This week marks twelve years since my mother informed us (her children) that she had breast cancer. A month and a half later on June 25, 2003, she died and went home to be with the Lord.
My mother was unusual even for our time (the 60’s and 70’s) as children; she was a stay-at-home mom. This meant that we were always under her care and supervision. Before school, after school and all during summer vacation, mom was always around. When my sisters reached the age when they could responsibly watch us, she would on occasion take a part-time job. But those times were few and far in between. She was home with us and as a matter of fact — except for a few senior ladies — my mom was the only lady home in our neighborhood during the day. This made her not only our mom, but mom at large.
My mother was born and raised in Conway, Arkansas. My grandfather was a farmer. Therefore my mother was a strong lady who loved the outdoors. She would kill snakes with a garden hoe. She could drive any kind of vehicle, automatic or standard transmission. I used to love riding with her in our old ’54 Chevy with a standard transmission and the gear shift on the steering column — man she could handle that thing! She loved gardening. We had several huge gardens and kept a basement pantry full of canned vegetables and fruits. She also could fish and scale them. One thing she didn’t care much for was hunting. However, whatever my father would bring home, she would skin, gut, and cook. Rabbits didn’t stand a chance around her.
Almost quite naturally Mom was a great cook. She was the chairperson of the kitchen committee at the church we grew up in. I would often hear the members rave about her fried chicken and cornbread dressing. She was always in great demand when it came to anyone making big meals for various occasions. Mom could burn, folks.
Yet the one thing that I really thank God for and the memory thatI cherish most is the day the Lord pricked my mother’s heart and she stood in front of the church and confessed her sins, asking the Lord and the church to forgive her. Although this was unusual for the kind of church we grew up in, it was not for my mom. You see, she was raised Primitive Baptist, and coming before the church to confess sins and seek forgiveness was customary. It happened at Watch Meeting Service, December 31, 1981. She was 51 years old.
Although we were in church every Sunday, my mother confessed that night that she was not living as a Christian should. She repented of her sins and her life was never the same.
The Lord gave her a love for His Word, equaled only by a love for the lost. Her study habits would put some seminary students to shame. She began to share the gospel with such a boldness that it would make most Christians uncomfortable. She put her cooking skills to work in starting the church’s soup kitchen. This was no ordinary soup kitchen,. The folks were served a full course meal with desserts and drinks to boot. I went over to help on occasion and was not surprised that a lot of the folks who came were not homeless or needy. They just wanted some of Faye Love’s cooking. Her zeal for the Lord didn’t stop there. Soon she and my father, along with several others from the congregation, would drive about forty-five minutes to the nearby prison and share the Gospel. Her faith in the Lord did not lack works (cf. James 2:14-17).
Mom loved to play bid whist. A group of them played every Friday night for as long as I could remember. When she committed her life to the Lord, all of that changed. Bid whist night turned into Bible game night. I’m not condemning card players. Her passion just changed.
So today I thank the Lord for my mother. I thank Him for her love for my father and us kids. I thank Him for the many years of sacrificial giving of herself for her family. I thank Him for what she meant to all the other kids in the neighborhood. But most of all, I thank Him for saving her and changing her life. I thank Him that she is now delighting in Him without hindrance. What a great mom, what a great Savior of moms.
Today, on the porch, the conversation is about moms. C’mon up and share a word about your mother if you’re so inclined.