The reminder came via my friend Kathy, who lost her beloved mom several years ago. She sent me an article from an old CareNotes, a publication of One Caring Place. In this piece, author Peggy Heinzmann Ekerdt provides some wonderful insights into what can make this event so personally catastrophic.
For instance, as Ekerdt points out, losing your mom can mean losing:
- Your sole source of unconditional love. A mother’s love “is often tested, but rarely fails. So when a mother dies, the loss of unconditional love is often a loss that no one else can understand, much less fill.”
- Your identity. “It is as though a fundamental part of me has existence only in my mother’s memory,” writes Ekerdt, quoting Roberta Bondi in Memories of God, “and when my mother dies this part of me will die, too.”
- Your family connector. “When a mother dies, some … wonder why they feel as if they have lost touch with siblings.” As my own sister said in the wake of our mother’s death, “Mom was the glue that held us together.”
- Protection. “There is a sense of security that accompanies the knowledge that even into adulthood, mothers look out for their children, and God help anyone who attempts harm. That shield of protection, both physical and emotional, is lost when a mother dies.”
In this article, Ekerdt has taken a secular approach to the subject – no doubt because it’s the only way to avoid offending some people in this perennially offended culture we live in today.
But as I read it, I was reminded that there is a source of unconditional love, identity, family connection, and protection that transcends what even the most wonderful mother could ever provide: and that’s our Creator, the God who reveals Himself to us in the Bible.
After all, God is love, as the apostle John tells us in 1 John 4. He loves us so much that He died to pay the penalty for our sins. And He forgives those who repent and trust in Him, so completely that He separates us from our transgressions as far as east is from west (see Psalm 103).
What’s more, that fundamental part of me that existed in my mom’s memory also exists in the Lord’s – and it does so perfectly, without the affectionate “re-interpretation” a mother may give it. That may not seem like such a good thing, having our Creator know everything about us, warts and all. But see above; He forgives!
And how about that family connector? When we become His children through repentance and trust, we also become members of the most astonishing family of all – His church. Even if this life were all there is to our existence, it would be a tragedy to miss membership in this family; I doubt that there’s any greater love among human beings than what can be experienced in a fellowship of born-again believers in Jesus Christ.
And protection? There’s none like the Lord Himself. He is in sovereign control of all our circumstances, and He makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (see Romans 8). That’s true even if a particular circumstance feels for the moment like the opposite of protection; sooner or later, if we are paying attention, we will see that He allowed it for our good.
Best of all, He has promised never to leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). He will always be His children’s unfailing source of unconditional love, identity, connection, and protection.
It’s been 21 years since I lost my mom. I still miss her terribly, and can’t wait to see her again in heaven. But what a comfort it is to know that the Lord God Himself provides all that a mother can provide and infinitely more – and not only in this life, but for all eternity.