I don’t remember the first time I met my mother. Being her third-born child I was very young at the time. Paul and Allegra, my father and mother, live in Lagrange, Ohio. My mom celebrates her 86th birthday this week. Happy birthday, Mom.
My parents both love the Lord and have served him throughout my entire life. God has directed them into a special season of life presently where after 64 years of marriage they are not able to live together. After a stroke, my mom needs the special care that a nursing facility provides while my dad lives nearby in a small apartment connected to my brother’s house. They are together every day as Dad faithfully visits and cares for Mom. It is a genuine joy to watch these precious senior saints grow in their hope, faith, and love as they have faced unexpected challenges and changes over the past few years.
My mom and dad continue to impact their world and leave an enduring legacy, even though their lives at this point are radically different than what they had planned, hoped for, and expected. They set a pace for our family when it comes to serving the Lord with joy and perseverance.
Mom presently leads a Bible study with an eclectic group of residents in the nursing home where she lives. She is unable to walk and still struggles with using one arm. She gets in trouble with the staff and Dad for breaking the rules once in a while, but she never has been much of a conformist and doing some things in those motorized wheel chairs are too hard to resist. Her father died when she was 6 years old. She knows what hard work, love and serving are all about as her mom had to go to work and she helped raise her three younger sisters. A few weeks ago when Sue and I were there visiting, Mom wasn’t feeling real well but went ahead and led her study. Sue got to sit in and help. That was a blessing to see Mom pouring the gospel into others even when admittedly she would rather be someplace else.
One of my most vivid memories as a young child is at a church meeting when the church body was commissioning and sending a family to some part of the world as missionaries. The couple being sent was kneeling at the front surrounded by a bunch of men in suits while Mom was standing behind the pulpit singing the song “So Send I You.” I don’t have to Google it to remember the line and Mom’s soprano voice when she sang, “so send I you to labor unrewarded, to serve unpaid, unloved, unsought, unknown…” I did, however, have to Google to get all the words to this great gospel song. Here they are Mom; you and Dad are living these truths today:
So send I you to labor unrewarded,
To serve unpaid, unloved, unsought, unknown,
To bear rebuke, to suffer scorn and scoffing-
So send I you to toil for Me alone.
So send I you to bind the bruised and broken,
O’er wand’ring souls to work, to weep, to wake,
To bear the burdens of a world aweary-
So send I you to suffer for My sake.
So send I you to loneliness and longing,
With heart ahung’ring for the loved and known,
Forsaking home and kindred, friend and dear one-
So send I you to know My love alone.
So send I you to leave your life’s ambition,
To die to dear desire, self-will resign,
To labor long, and love where men revile you-
So send I you to lose your life in Mine.
So send I you to hearts made hard by hatred,
To eyes made blind because they will not see,
To spend, tho’ it be blood, to spend and spare not-
So send I you to taste of Calvary.
Happy birthday, Mom! Keep singing and serving. Yes, I know it looks like I’m getting out of buying you a card, but deal with it. By the way, we are having a special missions emphasis here at KSBC the first 2 weeks of October and we are getting close to sending a family from here to somewhere as missionaries. It would be really cool if you could come and sing your song! Please pray for us.