Meditation on a Mother’s Day Without Noël

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Founder & Teacher,

On Mother’s Day Noël was in Wheaton, Illinois at her 20th class reunion. So I played single parent for two and a half days. Since she wasn’t around to hear me say nice things about her on Sunday I thought I would go public again.

Where shall I begin? I missed her at the door after the morning services. One of you said “That’s a pretty big hole there beside you.” That’s true. Bigger than any of you know. Noël’s standing beside me on Sunday morning is symbolic of an unwavering support in the ministry.

For example, she guards me again and again. She knows how to make a sandwich for a street person who rings the doorbell. She teaches the boys when they may interrupt and when not. She absorbs phone calls and ministers as well as I could to who knows how many needs.

She eases my mind about the boys, caring for them on every hand. There she goes hauling one to a soccer practice. There she is guiding the hand of another to make his “Y’s” frontward and not backward. There she is reading a missionary biography to all four. I watch with a heart full of thanks to God that Noël is willing to pour so much of her life into the making of four young men.

And she virtually never complains. Not about my schedule, or about the demands of the ministry—in season and out of season, or about my disappearance on Friday and Saturday as I work on the sermon, or about late night board meetings, or about “fried” Sunday afternoons or about moody Mondays. She just is not a complainer. Never once have I felt the least whiff of desire from her that I not be a pastor.

Instead she is an adventurer. She went to Africa and the Philippines with me (and would have stayed too, if the Lord said, Stay!). Now she is going off to Guatemala. That must be because I am going to Lausanne II in Manila and she is not invited. So to get it out of her system in this biennium she goes to Central America. I love this about her.

She puts on no airs. One time we invited the president of Bethel College over for Sunday dinner and she served him and his wife on paper plates. We informed him that this was a sign of friendship and a way of keeping the Sabbath holy after dinner.

She has no hidden agenda. What she says is what she is. I know this now after twenty years of doubting this was really possible. She holds no grudges and has an amazing gift for forgetting offenses. Even before the sun goes down. Which may be why she goes to sleep in about two minutes. Her mind expends no energy bemoaning mistakes or fretting about tomorrow. “Sufficient unto the day…”

I missed her today. The covenant between us is very deep. Abraham was writing something for her. He came to me and said, “Is there a verse about Moms?” I said, “Yes. Why don’t you use this one: 'Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her'" (Proverbs 31:28).

Praising God for a missing mom,

Pastor John