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November 12, 2008

You’ve always been right there for me;
don’t turn your back on me now.
Don’t throw me out, don’t abandon me;
you’ve always kept the door open.
My father and mother walked out and left me,
but God took me in.

-Psalm 27, The Message

Every day I find an excuse to go and talk to her. Smiling, I knock on the door to her classroom and ask if I can come in. Every day she says yes.

“How are you, Darlin’?” she asks occasionally – and my heart tightens sharply at the casual term of endearment.

I tell her how I am doing. I mention the books I am reading. I discuss my plans for next year – does she think I am better at teaching History or Language Arts?

I am funny as I sit in the small wooden chair with its thin cushion – all my charm is on display and I am smart and interesting as I make jokes. She laughs.

Does she really think I am funny, I wonder? Is it o-kay that I come and talk to her so much? Does my awkwardness show as I get up to leave her room, thanking her again for listening?

Is it obvious how much I still need a mother, even at thirty-one?

I hope not. And I hope so.

This Thanksgiving will be another without my own mother in attendance. I am glad in most ways – I do not miss the chaos and pain that marked every single holiday of my childhood and early adult years. But sometimes I yearn for a mother around my table.

I am already making a shopping list for the big meal. My grandmother, my in-laws, and some really good friends are coming over. When I wrote out the guest list, I teared up. My cup runs over – God has given me so many rich relationships in my life.

But there is still a hunger, on Thanksgiving and every other day, that pushes me to eagerly seek out a mother in my own life. Someone who thinks I am funny and thinks I am doing an amazing job at preparing Thanksgiving for thirteen people. Someone who is always glad to talk to me – always glad to see me.

I know – I know – that the person who is always glad to see me and talk to me is my Jesus…The one who walked me through the loss of my mom…whose Presence comforted me in the middle of the night when I did not know how to breathe because the pain was so consuming.

He is still with me every day when I knock on the door and ask my friend, “Can I come in and talk for a little bit?” And though I eagerly seek conversation from a woman who barely knows me, ultimately my deepest needs and longings are now met through Him.

That’s the amazing thing about walking through the valley with Christ. You eventually emerge healed and clutching His hand – because you now realize He is the only thing that matters. You may never get the thing you want – the thing you want so, so badly – but you begin to learn that He is the only thing worth wanting.

I’ll remember that as I sit making jokes tomorrow, trying again to be desperately delightful. Regardless of how I am loved by anyone on this earth, I will continue to hold tightly to the One who has always loved me.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. November 12, 2008 8:18 am

    beautiful, just beautiful.

  2. November 12, 2008 9:08 am

    Dear Jess … one of the ways I KNOW that Jesus has proven that He’s right there for me is because He knew I needed someone (or many someone’s over the course of a lifetime) to fill a human void in my own heart. I too know that only Jesus can really fill, but my heart ached for family that loved beyond measure and without chaos. Here’s a link to a post about a few of the women that God provided for me over the course of the past 27 years (I’m 41 now) … I would encourage you to be honest with yourself about the woman that God has planted you near … embrace the impact she can have on your heart and life … believe that she is someone that a Sovereign God lovingly provided for you. Titus 2 is just for women like us who need a mentor to come alongside … and don’t underestimate the role you will play in her life either.

    Be blessed. I’m impressed that at 31 you are providing Thanksgiving for 13 people … I will be praying that the Lord will show you tangible ways in which He’s proud of you too!

  3. November 12, 2008 9:18 am

    I have a mother too that I wish was around my table. But, I just cannot do it. I can’t endure the pain that comes with her presence. But, then there is pain without her presence too. Thanks for writing so candidly. I appreciate it.

  4. November 12, 2008 1:19 pm

    I feel this exact way! I want my mama!!!! Only, I don’t want MY mama, I want a normal mama, who will love me and understand me, and build me up and care about me, and love my children (her grandchildren). I desparately desire this, Jess! But God has told me no, and no, and no.

    I feel your pain, sweet sister in Christ.

    Did you have a chance to see my article in P31, November? We are soul-sisters .

  5. November 12, 2008 1:55 pm

    Wow! After reading this several times to let it sink in and being amazed at how much you have grown in the last few post in your vulnerability and how God is using you so much I can’t help but say Thank you, Jess for allowing God to use you and for being willing to be used by God. Through your openness and honesty and healing you are also helping so many of us to also grow in God. I spent most of my life wanting my mother’s love and attention. She died four years ago and I feel I never got it. But since then God has allowed me to see many things in this. He has allowed me to see the Christian women He did provide in my life along the way to guide me and show me certain things. He also has allowed me to see no one can provide enough to fill any hole except Him but my flesh will still hunger for a tangible body on earth and this is where I must strive to go beyond my desires of my flesh. I will fail but He will be there. He won’t leave. He won’t ever abandon you. He will provide what you need in some way at some time even if you don’t recognize it at the moment.

  6. November 12, 2008 2:48 pm


  7. November 12, 2008 2:54 pm

    Sometimes I don’t leave comments because I think you must get tired of me saying, “So beautiful, Jess. You have a gift for writing and your heart for Jesus touches me every single time.” I think it every single time even if Idon’t leave a comment.

    Reading through the people who DID leave comments, I was surprised and saddened at how many can relate all too well to you. But I’m praying today you find some comfort in it. And I’m rejoicing that your children will have such a different story. With shoes or without. 😉

  8. November 12, 2008 4:13 pm

    Jess, I just recently found you.. Beautiful stuff here. Today’s post was especially beautiful.. I lost a baby boy (he was 6 1/2 months old) 1 month ago today and am walking this valley with Jesus.. Thanks for being a source of human comfort as well.

  9. Joy F. permalink
    November 12, 2008 6:47 pm

    Loss is about the only constant in this life, but that doesn’t make it easier to bear. I am constantly amazed at how whole you are despite the loss you have experienced in your life. Thanks for your transparency, my friend. I haven’t lost my mom, but she is so far away, literally and in other ways, that I understand the longing there too. Mrs. D was a bit like a mom to me last year; I miss having her across the hall from me. Thanks again, Jess.

  10. November 12, 2008 9:23 pm

    Awwk. This cracks a wall that I forget I even have up, Jess. I should probably go back and read the sentences again, slowly this time, but they began hurting and I began speed reading.
    I do this. I know this. I just never read it before.
    I’m going to put my head in a pillow. Or in my bullmastiff. I’ll talk to Jesus about it, too. But right now, I’m a little frozen.
    Thanks…I think.
    Love you

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