“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 1:4, ESV)
My five surviving siblings and I had to end our long goodbye to our ailing mother on January 19, 2019. She was ninety-three years old. She was a retired nurse, the child of sharecroppers from Georgia and she was a FORCE of nature! Yes, she was only human, but even strangers, after just meeting her would have to admit that she had a unique way of approaching the issues of life and did not hold back on sharing her position on a matter, sometimes unsolicited. The word “force” applies to our mom’s persona because no matter how often she was knocked down, she would bloom again, like a spring bulb following a dreadful winter. She was so resilient, our dad often joked that she would outlive us all!
She never seemed to tire of answering the questions of life I would toss to her until my teen years when my line of questioning would lead down the road of challenging her belief system. “Just keep on living”, she’d say when her responses no longer quenched my desire for more wiggle-room or areas of grey. Mama used the phrase so often, if she had tweeted or had an Instagram account, “Just Keep on Living” would have had its own hashtag. She believed when her verbal remedies to my queries would not satisfy my challenges, then the Holy Spirit, through time and circumstances certainly would illuminate the answers reserved just for me. And for sure, on many an occasion, He did. Over time and circumstances, I discovered her wisdom in areas of negative associations, failed romantic relationships, being too trusting too soon, unhealthy habits. My “living” through those situations not only unveiled her wisdom but also helped mold me, as a mom, into a type of facsimile of my mother and her mother before her. That “force” just keeps on living.
Her “force” may have been defined by her personality, but it was rooted in her Christian faith. And though our parents didn’t always agree on doctrine, they ensured that their children’s foundations of faith were constructed of a belief in Jesus Christ. And as we “just keep on living”, our faith keeps on growing, just and she (and Dad) prayed it would.