“Lord, I just want to thank you for my mama. I’ve been the cause of so many of her tears. She weeps in times of sorrow, and there are tears in times of joy. How can my cries always reach my mama’s ears?
“Lord, I just want to thank you for my mama. Her labors of love have so often been for me; a warm blanket tucked up under my chin and lacing shoes that I couldn’t tie. Her love for me never let her labor cease.
“Lord, I just want to thank you for my mama and for the times she’s spent before You on her knees. Of all of the places she could choose, there is no better place to be. May she always love You much more than she loves me.
“Even though she’s changing and bears the marks of aging, I can’t help but notice in her eyes; there’s such a joy in living and such a grace in giving. I know she’s pressing toward a prize. Oh, Lord, I just want to thank you for my mama.”
I wrote those words, and the tune to go with them to sing as a special Mother’s Day song at church in 1992. I sang it as a duet with a lady in our church. In 1993, I recorded the song, along with seven other family-themed original songs on a project titled, “In the Family Way.” On the recording, I sang it as a duet with my 5-year-old daughter. In a couple of weeks, that little girl will be 25. I still love to hear that recording, and I still enjoy singing the song on occasion.
I’m still thankful for my mama, and today is her 78th birthday. I’m going to call her in a little while. The card was mailed a few days ago, so hopefully she will get it today. As my own kids have grown up, I have come to understand better some of the things Mom has been telling me for years. I’m 51 years old, 6′ 2″ and 220(ish) pounds. In her eyes, I am still, and always will be, her little boy. I’m still the cause of a lot of her tears, both sad and happy. And she has enough of them to go around for all three of her kids, all six of her grandkids, and anyone else who needs some.
There’s a line in that song that can’t be understood without some context: “I know she’s pressing toward a prize.” Philippians 3:13-14 says, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
The best gift a mama can give is not to give her best to her children, but to let them see her give her best to the Lord.
Thanks, Mom. Happy birthday.
Dr. Gerry Lewis is director of missions for the Harvest Baptist Association, which is headquartered in Decatur. He writes a blog at www.lifematterstoday.blogspot.com.