Motherhood: Ministry of presence - Word&Way

Motherhood: Ministry of presence

Mother’s Day takes on special significance for me and my family this year. It is the first anniversary of a personal family crisis. As it has turned out 12 months later, we are left with a wonderful Mother’s Day testimony.

Bill Webb

A freakish single-bicycle accident left me face down on the pavement near our home, bleeding and unconscious. My wife, Susan, who was riding just ahead of me, realized I was down, ran to me and resuscitated me, prompting a gasp for air and regular breathing. She and I believe she literally saved my life.

Facial surgical repairs, a couple of months of rehabilitation for a head injury and lots of rest have done the trick. I owe a lot of people a debt of gratitude for their part in my recovery, but none more than the mother of my adult sons. At the moment of crisis, she might have become hysterical and emotionally unable to render life-saving care.

Instead, she maintained her composure and did exactly what was needed. She continued that for months, not only looking after me but providing for overnight houseguests who came to visit from out of town, including feeding and sometimes entertaining them. She was my driver and did tasks normally assigned to me. She was amazing.

This year, Mother’s Day is on May 12; last year May 12 was a Saturday. Because of my crash, Susan spent Mother’s Day at my side in trauma care at the University of Missouri Health Center in Columbia. May 13 was not much of a Mother’s Day for her.

What helped me most last year, especially in the early days of injury, was my wife’s presence. She was my bedside calming influence and my advocate as a trauma team made decisions about my care. I needed her.

I know a lot of moms, including my wife, mother, daughter-in-law, other relatives and friends. I believe that the best mothers have two characteristics. First, they are women of faith. Second, each makes a strong contribution to their children and spouse as a person who can be counted on to be there for those they love.

What Susan did on that little downhill stretch of Sharon Drive nearly a year ago was just an extension of the way she has conducted herself for all the years I have known her.

On most days, she has been the person who has greeted other family members in the morning. Such moms fret over the rest of the family. They make sure everyone else’s day is off to a good start. They make sure they know where each family member is.

Some of us male spouses have painful memories of having missed some important events in the lives of our children. I realize that sometimes happens to mothers, too. In most cases, moms seem better at this than dads. They care enough to be the first to notice when children are troubled, anxious or hurt. It goes with this desire to be an ever-present support for their children — for their entire family.

In most families, it seems the mom is the one in charge of bandages small and large, ointments and first-aid kits. Moms know where to find those items and they know what to do with the contents under certain situations.

Those of us who grew up as kids in Christian homes draw a parallel between good moms and the Holy Spirit. God’s spirit is ever-present in our lives. He knows our thoughts, understands our temptations, knows when we need extra care and support, has our best interests at heart.

The best moms are extensions of God on earth. My mother was a mind-reader, and so are most. Good moms care so much that they anticipate times of challenge in our lives. They recognize when we struggle with temptation. They know when we need an encouraging word. They not only know when a corrective word is in order, but they love so much that they do not hesitate to express that correction.

One of the most astounding things about exemplary mothers is that they are made, not born that way. They aspire to be the best they can be, and they strive to do and be their best. They know how important it is that they excel in outstanding motherhood.

Such an investment in the lives of others means they will sometimes find their hearts broken. The best are forgiving when they need to be. They are mothers of the second chance. Usually, they receive the blessing of their hard work. These children grow up being responsible parents themselves. They, in turn, impact our grandchildren. The effect is not so much a trickle-down affair as it is a matter of imitating godly behavior to reproduce godly results in succeeding generations.

Many of us can give thanks to God for the presence of a loving mother in our lives and treat her accordingly.