I have been blessed in so many ways. I have a good family who loves me. I get the opportunity to serve in a church doing what I love to do. I have friends who are concerned about me and who are there to support me. And I have two moms. Wait! Don’t freak out! I know in today’s culture that statement can be taken in many different ways. Let me explain. I have a Mom who gave birth to me named Betty. I love her dearly and I miss her so much. She died on my 49th birthday. I know she is in Heaven now and I know one day I will see her again. She taught me so much. And I have a Mom who is still with me named Mama Rena.
Let me explain. My dad remarried many years after he and my Mom (Betty) divorced. He married a wonderful woman who became my second Mom. Me and my family love her dearly and she is a wonderful part of our lives. That is Mama Rena. As I write this I am sitting in a recliner near her as she is napping. She is 97 years old and is one of the sweetest, most caring people I have ever met. Mama Rena has never given birth to any children. Her and her first husband were married over 35 years before he died. She has never told me why they couldn’t have children and I have never asked. That is none of my business. That all happened before she came into my life.
I first met Mama Rena when I had just turned 18. I remember walking into her house to eat a meal with her and my Dad. I had moved to Coffeeville, AL (if you haven’t heard of it I wouldn’t be surprised. It is a very small town in rural South Alabama) to live with my Dad and start college at a little Junior College near where he was living. We sat down to eat a breaded steak sandwich and some banana pudding. This would be the first of many meals I would enjoy at her table. She is an excellent cook. I believe feeding people is her love language. Eating her cooking was one of my love languages and was one of the ways I showed her how much I loved her ( and how much I enjoyed her cooking!) After my kids were born she even made bananaless banana pudding for them because they like banana pudding but don’t like the bananas in the pudding (Don’t think too hard trying to figure that out. Just go with it.).
Today, Mama Rena is still worried about making sure we all eat. She has me eating all the time while I am staying with her this week. I guess she is worried that I am going to wither away. I know that her eyesight is poor due to an eye disease and she has trouble seeing me but I am definitely not withering away. But she still wants to feed me. One night she was not even hungry and was not going to eat but she wanted to be sure I ate. I was not hungry either. We had eaten a late lunch and I was not interested in eating supper. But Mama Rena was interested in me eating supper. She insisted. As a matter of fact I had to cook me some supper that I was too full to eat. Even though she was exhausted she did would not go to bed until my supper was done and on my plate and I was sitting down to eat it. Ephesians 6:1 says “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right…” Yes, I am 53, but I still obey my Mama Rena. She may be 97 and I may be grown but she is still the boss.
From the first day I met her she has impacted my life. Her kindness and compassion are evident in everything she does. She has a heart that completely fills up her little 5 foot body. She has shared with me her wisdom for 35 years. She has offered advice when I have asked and correction when I needed it (even though I didn’t ask for that). She has loved my family and accepted us all as her own. I am not and have never been her step son. I have always been her son. She has always introduced me that way. And she has never been my step mother. She is my other Mom. Always has been. Always will be. By the way, everyone she meets starts calling her Mama Rena. They can’t help it. They can feel the love in her flowing out to them.
I wanted to share this story of my two moms to remind us all that there are women in our lives who love us and mother us even if they did not give birth to us. There are the moms who gave birth to us and give us life and there are women who have never had the privilege of giving birth to a child but who have been an example of a Godly woman. There are those women who have not given birth but who have spoken life into so many children. I was blessed by the Mom (Betty) who birthed me and raised me and loved me and I have been blessed by another Mom (Mama Rena) who has loved me and accepted me and spoken life into me. I believe I am a better man because of both of these special women.
The question I ask myself is am I following my two Moms example? Am I being a Godly example to my children and grandchildren? Do they know that not only do I love them but that God loves them even more than I do? Am I speaking words of encouragement, love and affirmation into their lives? Am I offering advice when I should? Am I as concerned about their spiritual nourishment as I am about their physical nourishment? I can only pray I am doing half as well as my moms did for me.
For the men and women out there who have never had the privilege of being a part of conceiving and birthing a child I want to remind you that you still have the opportunity to impact children by speaking life into them. You can set an example of what it means to be a Godly man or woman and show them how they can live life to the fullest. Please don’t use the excuse that because you don’t haven’t had children you can’t impact children. You can teach them by example. There are so many ways you can impact children positively. You can serve them through a children’s ministry or youth ministry or by volunteering to be a Big Brother or Big Sister or by reading to them in their schools or by volunteering in your church or through Scouting or by coaching their recreation league teams. The list is endless. The only person holding you back is YOU!
To paraphrase – You can be a “Mama Rena” to so many others. What are you waiting for?