Mother’s Day was Sunday, and I request that you let me get a little sentimental here. This time last year, my mom was in the last days of her life. As you might expect, I am thinking about her this year because it is my first Mother’s Day without her. I want to share with you some of my earliest memories.

My mom started working on me early. She wanted me to read, so from the beginning, she read to me—a lot. I can transport myself back to age four and hear her read Bible stories. Another favorite of mine was Dr. Seuss. Of course, she wanted me to be able to count. To teach me to count to 100, she used the piano that her family had when she was a child and our church hymn book. 

When I was five, my friend Mark Cook came over to visit. Mom helped us string straps through grocery sacks. She then showed us how to pull pages from the Sears and Roebuck catalog, fold them, and put them in our pouches. All this was for us to go around the neighborhood pretending to be mail carriers. Mark and I had a blast putting those catalog pages in people’s mailboxes. That’s right. My mom aided and abetted us in committing a federal crime. (I hope the statute of limitations has expired!)

When I was five and fascinated with Santa Claus, Mom took one of her more formal suit coats, red in color, and sewed cotton onto the bottom of the sleeves. The result was a beautiful coat for me to wear and pretend I was Santa Claus.

Following that, when I was six or seven, I applied for a summer job at the North Pole. Don’t laugh. Santa Claus replied with a gracious letter informing me that he only hired elves, not boys. I kept that letter from Santa and have it stashed away today.   

When I was seven, some older boys and I built a raft out of discarded wood left over from the new houses built in our neighborhood. Our boat floated on the creek beside our home, but we knew we could improve it. So we tore planks off the vessel and laid them on the bank. I slipped and placed my hand down on what I thought was the mud to break my fall. Instead, it was a board with two long nails sticking out. Those two nails passed entirely through my hand. I was calm until the boys started panicking. Then I panicked and started crying. They escorted me to our house and hearing the commotion, Mom came outside. The boys shouted, “Mrs. Edge, two nails went through Mark’s hand!” Unruffled, Mom looked at my hand and said, “Yep, they sure did. Let’s wrap it up and stop the bleeding, and then we’ll go see Dr. Murley.” She calmed me down, and I knew everything would be all right. 

My mother attended almost all my ball games throughout my boyhood and teenage years. Skipping on to my senior year in high school, she hosted a party for my entire senior class, all 100 classmates, and our teachers and coaches. That was my dad’s idea. However, a couple of years later, when I was working as a counselor at a church camp, I asked her if we could host 35 fellow counselors for an entire weekend when the camp was out of session. She hospitably agreed. I still have a video of those thirty-five college kids in our living room angelically singing devotional songs on that Saturday night.

When it came time for me to do foreign mission work, she let me go without complaining or making me feel guilty. She even paid her way to visit Judy and me in Argentina three times.

When we returned, Mom left her friends and a beautiful house in Tyler to move to the cities where my family lived. She was always happy to babysit, and my children grew up spending many precious hours with their “Noni.”

Mom died last June, just a few months short of her 90th birthday. We had almost lost her a few times before, so we were, in the end, grateful that she lived more years than we had once expected. At her funeral, I shared one last memory with those who came to remember her and give her family support. 

When I was five or six, my mom would read to me from a Bible storybook I had won for bringing the most visitors to Vacation Bible School. It was a beautiful book (we still have it and we read from it to all of our children) filled with several hundred pages of stories and beautiful illustrations. 

My favorite story was “John on the Isle of Patmos.” It told the story of the Apostle John on the Island of Patmos, living a lonely life in exile. Then, his friend Jesus came to visit him in a vision. The story is a summary of the Book of Revelation told from a child’s perspective. The account ends with John seeing such a beautiful visualization of heaven that he yearns to be there with Jesus. Like the Book of Revelation, the story ends with Jesus saying, “Surely, I come quickly.”

 And John prays these words, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”

At many bedtimes, I would ask my mother to read that story. Some nights, I would fall asleep listening to her voice. That is not a mournful memory for me but a sweet one. Mom’s ministry to me provided a great source for my faith today.

I hope you have gratitude and fond memories of your mother. If not, let me share my mom with you.

Buy Mark’s new book Holy Chaos How To Walk with God in a Frenzied World here: