Micah 6:8 – “Do Justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God.” – was one of my dear mother’s favorite Bible verses. She was so inspired by this verse that she cross-stitched it as a New Year’s resolution in 1989. In her old red Bible, she wrote: “DOING justly means righting wrongs, championing the oppressed, being honest, and treating others with fairness. LOVING mercy is to go beyond justice; it is to do more than is demanded. It means loving even those who do not love you. WALKING humbly with God describes the heart’s attitude toward Him. Believers should depend on Him, not their own abilities. Instead of taking pride in what they bring to God, they humbly recognize that no amount of personal sacrifice can replace a heart committed to justice and love.”
Mom framed that piece of cross-stitch, hanging it in her and Daddy’s bedroom. It was the first thing she saw in the morning and the last thing she saw before turning out the light. On the day she passed away, it was one of the last things she saw before going Home to Glory.
The memory of my precious mother evokes many things: the smell of frying eggs and bacon on a cold, winter’s morn; crisp, freshly ironed shirts, smelling of sunshine from their time drying on an old-fashioned clothesline; the roar of our 1963 Kirby vacuum cleaner on Saturday mornings; her sweet, loving smile and gentle nature; her aversion to unkind behavior and vicious gossip; her unshakable love for Dad and me; her love for Gulfport’s First Baptist Church and her Sunday School class; but most of all, her unfailing faith in her God and His son, Jesus Christ.
Mom never preached to me about taking time to read my Bible. She never insisted that I do so. However, she did lead by example—the best of all teachers. More times than I can remember, I saw her sitting in her high back rocker by the window, the gentle rustling of her worn Bible pages filling the air. Watching her from afar, I often saw her read a verse and then closed her eyes, her mouth moving in silent prayer. Many times after reading a verse, she looked quietly out the window, pondering what she’d just read. Often, a smile came across her face–perhaps God had answered her prayer.
As mother’s eyesight dimmed due to macular degeneration and she could no longer read, as her mind faded due to dementia, oft times, I’d see her sitting silently by the window, her old red Bible held tightly in her old, gnarled hands. Sometimes she’d drift slowly off to sleep, holding her Bible–the source of her strength. That book and its ancient words guided my dear mother until the day she passed away. She was, to all, a loving Christian lady who survived the Great Depression, the Second World War, the Cold War, the Cuban Missile crises, Camille, and Katrina. I seldom heard her complain. I never heard her utter an unkind word about anyone.
Early on Mother’s Day, I’ll sit quietly in the living room, sipping a cup of coffee, and look at mother’s empty chair by the window. I’ll remember the numerous times I saw her there, her fading blue eyes twinkling, a smile on her face. But most of all, I’ll remember her reading her old, red Bible. That memory will remind me to read my own Bible, and in so doing, perchance, I’ll remember to do justly, love mercy…and walk humbly with God.
Let me wish all my Facebook mother’s a Happy and Blessed Mother’s Day. If your dear mother’s living, call her, visit her, tell her that you love her. If your dear mother has passed away, take a moment to remember her. I miss you, Mom. But one day soon…