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Saturday, May 10, 2014

When Mama Prayed

 It's an incredible load for one person to carry.

1 John 5:14

New International Version (NIV)
14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

 Had a guy tell me a story one time about his mother.
It seems that in his early years of trying to figure out what to do with his life he came back home and ended up working in the family business. His dad could be a little rough and gruff. Sometimes they didn't see eye to eye on how things needed to be done. One day he and his dad got into it at the place of business and the boy had enough. He headed for the house, the place that he and wife now call home, and began to pack his bags. The end had come and he could take no more.

In the midst of packing his bags, his mother came to speak to him and asked what exactly he was doing. He told his mother that he had enough and was going to leave. Without saying much in return his mother left and continued to pack. As he got ready to head out the door his father entered. "Where you going?", his father asked gruffly. The boy said he was moving out and that was that. His father changed his tone a bit and calmed his boy down. After admitting that he had probably jumped to conclusions and spoke to harshly, he asked his boy to unpack and stay. Life would return to normal in this house. All would be right in the world once again.

Maybe you noticed something in this story. I said at the beginning that this story was about the guy's mother. However, I spent most of the time speaking about the boy and his father. Where was the mother, exactly? It is with this beginning that we will truly understand the role of a mother in our lives.

There is no other person on this earth that understands us quite like this special person we call mother. Even if you did not have a great relationship with your earthly, biological mother, I'm willing to be that there was some woman out there who took you under their wing and cared for you. She wiped your tears, patched you with band-aids, gave you a Popsicle, took you to the pool or the library, cleaned up after your messes, made sure all your clothes fit, made sure your belly was full, made sure you had on clean underwear, made sure you got to bed on time or sat up waiting for you to get home. The list here is truly endless and does not do justice to what this special lady means to our lives. Someone who is referred to as mother does all these thing because of one singular attribute.

Love.

What is special about the word love? Man, it is the one thing all of want and at times have the hardest time finding it. Then we realize that there is this person who always has our back, always will listen to us, always will carry our burdens, because she cares beyond the limits of any other human being on this earth. What is it about the title of Mother that makes a person jump to the word love?

Well, I had to take a careful look at both words and put them side by side for a bit of a comparison.
I have to say, the dictionary does not do justice to the word. The third line of definition was the only line I cared to reproduce here.

Definition of MOTHER

3:  maternal tenderness or affection

If a mother is thought of as equal with the word love then I wonder if maybe we are putting too much on this woman who feels as if the whole world is resting on her shoulders. Look at the word love with me and see all that we think goes into that attribute.

Definition of LOVE

1a (1) :  strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties <maternal love for a child> (2) :  attraction based on sexual desire :  affection and tenderness felt by lovers  
(3) :  affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests <love for his old schoolmates>
 b :  an assurance of affection <give her my love>
2:  warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion <love of the sea>
3a :  the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration <baseball was his first love>
  b (1) :  a beloved person :  darling —often used as a term of endearment
(2) British —used as an informal term of address
4a :  unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another
 
Whether it's intended directly or indirectly, a woman is asked to carry this whole load. She is asked to love and care for and give affection, and I can't help but wonder if it's all too much weight to carry. How can one person envelope all of this? It's true that our mother is just a human being, like any other human being on this earth. She will falter and fail at times. She will forget or misinterpret at times. Who fault is it? Ours, for putting to much on her? Or, hers for trying to carry to heavy a load? The objective is not assign blame, but to love her the way she loves us. Unconditionally. Unselfishly. This woman goes through pains no one could imagine just to allow this life, this child, to enter the world and then feels the pains all through this life watching the child grow and make errors in judgment and never asking for directions or help. It's all heavy with "attachment, devotion and admiration". You are her first love.

Love leads into another special attribute - prayer.
What happens when a mother prays? Carol Trimmer knows the answer to that question.
As the mother of an autistic child she has watched as her son has struggled with the basic emotions and feelings that any socially adjusted person should exhibit. She has seen his at her boy at his best and at his worst. Justin likes music, swimming, plays baseball. He is bright and excels in most of his school work. But, a brain disorder has left him in a place where, at times, he can be alot to handle. Sometimes, Justin can be hard to be around. 

At the time Carol would write the article for Guidepost magazine recalling her amazing answer to prayer. Justin was 11 years old. As the school bus pulls up to home on this day, she wonders if he has had a good day or a bad one. There is a commotion on the buss as the doors open and Justin huffs it up the sidewalk and into the house. It was very easy for other kids at school to only see his differences. Social interaction was not something that came easy for him.

Three years earlier, Justin began at the school where he attended. His mother had been praying for a friend. Just one friend. Someone who could love him and accept him unconditionally. But, finding someone who could handle Justin with his emotional outbursts was an unimaginable task. If he struck out in baseball, he threw a fit. At recess, he was either picked on or ignored. Just one friend. That was all she was asking. In Carol's own words, "The worst thing about his autism was how it isolated him. A friend wasn’t just what I wanted for Justin. It was what he needed."
 
She prayed, "Lord, please, I prayed, let there be someone else who understands my boy." 
 
As a Dublin, OH resident, they were frequenters of the Columbus Zoo.
With a family membership and a lifelong love for animals, they would bring squishy toys and other items to attract their attention as Justin walked around amazed by his surrounding. After an entrance into the house on this hapless day, a trip to the zoo was just what they needed to calm her son down. Still mad about his day, Justin did not immediately change his tune once he realized they were going to the zoo. He hollered and yelled as they entered the gate that afternoon.
With his keen mind for remembering facts, Justin would act like a tour guide at times, reciting all the things he knew about the animals and their surroundings. On this day, however, Justin could not be consoled. Carol would take him to one of his favorite spots. The silverback gorilla's house. With many other kids around and lots of camera flashes going off, Justin would approach the glass and see a silverback known as Mumbah. The patriarch died in May of 2012 at the age of 47. Before he left this earth he would connect with a little boy in a special way only God could have orchestrated.

Mumbah was laying on his side, facing away from the glass. Justin stood there watching him. With all the rejection he had faced at school and with all the people around this day, Carol wondered if they should just go home. Then, Justin suddenly spoke to the gorilla. “This boy at school hit me, Mumbah,” he said. “He kicked me. I wish you had been there to protect me.” What happened next, no one could have predicted. Mumbah got up, came over to the glass, and locked eyes with Justin. Could he have heard the boy through the thick glass? Was there some way he understood what Justin was going through?

In an instant, Justin's shoulders relaxed. His stress left him and the world was calm again. Mumbah ignored the camera flashes and the other kids annoyingly tapping on the glass to get his attention. The only thing that mattered at that moment was Justin. A gorilla in an enclosed habitat and a boy enclosed in his autistic world connected in a moment of special fulfillment. From that point on, every time they would visit the zoo, Mumbah would come over, sit down by glass and focus on Justin. Carol would take a picture, take it home, pasting it on construction paper, having it laminated. Justin's therapists would say how this animal had become a point of serenity and peace for the boy. His mother knew better. Her prayers had been answered.

There is nobody in this world who could quietly stand behind the scenes and lift us up, in her love and prayers, quite like our mothers can. Whether you grow up, close to your family surroundings, close to the town and world you attached too, or whether you are detached from you world because of issues outside your control. There is one person who keeps us grounded and stable.

She loves us. She prays for us. She does it all. For us.

If Jesus takes the whole world upon his shoulders, at the cross, to save us from our sins, then there is only one person who has a chance at all to come close to understanding what carrying that load is like. We call her Mother. Mama. Grandma, GiGi. Grams. Mommaw. Aunt. Wife. Mother.

It is an incredible load for one person to carry. God must have known she could handle it.
Blessings to the special lady who does it all.

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