It’s hard to believe she’s been gone forty-seven years. My Mom was only 49 when she was taken from us. A day never passes that I don’t think of her. I miss her every day. I’m so glad, as a twenty-year old, that I stayed home that night before. She wanted me to watch Don Knotts with her on TV in “The Shakiest Gun in the West.” Just after lunch the next day, I was called into the office at work for an emergency phone call. My Dad told me to come home.
My Mom didn’t dress-up much or go out for dinner or shop in expensive stores. She only drove to the store and back or to take us to school. She never was a “room mother” for any of the school classes of my big brother, my little sister, or me. She never ran for an office or position and didn’t attend the P.T.A. But my Mom did some things I’ll never forget …
My Mom told me about Jesus. She worked in the nursery at church every Sunday morning and she would sit me on her knee as she told whoever might listen about Jesus and the price He paid for our sins. She was never one to get up in front of people and speak into a microphone, but she was unafraid to witness to me about the love of God.
She had been saved earlier, but I remember sitting in the church service on a Sunday night when my Mom and my big brother were both baptized together by mode of sprinkling. Though I didn’t understand what it meant, I knew it had something to do with Jesus because I knew my Mom loved Him so much.
My Mom taught me about faith. Though she fought cancer for years, she never gave up on her faith. I remember the night when something was not right and I heard her ask my Dad to call his Dad, my grandfather, on the phone. Rev. R.C. Goddard was a retired circuit-rider preacher. Some thirty minutes later, I heard the rumble of his old black Ford pickup truck with the wooden front bumper. It was late in the night but I remember, as a kid, standing there in the dark as my granddad laid his hands on my Mom and prayed the glory down! She believed in the power of prayer and she passed that belief on to me.
They did brain surgery to remove a tumor and said that should my Mom survive, she would never walk again. I was away from church and from God at the time, but I still looked out that window of St. Joseph Hospital, a few stories above Atlanta, and as the rain fell, I prayed. I confessed to the Lord that I didn’t deserve anything from Him but I sure wanted Him to touch my Mom. He answered someone’s prayers. She not only survived the surgery and walked, but she drove her car for three years until her sudden death.
My Mom believed in me. In those days I wanted to be a cartoonist. She cheered for me, admiring every piece of artwork that I showed her. Attending night classes after work at Atlanta Professional Academy of Commercial Art, I would drive from my workplace near downtown Atlanta to visit her at the hospital where she had surgery. She always encouraged me that I could do anything I wanted to do and be whatever I wanted to be.
A day or so after she had passed away, I thumbed through the burgundy Bible that she kept by her recliner. I found many Scriptures underlined in her red Bic pen. One that jumped out to me was Romans 8:18, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.” Though my Mom suffered for several years as she battled cancer, I know that her suffering never even began to compare with the glory she is experiencing right now on the other side. Happy Mother’s Day to my Mom in heaven and to all the other Moms still with us.
Rev. Danny Goddard is senior pastor of New Castle First Church of the Nazarene.