I know a lot of people think their mother was the best…the best cook…the best baker…the best comforter…the best Mom.
My mother was the best at all those things. After all these years I can still taste her banana bread. Those loaves actually tasted like bananas. Real bananas. Amazing! I can still taste Mom’s peanut butter cookies. The Best Ever! Those cookies tasted like real peanut butter. And she always pressed the top of the cookies with a fork to flatten the balls of cookie dough before sticking them in the oven. And I can still see those big, fluffy dumplings floating on the top of a pot of stew or something similar. Nobody makes dumplings like Mom’s.
When I was sick, whether I was at home or in the hospital, I always wanted my mother to be there with me. I was sick a lot as a kid, and my mother was the best comforter ever. Still, even as an adult, I think it would be mighty nice to have Mom around to check on me, and to tell me everything is going to be okay. My mother was the best comforter, the best cook, and the best baker.
Over the years I have met those people who said their mothers were not good cooks…not good bakers…not much of a comforter either. But, they still loved their moms.
I will always remember a young mother, addicted to heroin, who came to me for counseling, and she was wanting to get into a drug rehab somewhere. She told me a sad story about her situation at that time. One night she drove across town to get her heroin from a dealer, and her five year old daughter was in the back seat of the car.
When she arrived at the dealer’s house she parked and told her daughter to wait there, and said “Mama will be right back.” The next morning this young mother stumbled out of that man’s house and found her daughter in the back seat of her car still waiting for her mama, the mama who said she’d be right back.
The little girl was fine and so excited to finally see her mom. She had been crying, but she smiled when she saw her mama. The heroin addicted mother started crying, and grabbed her daughter and hugged her sobbing, “I’m so sorry I forgot about you. I’m such a bad mama.”
With tears streaming down her face she cried “I’m just the worst kind of mama.” Her little girl, with her tear stained cheeks, said, “No…no…no…You’re not a bad mama…you’re a good mama. You came back for me. You’re a good mama.”
Years earlier, when I was the director of a Christian drug rehab in Memphis, a young 18 year old man, addicted to crack cocaine, sat in my office seeking our help. He told me his story of how he started his addiction. His mother was a crack addict herself, and when he was young he would have to hide in the closet of their small studio apartment while his mother entertained men so she could get high.
One night the boy moved around in the closet and the man that was there heard the noise, and he yanked open the door and pulled him out. He threw the boy across the room, beat the boy’s mother, and then he raped the boy. It wasn’t long and that boy was coaxed by his mom to smoke crack cocaine with her.
When I met this young man he had been living on the streets, and he was referred to us by a church in his home town. He lived with us in our Christian discipleship home in Memphis for over a year. And after he completed the program he joined our staff.
He would often talk about is mother, and he would tell me that he loved her and was praying for her to find Christ. His mother hardly ever cooked a meal for him, and she never baked cookies, cakes or banana bread for him. And she was so caught up in herself and her addiction that she was not a comforting mother.
But he loved her. To him she was “a good mama.”
I have heard so many sad stories from people who came to us for help in the last 40 plus years of ministry; sad, sad stories. But, then over the years, I have met hundreds of the World’s Best Mothers. Mothers who were the best comforters, the best bakers, the best cooks, the best at everything a kid could ever want. My wife is one of those mothers. She was raised by one of those mothers as well.
Although my own mother can’t be here to comfort me when I’m sick and tell me that everything is going to be okay; my precious wife is here. And with her and our God by our side I know that everything is going to be okay. Maybe there’s no banana bread or peanut butter cookies, but everything is going to be okay.
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