Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My Mother's Greatest Gift

It was Christmas. And I was six. First grade half done, and I could now read. I was proud, and I loved all my books. I loved my little Sunday School papers. Letters, the alphabet, words. . . . They all came together for me, opening up a whole new world.

Early in the morning light of that Christmas day which we all impatiently waited for, we found a pile of gifts wrapped in brightly colored paper. Simple gifts --- like a roll of white shelf paper and a box of crayons. I thought I could color my way around the world with that much paper! A doll from my namesake aunt who lived so far away. It was dressed in a crocheted dress that my grandmother had made.

But the gift I cherished most of all was given to me by my Mother. It was a Bible. I loved the smell of that new book with the thin, crisp pages. But what made it so special was my name in gold embossed on the front cover. Inside, in her beautiful handwriting, she wrote my name after the words, ‘This Bible belongs to. . . .” and after the words “From” it said, “Her Mother.”

I carried that Bible every.single.Sunday of my childhood. It wasn’t until my Junior year of High School that I got a new Scofield Reference Bible ---- THE Bible to have at that time. But I kept my old Bible. It was special. My first. And it was from my Mom. And she was gone. Forever. It was all I had of her heart. I had no picture or momento that would link me to her. Only my Bible.

I kept that Bible no matter where I went. And sometimes I went far. As far as a wandering heart can take a Rebellious, proud, prodigal daughter. I always knew where it was. I wanted it close -- just in case. I knew my way around it, where to find certain verses that would win an argument, where to find my way back, where to find the cross, where to find grace and forgiveness. Within its covers were memories -- some so sweet, others so haunting. I won “sword drills” with that Bible, memorized verses and chapters, did my Sunday School lessons, and looked up verses in Junior Church. It convicted me, comforted me, and sometimes, confused me. But it laid out a roadmap, always showing me the right way, the old way, the one way that was well traveled, deep with ruts made by those who had gone before. That way always led by the way of the cross.

Now? Maybe 50 Bibles later -- all sizes, colors, versions, paraphrases, --- I still have my Mother’s Bible. It’s stiff now, the binding cracking and brittle (kind of like me) as it gets older. But it never changes. Its words, its message, its power are still all they ever were, and will remain so through eternity’s ages.

Sometimes a Mom doesn’t know the importance of a gift slipped under a tree on a frosty Christmas morning. She didn’t know that a few years later she would be taken suddenly from me. No good-bys, no last words, No hugs --- but she left the greatest gift of all. All I would ever need to get me through the good times, the bad times, up the steepest mountains and down into the deepest of valleys. It brought me safe thus far, and it will bring me safely Home.

Thank you, Mom, for the greatest gift a Mom could give. I am forever grateful!

And if you thank YOUR mama on your blog and link up with Ann VosKamp — you will help support a mothering educational project in Haiti just through your gratitude. The 1000 Moms Project is about 1000 people standing up and thanking their mom publicly (what mom doesn’t want a gift like this for Mother’s Day?) – and we’ll match your honoring of mothers by funding a Maternity/Child Survival Program in Haiti for a whole year. (You can read all about it here)

1000 Moms Project


ells said...

what a sweet legacy she left you...and yes...sometimes we will never know the impact of a seemly small act will have. blessings to you~

Recovering Church Lady said...

Such a beautiful story and wonderfully told! Thanks for coming by my blog, I am now your newest Follower!

Debbie said...

Cora, that's a beautiful share. I'm so sorry you lost your mom at so early an age. Mine died of ALZ when I was in my 30's and I felt like an abandoned kid at the time!Our culture today sure downplays the truth about the importance of moms, doesn't it?
I won my first Bible for memorization in early Sunday School, but I will always be thankful and appreciative that my mom took me to church regularly when I was small. I met Jesus CHrist through many of the people there and like you it sustained me through many dark years. Because of my mom's faithfulness, my conscience pushed me to take my kids to church when I wasn't living a Christian life and there I might Christ again in what has culminated into a life long relationship for me and my children. Thank you Lord! And thank you Cora for reminding me today how thankful I am for my mom.

Debbie said...

Quick fix! Cora...I meant to say that I MET Christ again insteat of 'might'. I need to proofread!
:D Deb

Debra said...

Very beautiful post.
Thank you , dear one, for showing us your life and heart in your blog.
I'm so very thankful for you.

Kristin Bridgman said...

What a sweet post! I don't know why it made me cry. Maybe because I'm hoping another prodigal thinks back on his trophy winning days of memory scripture, reading his beloved bible in bed with his momma? You give me hope Cora! Thank you!

Tiffany said...

Hi Cora!!

A bible from mom is the best! How wonderful it brings you such peace and joy!

When my mom bought a new bible because her old one was falling apart I took it and told her I wanted it. I treasure it because I can remember her sitting in the blue rocking chair reading, crying, praying and waiting on the Lord - she underlined so many scriptures and feel the love of the Lord when I read it - I have to be careful because the spine is not very stable!

Hope you are having a great week!

Nikki said...

love reading your heart, Cora. this tribute to your mother was pure beauty. What a treasure to leave behind for you! the only words that stand the test of time and every circumstance! To God be the glory!

Michele {A Life Surrendered} said...

What a very special thing to have... something of value to you because of your mama, as well as eternal value. Just beautiful... I still have my very first Bible and my mama gave it to me as well. I have so many other versions, but I always come back to my first.

You wrote this story beautifully...



Chris said...

Hi Cora, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

Lisa notes... said...

That's a beautiful story, Cora. I kept my childhood Bible for so many years. But how special yours is in that it was a gift from your mom.

Brian Miller said...

lovely trib to your mom...and you are right that we never know how little gifts or touches will echo on through out life...and moms are really good at that as well...smiles.

KathyB. said...

Such a simple gift, but a gift with a price beyond measure.What a precious memory, what a treasure.An old Bible , never really old or outdated though as His Word is for all and all times. Thank-you for this post and what it reminds me of, the precious Word of God that is there even when we try to forget.

Yesteryear Embroideries said...

What a priceless gift! Such a wonderful and heart warming story!

emily wierenga said...

i love that your mother shared with you the word both spiritually and physically... a beautiful thank-you to her, friend. e.

suzannah {so much shouting, so much laughter} said...

this is aching and sweet. what a legacy from your mama.

Lea said...

Oh Cora... what a GIFT you were given: THE Word. -- I can only imagine how you treasure that special book in your heart.
Thank you for sharing your Angel Mother with us. I look forward to meeting her one day.

Delisa said...

Hi Cora! I loved your story it really touched my heart. I experienced something similar. When I was a very little girl my grandmother would often read to me out of her Bible. We would cuddle together and she would tell me Bible stories. She taught me that "God was Love" and that "Jesus loved the little children". These thoughts sustained my young heart. She passed away when I was six and my Grandpa gave it to me. I cherish it always. Have a lovely evening! Delisa :)

Sue said...

Hi Cora,
A beautiful heart felt post you have written. And such a precious keepsake you have. Thank you for sharing.

I just found your comment on my blog tonight, Thank you for visiting me and for taking the time to leave me such a sweet note.

jhunnelle said...

Hi Cora thank you for the wonderful and encouraging words you left on my blog.

Love reading your story, what a precious and special bible you have,it's because, it was a gift from your mother. Oh yes, your post reminded me to give a bible to my daughter as a gift.

Happy Mother's day!

dsblanchard said...

Dear Cora,

I'm just getting caught up with my friends here in cyber-space. I can hardly believe that you use a Scofield Reference Bible. It is my first one and I still use it some 50 years later. I have moved theologically from some things in the comment section, but it is my Bible that "I know my way around". I SO get that.

I love that you have the Bible your mother gave you that has become your keepsake after her premature (God's timing is not always ours) departure from you.

Mama love this mother's day, Dear Friend,

Debra said...

Just stopping by again-to say thank you for praying for my back, and for being one of my best friends.
I love you. Debra

Judith C Evans said...

You post touched my heart. The most important connection we have with our mothers is through the heart...and your connection is obviously very strong and blessed. Beautiful post!

Crystal said...

I love this reflection on such a special gift and an even more important person. Thank you for visiting my blog today - please come again!