It's no secret that I'm getting more sentimental, introspective, and memory driven as of late. I'm a sap. There I said it. It's out in the open. As if that's a great shock. :)
Today, I find myself lost in memories once again. Thinking of what was and what a gift I had.
Today marks the 11th anniversary of Kevin's mom's heavenly homecoming. My mother-in-law for too short of years. I like to rephrase that to say, mother-in-love. I like those words much better. It wasn't until a couple of years that I began to hear that term of endearment and I believe Janice lived that out.
Though Kevin and I have had to face countless struggles and obstacles throughout our 20 years of being together, perhaps the most bonding to us has been the loss of parents that had great impacts on our lives. It's not the path one wants to take to find deeper bonds, but none-the-less, it's reality.
I could share COUNTLESS memories of Janice or write pages about what an impact she had on many individuals and what she meant in our lives, but there is one specific I want to focus on.
Today, November 12---is a Wednesday.
Wednesday doesn't mean much to many people, but it makes Kevin and I remember her more often than any other day of the week.
I think Kevin and I have moved over 13+, but honestly we've lost count and stopped counting. However, there were a few months of time that we were blessed with literally living across the street from his parents. We had just moved home from Arkansas and I was just a couple of weeks away from the birth of Peyton. Having lived away for a couple of years meant that we were enjoying being able to have family around when he was born and having everyone catch up on quantity and quality time with Adriana.
It was a hard time. I was physically struggling. We were financially in some of our darkest times. We were facing battles and obstacles from multiple directions. Every aspect of our lives were struggles. My pregnancy with Peyton was difficult since it was my first one after having my lupus diagnosis. It was uncertain and it was scary. The last six weeks, including the time period we moved, I had only about 25% of my hearing due to an infection that we couldn't treat effectively until after delivery. Delivery itself went well, but my recovery took longer because of the drastic flare up that came immediately upon delivery and massive amounts of medications they had me on. At that time, the learning curve of treating different aspects of lupus and pregnancy were still being experimented with. All in all....it was a TOUGH time. It was happy because of new life, being back home, and such....but oh so hard!
Wednesday nights brought relief. They brought connection. They brought memories that become more priceless than ever.
For us it always has and continues to be that Wednesday nights are the hardest to balance as a family and church. We have ALWAYS valued Wednesday night Bible study and children's programs as vital to our family's spiritual growth. We've felt that is where the best relationships have grown and the deepest study of scripture has taken place. It's where the biggest impact has been made on our children. But.... to get out the door is WAY harder than a Sunday morning and the person that wrote "easy like Sunday morning" was obviously not a parent or didn't attend church! :) At that time, our drive to church was 30+ minutes and that made the time crunch even greater.
Back to Janice.
We were always welcome in their home. Always. However, she decided to provide dinner to us EVERY Wednesday night. That meant, all I had to do was walk across the street. No meal planning. No cooking. No cleaning. Just get myself and the kids dressed and across the street. That's it. (Granted, that did seem hard and overwhelming many days. Moms of newborns understand that!). We often had other meals together on weekends with the rest of the family, but Wednesdays it was just us.
It was a line of sanity.
See, if you aren't from the South you may not understand what the power a meal brings. Yes, food is important everywhere and it can be considered a universal language. BUT....there's a whole other level of dimension in the south! It's a love language! Really.
That time spent around the kitchen table in just those 30-45 minutes felt like they packed in MUCH more time.
You see, she was a quiet servant.
She wasn't a bold woman that screamed "look at me", "look what I'm doing", or "recognize me."
I mean that in a way of honor---not in a derogatory way.
She was His servant.
She served Christ by taking care of others. That is the number one trait she passed along to her son in abundance (and perhaps moving slow----he picked that one up too----ha---sorry Kevin---had to throw that one in!). She took care of her family's needs and those in the community, quietly without fanfare.
I believe that is exactly one of the ways the Bible teaches us to serve. From the heart. Without drawing attention. Without expectation of recognition.
It may to her have simply just been an excuse to have company, to see the kids, to spend more time with her son that had been hundreds of miles away for the last several years as we lived in multiple states.
It was more.
It was a life-line to THIS broken mom. This mom holding on by the thinnest thread. This mom that was ready to throw in the towel on multiple levels.
Sitting around that table, over a simple but amazing bowl of chili or stew, brought hope. It brought enough motivation that to just "simply" get my little family across the street to open the door for taking another step and another step. Returning back to normal. Getting back to myself. It was a chance to sit and talk, to hear Kevin's Dad offer prayer over the meal and our lives, it was a time of connection.
Though my memories and thoughts are wrapped up in her today, it also reminds me that we have more power to make a difference in someone's life than we realize. It was a SIMPLE meal. It wasn't an elaborate gesture, Yet, it made a greater impact than just providing nutrients. We sometimes forget that our little gestures can have a great impact on others. What we see as no big deal at all in the scheme of "big" things may actually hold more power than we realize. We may have friends going through VERY trying times physically, emotionally, and financially We may not can alleviate the big picture problems, but we don't need to discount how a small gesture may have a bigger impact than our eyes can see.
Go ahead and send that card.
Go ahead and make that phone call.
Go ahead and make that meal or cookies.
Go ahead and drop off that small little token of "your're in my thoughts".
Go ahead and leave that anonymous $10 even though the need may be 1,000s of times greater.
Go ahead and do that little task behind the scenes that you never get credit for (my daughter is GREAT at that).
Go ahead and humbly serve.
It makes a difference.
You may not see it today. You may not see it tomorrow. You may not realize your impact until you are standing before Christ.
But the impact is there.
Be a quiet servant.
I know our lives were significantly blessed by a MIGHTY one that we greatly miss. (Extra tid bit: I've always found it quite beautiful that she also shared her birthday with the day we celebrate Christ's birth! Pretty neat birthday for a precious lady.)