Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Mother's Homegoing

On Wednesday December 23 my mother went home to be with the Lord. This is a tribute that I wrote for her, detailing a little of what she meant to me.

Things I love about my mom:

She was fantastic at hide and seek, or at least the hide part. I had to do the seeking. Every time I got in trouble, she would hide my guitar. Then, I would have to spend the rest of the day trying to find out where it was hidden.

She was a classic over-reactor. If I didn't wear a coat outside at 60 degrees, I would get grounded. But . . . she was also a classic under-reactor. When I got suspended from school for fighting, I didn't get in any trouble at all.

She was a great motivator. When I was quizzing, if I didn't recite enough chapters of Scripture to her, I wasn't allowed to eat dinner. Alright, it wasn't quite that bad, but it was close.

She was a stickler for a clean house. I was allowed in the family room, but never the living room. If I stepped foot in the living room, she made me go back in and vacuum up my footprints.

I love that she was a strong Calvinist. I remember telling my Advanced Theology class in Seminary that I'm glad I married a Calvinist girl, because I think she would have disowned me if I didn't.

She knew her Bible better than almost anyone I’ve met. She caught me in a lie when I was young, and the next thing I know she is handing me a new Bible. In that Bible, every passage of Scripture about lying was highlighted. She did the same thing when we argued about whether drinking alcohol was a sin or not. When she found out I didn’t agree with her, she took my Bible and marked and underlined every passage having to do with the consumption of alcohol.

She was pretty funny. Last week, the last time I saw her at least somewhat alert, she was brushing her hair on the side of the bed. I reminded her of the time she smacked me in the mouth with a brush for talking back. She then proceeded to imitate the action one more time for me. Thankfully, my face was 7 feet away fro
m her brush.

She was better than any doctor. I would tell her my symptoms and she knew exactly what was wrong with me or my kids, because chances were that she had had the same issue at one point or another.

She cared about people. She never wanted to do anything that would harm them. She tried her best to think about other people's feelings over her own.

She loved her family. Over this last couple of years she worked hard at getting her father and her brother moved here, so that she could look after them better. Who knew it was going to be her that needed the looking after. She was always there for me. When a solo pastor has a medical procedure, there is no one to come with him and support him, but his wife. However, my mom would drive all the way up to Fort Wayne to sit with me, no matter how minor the problem.

She was the best grandmother in the world. When she first came out of her induced coma in October, she rattled off the weights of all five of my kids. These weights were from right before she got sick. She wanted an update right away. When she saw baby Sarah for the first time after she woke up, I was standing between them. Even though she couldn't talk yet, she waved frantically for me to get out of the way, so that she could see her better. She was always buying our children gifts, and spoiling them. She wouldn't even think twice about giving them ice cream or pickles for breakfast, if that was what they wanted.

She was greatly used by God. She suffered much in her life. The biggest suffering was the loss of her firstborn son. She took that grief though and she used it for good. She threw herself into helping others who also had sick kids or kids that had passed away. She volunteered for years at the Ronald McDonald house, trying to help families with terminally sick kids. She even wore a Ham-Burglar suit a couple of times for the sick kids. Can you imagine my mom in a Ham-Burglar suit? She also threw herself into the Candle-lighters group, which was a support group for families that had kids with cancer. She reached out to those who still had kids alive with cancer, even though her own had gone into the presence of the Lord. She also became part of the bereaved family support group, and reached out to families who had not only lost children to cancer, but also to car wrecks and even to SIDS. Not to mention the families from her church that she helped through similar situations. She was always using the pain in her life to help others. She was an embodiment of 2 Corinthians 1, channeling her experiences in order to bring comfort to others.

This list doesn't even begin to exhaust the things about my mom that I love, nor the great things that she has done for me and my family, nor does it adequately sum up the imprint that she left on this world and the people's lives in it. She is so much more than we can sum up in a half hour service. So . . . I just want to close with my mom's own words. They were words that she wrote to my wife after we miscarried our fifth child. She reminded us that time is the great healer, and there seems to be so little of it. My mom had a lot to live for: two kids, 8 grand-kids, a wonderful husband, and supportive church family. But . . . she also has a lot to die for. She has a son to get reacquainted with, a grandchild to meet, a Savior to heal her, and a mansion to decorate.

Good bye Mom. See you again. Aaron

Friday, December 18, 2009

Consequenes of Losing the Amazing Race

I can't believe I lost! Like the proverbial Cub's fan, I guess there is always next year. You see, I live in a very competitive household. It is not enough for us to just watch the Amazing Race, we have to raise the stakes a little bit. Each of us chooses a team to root for. If our team wins the race, they get to choose a restaurant for us to eat at. I usually root for my own team, but more than that, I root against my younger kids' teams. They will choose Chuck E. Cheese every time. While I like the mouse, I hate his pizza! Call me a pizza snob, but its disgusting. To borrow a line from Kevin Malone, "It is a hot circle of garbage."

This year I didn't win, but thankfully none of the Chuck E Cheesers won either. Somehow, baby Sarah was allowed to choose a team halfway through the season, and conveniently Shannon was allowed to choose the restaurant, since the baby can't talk yet. So, we ended up eating at the Olive Garden. Not a fan of the pasta, but I would rather eat pasta off the floor, than eat the Mouse's p
izza. Next year I will just have to pick a better team. You're globetrotters guys! Come on!!

Family is important. Find as many creative ways as you can to spend time with them! They are always our number one mission field! You got any cool ideas, throw them my way!

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Tiger Woes

Is anyone else just severely disappointed in Tiger? Despite all my theological knowledge on the depravity of man and my lack of faith in the moral quality of athletes in general, this news still caught me by surprise.

I have been a golf fan for 10 years and a Tiger fan for the same amount of time. I really believed the hype of his image. I believed that he was a family man. I believed that he had a hard work ethic. I even pictured him in my mind practicing his swing from morning until night.

My heart's desire (as far as golf is concerned) was for Tiger to smash every single one of Jack's records. Now I find myself wondering who to root for. I once tried to root for David Toms, because I didn't want to be part of the "everyone loves Tiger" crowd. That lasted for about a minute. I don't know about you, but I just can't choose who I root for. I just root for the person my brain tells me to root for.

Why do we put so much faith in people that we know are driven by a fallen nature? In college I really respected one of my professors who was also my pastor at the time, only to have him fall into sin with the youth director! How can you expect the best of someone, but at the same time be prepared for the worst. That has been my motto for many years, but I always seem to just default to expecting the best, and I am still not prepared for the worst. I don't think the answer is to just expect the worst either. What do you think? And who am I supposed to root for now!?