had her passport. She had her bags packed.

“How much money do you have Mom?”

“Five dollars.”

“You can’t go to China on that!”

“Sure I can. The Lord will give me all I need.”

“How much did the ticket cost you?”

“I didn’t buy one.”


“I don’t have one, But I’m sure it will all work out. A friend is going to drive up to San Francisco and I’ll find a way onto that plane.”

She did. She went to San Francisco. At the last moment someone had an emergency and gave her the ticket. She wandered around with others on the mission trip. People invited her into their homes, fed her, she told them about Jesus. Someone paid some sort of fee she needed on her return. It all worked out.

She still lives life one month at a time, with no clear idea how she will pay her bills, no certainty of where her food will come from, yet there is always something for her to eat, a place for her to live.

Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!...Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.
--Luke 12:22-29

I do not know of anyone who has faith as strong as my mother’s.

She has been treated roughly. My father left her with five children to feed. Her second husband kicked her out of his home, threw her clothes and paintings and brushes into the front yard. Yet she visited him constantly, cared for him until he died a few years ago. She is a cancer survivor. She grieves for her children and grandchildren who have wandered far from our Lord’s flock. She is a gentle soul with a gentle heart.

She says she gave me to the Lord when I was born, dedicating her first born her true master. I believe that act of faith, fifty years ago, is what set me on a path which has kept me returning to the Lord.

Once, when I was doing a bit of the hippy thing, hitch hiking, reading Brautigan and Castenada and Gibbons, she painted me a picture.

There is a carousel horse, flying over the waves, stormy waves. It flies, yet is tethered to the world, circling a light house.

(Click to Enlarge)

She said nothing about the painting. She simply told me I would understand it soon enough.

Over the next few weeks it slowly came to me. I felt a grieving in my heart, an ache from being away from a close relationship to my Lord. I sat looking at the painting, wondering. What was it about the image that was working its way into my heart?

Suddenly I just knew I was the horse. I am a creation, a made thing, a thing of beauty set free from a spinning walkway, from the ordinary life, that I was created to fly. But instead of flying free, or flying toward some goal, I was circling in the sky, over churning water. What was I circling? A darkened light house, its windows cracked, its guiding light was not shining in my life.

Suddenly I saw it. Over the light house, in the sky, the clouds formed the letters...


I knew what I was missing in my life.

My mother loves me very much. My mother has an intense faith which shines through darkness, through tears, and trouble. She has no material wealth. She has a car that runs only sporadically. She has no home, no real possessions except a faith that sustains her day by day, year by year, decade by decade.

Oh I love her so.

I know she prays for me constantly. She has prayed for me when I have wandered. She has prayed for me when I have stumbled. She has rejoiced when I have flung myself toward the Lord. She prayed for me when my heart was ripped from my chest by the death of my first child. She prayed for me when I ached for new children (it was her prayers while massaging a missionary’s feet which led her to the woman who was rescuing my children from Haiti). She has prayed for my marriage when things have been rocky, and when things have been blessed. My mother is a constant in my life.

I only speak to her every few months or so. But she is always there.

Oh... my heart is so full when I think of her. It seems silly, a grown man, fifty years old, getting misty-eyed over his mother.

She is a gentle soul who has suffered and rejoiced greatly, deeply.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom. I love you.


Judas Hate said...


This is the most beautiful Mothers Day gift I have witnessed.

A good mother has a good son. Amen.

Coming from a man who has failed his mother in the past, bless you for all the love and pride you instill in yours.

When I called my Mother today, she acted as if my voice was the sweetest she had ever heard. On her special day, she wanted me to feel as if I had done something special for her. It is she who has always been not only willing, but eager to share her unconditional love with me.

God bless your mother and mine. And all who love, worry, ache, hope and pray for their sons and daughters, whether their children know it or not.


Judas Hate said...


Your mothers painting is amazing in every detail. Such are yours.

I could touch on many points, but one is her subtle expression of lightning. No dramatics, no jagged bolts, just a soft reminder that it is there. So powerful and prominent, yet in a gentle representation.

I love the soft glow of it on the horses' neck. It is present and can reach for her but can not harm her.

Without the benefit of truly knowing you, I'd say your lovely mother represented you well.

I also wonder if you circle to keep watch over the lost in times of trouble since the lighthouse no longer shines. Maybe you are meant to be the beacon.

Be well brother and keep shining brightly.



Judas Hate said...

Then again, it's probably just the moon. Just as fitting though, as our mothers hung it there just for us. It Will shine through the darkness, just when you need it most:-)

curious servant said...

Sorry Justin... it's just a glare from the flash.

I'll try to get a better pic of it.

Anonymous said...

what a brave woman of God she is. HAPPY MOM'S DAY to your mom. God bless.

Felisol said...

Dear Curious Servant,
We are often led to believe that childhood only last till the teens, when we as grown ups realize that it's a life time thing.
You are truly blessed to be the child of such a wonderful woman.
How she must be proud and satisfied to see her son grow and by and by fulfill all the hopes and dreams a mother can have.
That is some heritage she has passed on to you.
You will find many ways to carry it on.
Yours Felise

David said...

What a beautiful story and the love is so apparent. Thank you for sharing that.

bjk said...

The story the painting the lighthouse...all very powerful and inspiring......thanks

music.angel said...

This was a beautiful post CS. Mothers Day should be just that...misty-eyed moments and memories that have changed our lives. I feel the same for my mom. How blessed are those like us who have mother's that cause our hearts to overflow with love and thanks.

Becky said...

Oh how I needed to read this to be reminded again of faith and our faithful God. Living by faith is a scary ride, but after living in the prison of my soul and prison of 9 to 5, I am more free than I have ever been. But there are days, when my old self returns and I doubt and take the yoke upon myself. God keeps saying,

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart." For someone who has difficulty in trusting this can be a very frightful thing. To read about your mother's faith and life is so beautiful.

Thank you for your writings.


Seeker said...

Your mother sounds wise and beautiful; a gift of God.

Praying for your Prodigal said...

What an amazing tribute--a beautiful gift to your mother!


Judas Hate said...


Didn't realize my site was filtered!?

We may get that beer some day. You never know.

Btw, if you get time, will you set up a hotmail email address so I can send you some pictures?

Judas Hate said...

Cool. Thanks.

The pics are at my store. I'll send them to you on Wednesday.


Jim said...

She trained you in the way you would grow up, I can see.
And did a good job.

jel said...

Awesome pictures

your mom sounds like a cool person to get to know,

and she did a good job in raising her son!


Me said...

Luke 12:22-29
My mom and dad used to read this scripture to us alot when we were kids and they still live one day at a time. No insurance or plans for the future. It scares me but it has gotten them through all these years. What faith! Your mother was a true blessing to you as I'm sure you are to her.

Paula said...

Oh my goodness. All I can say is I got chills reading this post. What a wonderful woman, no wonder you turned out so nice :) I love the paintings and her stories of faith. I especially needed to hear the one about provision, because Hubby and I are committed to tithing, even though our financial planner thinks we should save more for retirement. In my heart of hearts, I know God will provide. Thanks for sharing Brother.

Your Sister In Christ,

G~ said...

Oh my, CS...what an awesome woman your mother must be. After reading this *I* love her, too! :) She sounds simply wonderful and a joy to know. YOu are truly blessed, my friend.


Jada's Gigi said...

What a beautiful testiment of the Lord..."her children rise up and call her blessed" She lives a blessed life...

Michael Pendleton said...

I'm going around catching up on blogs tonight and I now I have made my way here and yet again I am affected emotionaly.

I'm always left trying to figure out exactly what it is I want to say after reading most everything you write.

Perhaps I will learn to simply be respectfully silent instead of feeling a need to babble something here.

Cinder said...

What an amazing women your mom is...and an amazing testimony to God's love and protection.

Thanks so much for sharing...God bless!

Bad Alice said...

Wow wow wow. What an incredible life. Your mom is a true original.

Vicki said...

Beautiful tribute. Wish I could have had a mother more like yours...but she was a troubled soul. Still, it's good to read your post here today and thank the Lord for giving us the mothers He did.

Anonymous said...

This site is one of the best I have ever seen, wish I had one like this.

Mark D said...

What a dear woman! Wonderful tribute to her faith and love!