The most exciting event of my life occurred on Mother’s Day when my son was four. Count Your Many Blessings, name them one by one rang out as the invitational hymn and Luke left my side, walked down the aisle, and asked Jesus to come into his heart.
That memory is more important to me than ever on this Mother’s Day as USMC Major Luke Gaines Parker celebrates another day with Jesus and I endure my first Mother’s Day without his cheerful, enthusiastic voice starting off the day with, “Good morning, Mom. I love you! Happy Mother’s Day!”
The magnitude of the decision he made 33 years ago is my peace and hope in a rest-of-my-life without him because it assures me that, just like the Jesus he served, Luke is in Heaven. This separation is painful – but temporary.
Luke gave me a Bible for Christmas in 1992, when he was sixteen. He paid for it with earnings from his first job. Two years later, I gave him a Bible when he entered the U.S. Marine Corps. He carried his Bible with him for the rest of his life, including his six deployments to war zones, and read it nearly every day. Like the Bible he bought me, nearly every page is marked, underlined, or has notes written into the margins. I cherish both Bibles and keep them visible on my desk as constant reminders of how marvelously privileged and honored I was to have a son who walked in God’s Truth.
When I look back to Luke’s childhood, I regret all the things I couldn’t buy for him because – as a single parent – I couldn’t afford them. I regret never having had enough money to take him to Disney Land or on a vacation. But what Luke and I did share is bigger and greater than all of my regrets combined: a love for Jesus Christ Who gave up His life on the cross for our sins so we can spend eternity with Him in a place where there is no death, sickness, dying, sorrow or tears. Wow! Luke’s plane crash on Nov. 17, 2013, wasn’t the end – it is the beginning.
You mothers reading this Mother’s Day blog may suffer the same insecurities that I did as a parent if your finances aren’t long enough to stretch to meet expenses. Don’t fret. More than things you can buy for them, your children need your time. More than expensive vacations and trips, your children need your love.
One of Luke’s most cherished memories was living in poverty in the Nevada Desert in a cabin with no electricity, no running water, and an outhouse for a bathroom. Luke loved it because he could have me – my time and love. Instead of running between two and three jobs to make ends meet, I was teaching him at “home” and spending every day and night with him. He mentioned that as a highlight of his life in every Mother’s Day card he sent, and in nearly every phone call.
Don’t waste time and energy agonizing over what you can’t give your children. If you spend time and love on them and teach them about Jesus, you are a successful parent. The only thing we have here on earth that can follow us to heaven is our children. Make sure they know that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Don’t leave the kids behind!
Books by this author: http://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Parker-McKean/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0