Most of the time I talk about how God knew I needed to have Karis. My baby girl, the one who I can have, especially during the times I miss my mom the very most. But tonight I am reminded why God knew that I had to have Jericho. For the last month or so, Jericho has been saying the prayer before we have dinner. His usual prayer is thanking God for his trains and cars and all the people close to his heart. But tonight it was different. His prayer went like this, "Jesus, we thank you for mommy and daddy. Jesus, I thank you for mommy and I want to hug her. Amen."
This boy says the CUTEST things and I try very hard not to correct him THAT much. Sometimes I try to remind him that we should thank Jesus for our food too, but that night James and I just looked at each other and smiled. Later that night, James was teasing me because he said that Jericho just melted my heart by what he said in his prayer, especially because he is a momma's boy. I got to thinking, and it made me realize how much Jericho loved me. In his pure and innocent love, he reminded me so much of how I loved my mom. From the second I can remember, I loved my mom. Everyone would always tell me how much I never wanted to be away from her. I remember when my mom had to have surgery when I was five years old, and you might as well have taken her from me forever. That week of being away from her was like ripping my heart out. I still remember sobbing and sobbing when I couldn't see her. I stayed with my grandparents that week and my grandma gave me an EKG sticker that was on my mom, that I placed on a piece of paper so I could hug it, and that was the only way I could fall asleep. It's so funny how that memory, from 28 years ago, still resonates deep in my heart of the longing I had for my mom.
My mom was my biggest cheerleader, advocate, closest friend. She made me feel like I was priceless. Irreplaceable. Loved. When she died she took a piece of me with her. Through my relationship with her, I learned what it meant to be loved unconditionally, how to be nurtured. How to be protected. I never understood the depth of her love for me. Now that I am a mom, I can understand the fierceness in how a mother loves her children.
A few months ago, one of my best friends and I started a bible study, by Beth Moore, called Breaking Free. This study has completely changed my life. God knew that I needed to be in his word and soaking in his truth, especially during this season of life.
One of the truths that was revealed to me in this study shook me to my core. Here is the passage as she quotes from an amazing man, Oswald Chambers.
Our soul's history with God is frequently the history of the "passing of the hero." Over and over again God has to remove our friends in order to bring Himself in their place, and that is where we faint and flail and get discouraged. Take it personally: In the year that the one who stood to me for all that God was, died--I gave up everything? I became ill? I got disheartened? Or-- I saw the Lord?
It must be God first, God second, and God third, until the life is faced steadily with God and no one else is of any account whatever. "In all the world there is none but thee, my God, there is none but thee."
My mom was and always will be my hero. What got me was when Oswald Chambers says, "In the year that the one who stood to me for all that God was, died--I gave up everything? I became ill? I got disheartened? Or-- I saw the Lord?" and truly, I want to say that when my mom died, the one who stood to me for ALL that God was, I saw the Lord. It is hard. It is painful. Sometimes I just want lie in bed and sleep, and just be sad, but because of my babies, I get up every morning, make sure they are fed, and loved, and nurtured, and KNOW without a doubt that they are one of the greatest gifts and blessings God has ever given me, just as my mom showed me.
Another thing that I have been thinking about is how I don't ever want to be the one who stood for God to my children. My mom never intended that to be, but my mom what God in the flesh for me. My love and dependence on her was so strong because of her ever perfect way of loving me, the best that she could. My mom and I had gone through hell and back together, not in our relationship with each other, but in the things that we went through, together.
Though I pray that my babies love me, and know that I love them so deeply, I LONG for them to have their reliance on Jesus. I long for them to place their hopes and dreams on Him, because He is the only one who can fulfill all of the dark, lonely, and hard places of our souls. He is the only one who will never let us down, and He is the only one who will love us despite all our ugliness.
Especially since I know my Jericho loves me in such an endearing way, I have made it a point to try to let him know that God loves him so much more than I ever could. There was one day that he was crying for about twenty minutes, because in his two year old world, the worst thing that could ever happen to him every day is that he has to take a nap. The most loving thing that I could think of to say to him was that I loved him so much. But it hit me, my words and actions need to start now. He needs to know that no matter how much I love him, the only one who could ever love him more than me is Jesus. So now I say to him, "Jericho mommy loves you the most in the world, but do you know who loves you more?" and his ever so emphatic response is, "Jesus!" I hope one day he realizes the truth of those words. That me, as his mommy will love him the most that is humanly possible. But the truth is that no matter what, the only one who can love him perfectly, flawlessly, and without fail, is Jesus.
Oh, how I am so grateful to God for my mom. How she loved me the most that was humanly possible for her, and how she made sure, in the most possible way she could, that I loved God too. And though difficult for me to accept at times, only He can fill the void of her in my life. But how beautiful, how my mom's legacy of love and faith in God, has been the greatest inheritance that she has passed down to me, and now to the best of my capacity, will passed down as an inheritance to my children as well.