My heart is overflowing with the remembrance of mothers. Yes, I have more than one; I am more than one as I am a grandmother as well.
My biological mother died in 1987. I was 40 years old filled with grief and loss. I remember just before her funeral I fled behind my parent’s garage and wept. Tears were streaming down my face and I was ashamed to allow anyone to notice. I wasn’t even sure I could pull myself together to attend her funeral. The tears weren’t just about her absence from my life but the reality that she did not know me. I had kept so much of my heart from her afraid that if she knew my secrets she would reject me. I felt very much alone. I had denied myself the comfort and love that she could have provided for me. Now it was too late.
My second mother is Sandy Burns. She is the one who lead me to the Lord back in 1976. She is exactly 10 years older than me and both my mothers were born on July 1st. Sandy is the one I refer to as my spiritual mother because she mentored me, introduced me to Bible Study (something I had never heard of) and she filled the emptiness in my heart with her prayers and love of Jesus Christ. Sandy is the one who knew about my drinking, my foul language and eventually my eating disorder. She is the one who passed no judgment when I showed up at Bible Study in short shorts with no bra. One of her friends told her, “If you can lead Mary Jane to the Lord, you will have a ‘live one’”. Yet it is all because of her that I know Jesus.
Little did I know that this was the beginning of my own journey as a mother. I was a “live one” all right and I began to introduce my two children to Jesus. Both my children came to know the Lord as I prayed with them to receive Him: Jeff at age 8 after a birthday party for Jesus and Jenny at age 6. Jeff had been telling Jenny that she needed to receive Christ so she would go to heaven instead of hell. Her fear of hell is what prompted her…it wasn’t until she was older that she recognized the blessing of knowing Him.
Today I am a grandmother of 6. What began in 1976 has coursed through the lives of my two children and now into the lives of their own. What a blessing that is for me! All six of my grandchildren know Jesus.
Jack, the oldest now at 16, the first to make a public profession of faith at age 11. His father and youth pastor baptized him in Lake Michigan in front of a small crowd of witnesses. I’ll never forget Jack’s answer when asked why he wanted to be baptized. He said, “I want to follow God.” This was such a tender moment that brought me to tears. My heart was filled with gratitude.
Faith, the youngest is 9, was the last of the 6 to received Christ. She was 7 years old. Her motivation was not much different than her mother’s. She had heard a message about hell and she wanted to know how to avoid it. Jenny pulled the car over into a parking lot and explained to her that knowing Jesus was the answer. She wanted to know Him and Jenny lead her to the Lord right then and there. Faith eyes flooded with tears of relief because now she had the assurance of Heaven. Immediately, Faith wanted Jenny to call her Mimi and Pa and tell us what she had done. She wasn’t able to talk through her tears but we got the message and rejoiced with those angles in heaven.
So today my heart’s remembrance is for my two mothers. I needed them both for life. My mother’s heart is grateful for the privilege of introducing my children to Christ. And now another generation of Christ followers has been birthed in my grandchildren. I love that! My prayers have been answered over the years. My grandmother’s eye is still on them…my grandmother’s heart is still for them…this grandmother wonders what the future will hold, even so, I know our futures will one day be all together with Jesus.
Mary Jane Hamilton has grown to love her sense of style and her peaceful lake living. Mother of 2 and grandmother of 6, she has a wonderful capacity to love and is still active as The Tooth Fairy. She is extremely fond of her dachshunds, who rarely venture from her lap, and enjoys biking with her husband of 44 years. She is rekindling her writing skills and finding it life giving.