The 7 things I’d tell my mom if I could have 1 more conversation with her

My mom died in 2003, and with Mother’s Day only a couple of days away, it seems like a good time to share a few of the things that I would tell my mom if I could sit down this Sunday and have one more conversation with her.

1. I still wear clean underwear.

You probably didn’t need to hear that, mom, but I just thought I’d lead with the obvious.  You taught me a lot about being prepared and being responsible, and also about seeing the possibilities in every new day.  I know that when you told us to put on clean underwear it was probably more about the funky smells than a life lesson, but I tend to see it as letting go of yesterday and seeing today as a fresh start.  Starting each day with a clean pair, um, slate gives me confidence, and I know that no matter what I might face over that next 24 hour period…

2. I’m ok.

Don’t get me wrong.  I would so much rather have you here with me, calling me every day “just to check in” on me, but you need to know that all the time you invested in me to shape the man I would become paid off, and even though it hurts that you’re gone, your absence hasn’t left me unable to live, because you taught me that life is about so much more than how I feel or what I experience.  Life is about Jesus, and He’s been good to me.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt that…

3. She’s everything you prayed for.

It’s not like you never got to meet Wendy, because we’d been married 12 years before you died, so I’m sure you died at peace knowing that I was married to the woman YOU PRAYED INTO MY LIFE.  No, you didn’t pray specifically for Wendy, but I know you spent time on your knees asking God to give me the perfect blend of strength and grace, beauty and integrity.  She’s all of that and so much more.  The fact that she said yes and married me is only one example of how…

4. God heard you.

I’ll never forget the summers when you would send all of us kids off to youth camp.  I remember specifically the summer that you hugged me good-bye and told me that I would be a preacher some day, and I’m pretty sure I laughed.  In your face. But just like with Wendy, God heard you because God seems to have a special line of communication for praying moms, and here I am years later in my third decade of ministry.  I’m so thankful that you were able to see God’s answer to your prayers before your death, and I cherish the years that I got to serve on staff at your church.  I think of you often now as I preach at and lead The Gathering, and this Sunday you will be a big part of me, because…

5. You are not forgotten.

I don’t break down as much as I used to, but I think of you more now than ever before, and I’m more determined now to live my life in such a way that others don’t forget the woman who held me when my ear infections kept me up at night, or my mind blew up thinking about eternity, or a girl broke my heart.  I think of you when I see Wendy help our children with school work and every time our extended family gets together.  I look at my sisters, my daughter, my niece, and every now and then when they turn their head a certain way and laugh, I see you.  The thing is, I couldn’t forget you even if I wanted to, because you are in me.  Your DNA pulses through me, your values guide me, and your passion for pursuing Jesus awakens me to all the things you prayed for me.  For that, I can only say…

6. Thank you.

Thank you for everything.  Thank you for giving up your life to pour into mine.  For living in front of me the sacrificial love of Jesus by pouring yourself so fully into the care of my special needs brother.  Thank you for teaching me that every life matters, and that if I look hard enough, the lives that seem less valuable can actually teach me the most valuable lessons.  Thank you for showing me that no matter how many years you’ve lived, it’s never too late to try something new.  Thank you for your time, your patience, your unwavering faith, your consistency, your realness, your laugh and your love.  But most of all, thank you for so impacting my life with your character that every time I hear the word grace, I see your face.

Mom, if you were here with me right now, and I could have one last conversation with you, the last thing I’d say to you would be the first thing you heard when you saw Jesus…

7. Well done.

 

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Paul Jenkins

Paul Jenkins is lead pastor of The Gathering, a community church located in beautiful downtown Albemarle, North Carolina. He's the author of God is My Air Traffic Controller and My Name's Not Lou. Paul is passionate about his wife, his 3 children, running, reading, coaching, leading people who are following Jesus, Swedish Fish and the Carolina Panthers.

4 comments

  • Dear Paul and family, I love your Mom and miss her so too. I loved helping in the classes she taught. I loved calling her with the Prayer chain from the church and sharing with your mom and to your Brother too what a GOD gift <3

    • There is no telling how much of what Jesus is doing in our city is the direct result of women like you and Mom praying for so many years. Thank you!

  • Paul, what an awesome tribute! Makes me appreciate mine so much more! Thanking God everyday for our blessings in life, no matter how big or small!

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