Saturday, 10 May 2014

:: honouring my mum ::

I became a mum on Mother's Day. Well, it was actually an hour and a half short, but in New Zealand it was Mother's Day morning...and I like to take advantage of belonging to two countries and time zones to claim as my own ;o) At the end of a very full, unexpected, somewhat-scary day that involved an urgent helicopter trip to the nearest hospital with Neonatal facilities, my mum received a text that said something like "Please pray, the babies are coming." Not the most reassuring text to a mum whose daughter was just short of 26 weeks pregnant with twins and on the other side of the world! But she did what mothers do...she prayed and she quickly sent a text to all her friends on her contact list to ask them to pray too. Consequently, as it was a Sunday morning, several churches around the country stopped and prayed for us as my journey into motherhood began. It is Mother's Day eve here again, four years later. We have just celebrated the fourth birthday of our girls who are full of life and health, despite their 'adventurous' beginnings. But I don't want to talk about my experience of motherhood. I want to honour the woman who has made much more of an impact on my life than any other single person. My mum.

I know we can tend to get sentimental on days like these and gush just a little bit as though our mums are the most amazing people on the planet. I'll try not to do that - though I do think the world of her. My aim is simply to honour mum. Being a mother now, myself, I realise how much self-sacrifice it takes and some days you wonder if there ever is a break from it all, from the endless, day-after-day repetition of routines (as much as we adore our kids!)...then realise that there never is a break from the moment you become a mum! So I think we are a pretty amazing bunch. But we're far from perfect, and being family means we see the best of each other and the worst - the un-made-up, imperfect people we are with insecurities in all our honest, down-to-earth glory, the way we sometimes yell at each other and drive one another nuts, which I guess kinda balances the amazing gifts we possess ;o)

So my mum... We're pretty different in some ways. She's an ENFP, I'm an INFJ, if you know Myers-Briggs Personality speak. I'm the quiet, admittedly more conservative one that doesn't like to make a scene. Mum is the exuberant one who talks easily, laughs loudly with a great sense of humour, and likes to break out of the boundaries. I've often watched her interacting with people and wished I was more like her. We both share a deep desire for justice and a hate of injustice, a desire to stand up for what is right and alongside people suffering injustice, or unjust situations. Our hearts beat to the same rhythm on this note. Although, mum has often been greatly misunderstood because of this and her natural ability to speak up and to ask the good and hard questions on the spot (I often need time to process my thoughts before I can, if I even have the courage to do so!).

Being a minister's kid for my whole life until next month, I have observed from the wings what it is like to see someone who loves deeply and serves others endlessly but doesn't take crap, and often gets treated like it in the process, simply from the expectations of this sort of job involvement. There have been a lot of hurtful experiences, including a recent email listing all her apparent faults. I have been deeply inspired and touched by her example and feel very protective of a woman who has walked an often-lonely life of being known as "The Minister's Wife." I watch her constantly encourage people through her profession as a Life Coach, specialising in Myers Briggs Personality, grief, team dynamics and supervising. I've rejoiced with her when her gifts have been recognised and honoured, and she's been able to share them in places like Guyana and Switzerland and has been appreciated and encouraged by those she's shared with. Several times she has jumped on a plane when friends have unexpectedly lost a family member, without worrying about the financial cost. Because relationships are so much more important to her and she shows that through her actions, not just through nice-sounding words. I've been amazed at her ability to create numerous meals to drop in to people who are going through stress in their own lives and determined in my heart that I will do the same when I hear of a need. I have watched her show respect to those who have deeply hurt her partly because she is wise enough to know that bitterness never leads to true life, but more so because she knows who she was created to be and that, while words and actions create deep wounds, the truth of who she is and her trust in the One she loves is what gives her life and the ability to keep serving and loving. But none of these observations have impacted me as much as my first-hand experience of being supported by my mum who literally laid down her career to fly across the world and spend as long as it was legally possible to come and make meals, clean, do the washing, the shopping and whatever else was needed to help us through those first months with our girls. And more recently, since moving to New Zealand, will drop whatever she is doing to come and help when things are going pear-shaped. When I became a mum four years ago, I suddenly realised more completely the gift my mum has given me in the all-encompassing role of being a mother. I've asked her many questions throughout these last four years and she's guided me often when I've felt stuck. Whereas before we had more of a mum and daughter relationship, now we are more friends sharing a common understanding and experience together.

So, mum. None of this is sentimental gushing. It's true. You love and you keep on loving and giving wherever you see a need and wherever your gifts can be used. I have seen that and I know I'm not the only one. I will miss you and Dad when you move next month but I'm thrilled for the opportunities ahead of you and equally so that you will be living close to great, long-term friends. You have invested in them and stood with them through good times and bad and they are waiting excitedly to have you nearby. I love knowing this! Enjoy :o) Know you're a wonderful mum and friend who has done more than simply mother - you've inspired me to live and love well and to stand up for what is good, and true, and right.

Thank you

If you ever have the privilege of meeting my mum, get to know her, because in doing so you will discover a deep treasure of what a true friend is like. 


  1. Cheering for your mum here. Saddened at some of what she has received. She sounds like a dynamic and gifted woman. I'm sure you are more like her in terms of your own influence than you hope xxx

  2. Miriam, she certainly is a dynamic and gifted woman, and this is a wonderful and true "honouring", Remaliah. Bless you both today as you celebrate Mother's Day together. Much love xoxoxoxox

  3. What a beautiful tribute! How wonderful to have such a gorgeous person in your life and share such a treasured bond. Happy mothers day to you both xx