Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | August 16, 2009

My Beautiful Mom | D

In Mom's Arms   I returned home from Cambodia last Thursday. This was the first international mission trip I have taken without my beautiful Mom praying for me at home. I mentioned in a previous post that after Mom died on May 30, I spent hours reading the notes she had written in the margins of her Bible. 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 on the pages of her Bible. She also noted the dates I had called home from overseas and initialed these notes with the letters TYL — Thank You Lord. These simple notes are a sweet legacy of my mother’s love. I will treasure the knowledge of her love and concern for me for a lifetime. Mom’s notes remind me that no matter how old we get or how far away from home we venture, a mother’s heart is never at rest until her children are safely home.

Running Away | I thought a lot about my beautiful Mom as I traveled throughout Cambodia. As I reflected on her concern for me, I thought back to the first and only time I ran away from home. I can’t recall why I did it, but it had something to do with not getting my way. At the time, I felt that my only recourse was to teach my Mom a lesson by running away from home. So, I mustered all of my sixth grade courage, stormed out of the house, and marched toward one of the two irrigation canals near our home in McAllen. These canals carried the water that irrigated the orange orchards near our home. They were wide, deep, dark, and fast-moving. I walked for several hours until it was just past dark. Finally, hunger prevailed and I started the long journey home.

When I walked through the front door, Mom ran to me with tears in her eyes and embraced me. I felt victorious and remember thinking, “Good. This will teach her to not deny me what I want!” And then, Mom spoke through her tears. The local evening news had just reported that the lifeless body of a boy about my age had been pulled out of one of the canals near our home. Mom was certain that it was me, burst into tears, and was getting ready to call the police. That’s when I walked through the front door. When Mom told me why she was crying I felt terrible. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I listened to Mom sobbing, almost choking on her tears. I no longer felt victorious. I felt selfish, childish, and stupid. I apologized to Mom and promised her that I would never run away from home again.

Lesson Learned: I caught a glimpse of my beautiful Mom’s heart on that evening when I returned home. Mom never punished me for running away. Instead, she did something I did not deserve or expect — she hugged me and cried. Even though I was the one who had acted in a childish and stupid way, Mom was happy to have me back in her embrace. I determined then that I would never run away again. I had caused my beautiful Mom unnecessary grief and pain on that night. She showed me unconditional love, forgiveness, and acceptance in return. Mom had a beautiful heart.

Ride Again | Not long after I had run away from home, I had another experience that rocked my world. Mom and Dad had bought me a red bicycle to ride to school. Later, Mom bought a wire basket to attach to the bicycle to hold my school books. I was proud of my bike and enjoyed riding it through the quiet streets of our neighborhood. One day, a group of guys I had never seen before stopped me as I was riding my bike near the irrigation canal west of our house. One of the guys pushed me to the ground and another took my bike and threw it into the canal. Then, they punched and kicked me a few times, laughed, and went on their way.

I walked home frightened, angry, and sobbing. When I walked into the house Mom took one look at me and asked me what had happened. I told her the whole story. Mom then walked with me to the place where the guys who beat me up had thrown my bike into the canal. She retrieved my bike and then said something unexpected. Instead of telling me to come home, she told me to get on my bike and to start riding it again. I protested and told Mom that I wanted to come home. I did not want to run the risk of a second encounter with those guys. But, Mom explained that if I did not ride the bike again now, that I would always be too scared to go out again. So, I got on my bike and rode up and down the otherwise quiet streets near our home. I never saw those guys again.

Lesson Learned: Mom did not want for me to live in fear in my own neighborhood. She understood that we all experience unexpected setbacks and troubles in life that can easily cripple and immobilize us with fear. Mom’s encouragement to me to ride again has served me well through the years. She taught me that giving up is not an option and that failure never has to be final. Over the years, my bike has ended up in the canal more times than I can recall. But, thanks to Mom’s wise counsel and with God’s help, I have always managed to get my bike out of the canal and ride again.

• • • • •

Read more posts about My Beautiful Mom filed under my Home and Family category.


  1. Omar,

    Hooray for Moms! They are the best examples of God’s love!


  2. Omar-

    Thanks for writing an article about your mom. I will share with the Bengali mothers, to have same attitudes, for their children, no matter that, children are adults or small, love of mothers are should be same!

    Thanks God, that you had a great Mom!


  3. Charlie…

    Yes, indeed — thank God for good and godly mothers. I miss Mom but know that I will see her again.


    Thank you for encouraging Bengali mothers as you work with families in so many villages.


  4. Thank you, Omar, for sharing your beautiful mom with us.

    I have a mental picture of your mom, on the happy streets of Heaven, proudly sharing pictures and stories of your adventures and triumphs on earth, with anyone who will stop and listen. She must be so proud of you, and I’m quite sure it never occurs to her that you are who you are, because of who she was.

  5. Lanni…

    Thanks for your kind words. I realize today more than ever before that I am who I am because of Mom. I long to see her again and know that while the wait for her will be but a moment according to eternity’s clock, for me it will be years. In the meantime, I want to continue to honor her. I now understand that the fifth commandment that tells us to honor our parents is operative even after our parents pass away.


  6. Omar,

    Your Mom’s lessons will carry on through you, and help multitudes because of your work.

    Did she ever imagine by teaching her son, how many lives she would touch?

  7. Chad…

    Thanks for your comment. Mom was really good at seizing teachable moments. Makes me want to be as intentional as I teach my own kids.


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