Prior to the estate sale, Dad told each of his eight children to select one thing we wanted. He’d also selected one thing for us that he wanted us to have. The rest was up for auction.
My “one thing” was my Mother’s entire written materials. I had no idea what would be in that package, but I remembered Mom writing, always writing.
The package contained calendar type diaries, notes from stories she wanted to write and letters from our distant cousin, Mr. Lehman. This cousin’s letters offered a great deal about past generations and members of the family still alive. I remember Mom finding encouragement from the stories of relatives who emigrated from Germany. These were missionaries who’d been persecuted for their faith. He’d even been able to find their name, Christophel, which means “Christ carrier.”
Mom had a mission mindset and it was in her thick three-ring binder full of poetry where I discovered how serious missions was to her. There I found evidence that she’d hoped God would send she and Dad somewhere faraway to work as missionaries.
It wasn’t to be. God’s plan for her was to spread the gospel closer to home. As I remember it, and as the evidence shows, that’s what she did.
While I was growing up, my friends would come over to play and of course, she’d bring up her favorite topic: Jesus. Asking my friends if they were saved came as naturally to her as doling out cookies. She’d talk about the importance of having a relationship with Him. As long as they wanted the treats, she had a captive audience.
Once outside, my friends chided me. I was embarrassed, but I shouldn’t have been. After all, they were my friends. If I cared about them, I should have been telling them about Jesus.
Mom had opportunities to make an impact on children in other ways too. She always taught Sunday school; all grade levels. In the box of papers I also found a summer camp brochure where she’d been a counselor for a week.
As well as being a homemaker, Mom chose nursing as a career. She worked until she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma when my youngest siblings (twins) were almost two years old. I still lived in my hometown at that time and it wasn’t unusual for someone to approach me and reminisce about my mother’s bedside manner.
They’d say things like, “You know, when I was in the hospital, your mother was the best nurse I had.” These comments pleased me, but didn’t surprise me. She loved taking care of people. That was another way God chose to use her and though people never said so, I’m guessing Mom prayed with a few of her patients. She was a prayer warrior. Her favorite phrase was “Prayer changes things.”
It’s impossible to tell how many lives Mom touched as a “Christ-carrier.” Most of the clues came from observing her over the years and then making discoveries in that packet containing her papers and journals.
She kept track of her witnessing efforts with one person in particular–her oncologist. Notes made in the margins of her cancer journal revealed that she had witnessed to him and given him a “smiley face tract.” I suppose it was a last ditch effort to plant some seeds, because Mom had decided to stop having treatments.
While at a party a couple years ago, I was introduced to a woman who had known my mother. “What a striking resemblance,” she said. “And when I saw you go across the room just a few minutes ago, I noticed you even walk like her.”
I laughed at that. But thinking of it now, I realize my spiritual walk isn’t much like hers. I get a little hard of hearing when it comes to heeding the Lord’s instructions for me.
Not Mom; she heard the call of God on her life and got in step with the Holy Spirit immediately. Though her desire was to travel to distant lands, she was satisfied with a small town and the people God placed in her path. She focused on what mattered and wasn’t ashamed of the gospel.
I can hear the Savior saying to her, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”