Friday, May 9, 2008

Mother, Nannoo, Friend...

Our Mother and Nannoo was one of the most loved and loving women I have ever known. She was Bibby’s, Kathy’s, and my mother, but she was also our best friend, just as she was to many. We spent hours with her and talked to her on the phone everyday. When we needed some of her wisdom, she was always there to give it. When we needed a shoulder to cry on, she was there to lend hers. When Curt or I needed the answer to 24 across in the daily crossword puzzle, we called mama and she always knew the answer!

From my earliest memories, our mama was the strength of our family. As all people do - Mama had trials, but the most remarkable thing was that with her, it never showed. She always seemed to rise serenely above the trials and carry on in the face of adversity. When we needed anything, ever, she was the one we went to. Mama worked long hard hours for many years in a sewing hall. Her income provided everything that our family needed. I remember that she would always take us shopping just before school started in the fall to buy 5 school dresses and a pair of shoes. If we had to go to the doctor or the hospital, her income paid the bills. Her income bought furniture, a car, even a roof over our heads. I once heard her talk of Kathy’s five-week stay in the hospital when Kathy was 11 years old. The hospital bill was only $1000 for the full five weeks but in that day, that was a huge sum of money for mama to pay. But, she did it. She told us that she never even told daddy the amount of the hospital bill. She did it all by herself.

Not only did mama give us everything we needed physically, but she gave us everything we needed emotionally. We always knew we were loved. She told us often, gave us hugs, kisses and other emotional support. There was never any doubt that after God, her family was first in her life. She would have done and did do anything in the world for us. Often, when I’d pick up some groceries or medicine for her, she’d try to repay me. I told her more than once that I could never do enough for her to repay her for what she’d done for me so just to say “thanks.” We’d laugh about it, she’d say thanks and then the next time, we’d go through it all again.

The most important thing that Mama gave us was not the physical nor emotional but she shared with us a love for her Lord and instilled in us a desire to serve Him. She taught us how to pray and honor God. When we were very small, she began to teach us about God and the importance of a Christian life. She answered all our questions. How thrilled she was when the three of us were saved and baptized. What a joy it was for her when her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren began to serve Him in full-time Christian service. Kathy and Billy served God in local churches and in Venezuela and with the International Mission Board. How supportive she was when my daughter, Kristy and her husband went to Brazil to serve as missionaries. What a joy to her when David and my daughter, Diana gave up a career in computer programming to follow the Lord’s call into the ministry. She was amazed that God would call another of her own when He called Jeff and Kathy’s daughter, Amy into the pastoral ministry. Then, Missy and Chad served on the mission field in Spain. Now a great granddaughter carries on her legacy of faith as Hali and David serve in a local church. What a blessing and a legacy to a Christian mother. The remainder of us who aren’t in full-time service are active in our own churches and day-to-day live our lives bearing witness of the love of our Savior. Only God knows how many others of the grandchildren or great-grandchildren will follow God’s call on their lives. Many people could bear testimony to the fact that Nannoo led them to the Lord or influenced them to live lives devoted to Him. Only God knows the number of spiritual children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren in Marietta, over SC, Georgia, Virginia, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Venezuela, Brazil, Spain, over the US and around the world that are a direct result of this godly mother’s life. I think the greatest thing that can be said about mama is that she loved her Lord and she shared that love with all of us. She was a model of her Savior in displaying forgiving, unconditional love.

As I remember Mama on the eve of this Mother's Day, I think of love...her love for us, our love for her and her love of her God. She is a role-model for me and for all who knew her. I thank God for the blessing of precious memories!