Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | June 5, 2009

My Beautiful Mom | C

Mom in blue   This is my third installment of reflections on my beautiful Mom. I have so many sweet memories that I could fill a book. In the future I will occasionally write more lessons I learned from Mom. Thanks so much to each of you who sent flowers and plants. These beautiful arrangements were like a sweet embrace around my beautiful Mom. And thank you for all of your cards and e-mail condolences. I came home to find my desk covered with sympathy cards, each with beautiful expressions of support. And, I have been blessed and encouraged by e-mails and phone calls from around the world. Your kind condolences and thoughtful expressions have comforted me and my family more than I can tell you. I hope you enjoy these final (for the time being) thoughts about my beautiful Mom.

Mom’s Missions | Long before Rick Warren wrote his best-seller, “The Purpose Driven Life,” Mom modeled a purpose-driven life. After all of her kids left home, Mom prayed and asked God to give her specific missions to accomplish for Him. She did not want to allow all of the energy she had invested in raising her kids to go to waste. So, she pursued a new career as a home health care worker and loved every moment. Every time we talked she would tell me about those for whom she cared and how much she loved them — especially a little boy named Hunter Patton who absolutely captured her heart. She would give me Hunter updates and prayer requests every time we’d talk. Mom lived the rest of her life seeking and accomplishing these missions from God. She was Jesus with skin on as she cared for children with special needs, aging parents, friends, and neighbors. I should have known that she sensed the end was near when a few months ago she told me that she felt she had completed the last mission God had assigned her.

Lesson Learned: Mom understood that a purpose-driven life is a well-lived life. She loved God and expressed that love by serving others. She understood that the best antidote to feeling sorry for yourself is to get the focus off of yourself. It’s hard to whine and complain about your own aches and pains when you are helping to alleviate the hurts of others.

Mom’s Bible | I had the precious privilege of spending a few days with Mom and Dad last month before I flew to Kashmir. Before I left, Mom told me that she wanted to be buried with her Bible — a request that we have honored. Hunter’s family had given her the Bible years ago and it became her favorite Bible. Before turning Mom’s Bible over to the funeral home, I spent hours looking through it and was blessed by what I found. Mom had noted each of my international trips and the dates of those trips next to passages of Scripture that she was praying for me. I always knew that she was praying for my safety and success, but I never knew that she was recording these things in her Bible. It’s no wonder that I have survived so many occasions when I have been in danger in remote locations around the world. She kept me tethered to safety by her prayers. She had also noted the dates I had called home from overseas and initialed these notes with the letters TYL — Thank You Lord. In fact, passages throughout her Bible were marked TYL. She was always so grateful to God for His blessings and never missed expressing her gratitude to Him for even the smallest blessing.

Lesson Learned: Mom understood that God’s Word and promises are true. She trusted God for the welfare of each of her kids and bombarded heaven with prayers on our behalf. I’ve always known the Devil was evil, but I did not realize how stupid he was until he tried to mess with Mom’s kids. Her prayers for us and her trust in God’s promises shielded us from so many things that could have harmed us.

Mom’s Heartbeat | In addition to beating for her family, Mom’s heart beat for the least of these. She would bless people begging on the streets, visited people in hospitals and nursing homes who did not have others to care for them, and opened her heart and home to everyone in the neighborhood. At Mom’s funeral, I met kids who had adopted Mom and Dad as surrogate grandparents. Mom especially loved the work of my friends Jerry and Susan Smith in Mongolia. Jerry and Susan care for orphaned, abandoned, and abused kids. Mom was absolutely amazed by their work and was one of their key prayer warriors. And, earlier this year when I volunteered at Mother Teresa’s homes for the destitute and dying in Kolkata, Mom wept when I told her about my experiences. She always encouraged me to invest and pour myself out for the least of these because these were the people who were so important to Jesus.

A couple of years ago I introduced Mom and Dad to my friend Mary Lee, one of Kingsland’s urban ministry partners. We delivered food to Mary, the founder of Something Blessed, a ministry to mentally challenged (formerly) homeless adults. Mom and Mary formed a fast friendship. Every time I went home for a visit she would load me down with supplies for Mary and her ministry. Ironically, Mary is currently battling cancer. Mom loved Mary and prayed for her ministry to the least of these.

Mom's Little BoyAfter I visited the displacement camps in Darfur in 2003, I gave Mom some photos from that trip. One photo in particular touched her heart. It was a photo of a little boy wearing mismatched and oversized flip-flops to protect his feet from the sands heated by burning temperatures. She framed this photo and kept it on her reading table. She said that, to her, the little boy in the photo represented oppressed and hurting people. So, she framed the photo and kept it near to remind her to pray daily for the least fortunate around the world.

Lesson Learned: Mom’s heart beat with concern for the welfare of the most vulnerable members of society — children in need, children and people with special needs, widows and orphans, and the least of these. I will continue to honor her concern for the least of these for as long as I live.

A God Wink | My family and I have been so blessed to have so many friends, neighbors, and relatives stop by the house since Mom passed away. On Sunday, the day after Mom died, I sat in a chair looking down the hallway, wishing for one more opportunity to see Mom walk down the hall to greet me and to talk. I was so overcome by emotion that I excused myself and went to her little reading area next to Dad’s office. I stood there alone and wept, telling God that I just wanted to hear Mom’s voice again. At that moment I looked over at a stack of books that Mom had been reading and noticed one book in particular that had a page book-marked. I picked it up and when I read what was on the page my jaw dropped. It was, without question, a God wink and a divine hug! Here is what Mom had marked on the page of that book. It was a poem entitled…

The Watcher
by Margaret Widdemer

She always leaned to watch for us,
Anxious if we were late,
In winter by the window,
In summer by the gate;

And though we mocked her tenderly,
Who had such foolish care,
The long way home would seem more safe
Because she waited there.

Her thoughts were all so full of us,
She never could forget!
And so I think that where she is
She must be watching yet,

Waiting till we come home to her,
Anxious if we are late —
Watching from Heaven’s window,
Leaning from Heaven’s gate.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Mom had marked the page with this poem and that I noticed the book at the exact moment when my heart was aching to hear her voice once again. So, thanks for watching and waiting Mom. I love you and will see you again.

• • • • •

PS | If you have not already done so, please take a moment to read my first two posts on Mom — My Beautiful Mom | A and My Beautiful Mom | B.


Responses

  1. Frances’s outward beauty mirrors an inward beauty from her heart where Christ has made His home. Thank you for sharing her with us – I pray the Lord brings comfort and healing to you each time you share sweet memories God bring to your mind.

    “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” Psalm 116:15

    SGW

  2. Sandy…

    Thanks for your kind words. Mom was indeed a beautiful lady whom God used to shape and direct my heart and life towards Him.

    Blessings,
    Omar~

  3. Omar, thanks for sharing with us about your mom. She was beautiful inside and out and truly a wonderful woman and mom. How wonderful to have the the neat memories of her and thanks again for sharing with us. We can also learn a lot from her as we read your writings. We love you and will continue to pray for you and your family! Beth & Jim Francis


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