It was a ‘lightbulb moment’ for me a couple of weeks ago on my drive through beautiful farm country. My mind was drifting to some of the vacation plans we have been making. We are looking forward to reuniting with family and friends on the East Coast of Canada. I haven’t visited in person with my mother-in-law for almost two years. When you’re climbing in age (both of us…LOL), that’s not good! We chat on the phone frequently, but we are both looking forward to some time in the same space where we can take a trip down memory lane over old books, handcrafts and family stories.
The ‘lightbulb’ came on when I was thinking about how long I have known her. We met in the spring of 1977! 40 years ago – that’s a WOW for me. She was an energetic new Christian getting to know people at church. As for me – I was a young, determined person with lofty goals. She was standing behind someone, as if waiting to talk to me. I was impatiently wondering what this older lady needed. (for anyone reading this who know me…UGH…how I wish I could do ‘Dear Younger Me’ – Mercy Me). She wanted to introduce herself and find out some things about me. She told me about her son. Uh oh…
Lest this story become a book all of its own, suffice it to say that her son was invited to church because they have lots of girls…my beloved, being an individual who was very interested in girls – agreed to come. The rest, as they would say, is history. From 1979, she became my mother-in law.
This woman – a more godly person you will never meet. In my youth, I wanted to understand her, even though I didn’t understand myself. When my father-in-law died, I observed her overwhelming hurt constantly. I wanted to comfort her, but didn’t know how. She lived in my house for a few years when our daughters were young. She served at our little church plant passionately, spent time with our girls and blessed everyone she came into contact with – including me. I was broken-hearted when she relocated back to Atlantic Canada. I missed her.
There were some dates and timeframes that blew me away. Dates like our twenty fifth wedding anniversary. I remember as a newly wed helping to plan HER twenty fifth wedding anniversary. It felt ‘old’ – but it was a huge milestone. I was the one receiving a ‘keepsake’ from her to mark the occasion. Another date was our 28th anniversary. My mother-in-law was married 28 years when her husband died. I was beyond grateful to celebrate with my beloved (and continue to do so).
Here it is – the biggest date that I realized recently is that I knew my mom for 41 years before she went home to be with Jesus. I am in my 41st year of knowing my mother-in-law! I think about this every day now and my mind is blown away that this woman waited to meet ME – a young woman who didn’t want to spend time with an older woman. How foolish and short sighted of me. How gracious and kind God has been to me. The meeting at church was life changing. apart from my life in Jesus, my life with my sweetheart is the most significant relationship with which God has blessed me.
I felt this incredibly important marker in my own history is to celebrated. My mother-in-law, apart from my own mother was used by God to change my life.