Monday, 27 June 2011

My mum

I have been thinking about my lovely mum today. She died 16 years ago aged 74 years and I loved her and miss her lots there have been times I really wanted her to still be here to cuddle me and tell me all will be ok over these past few years. She sent me to Sunday school as a little girl with my aunties and uncle who were 'born again' Assemblies of God church attendees. From the age of 5-12 I would accompany them most Sundays to church. My mum and dad only came to invited events but I was to be trained to be a Christian from a young age. I am not complaining I found faith as a 7 year old and my journey continues to this day. The reason I thought about mum today was because I had been listening to an American preacher who was admonishing his audience at a conference that most people who were led to faith came in on shallow faith with no real challenge therefore they were never saved. This thought came on the back of the recent controversy surrounding Rob Bells book 'Love wins'. I began to think about my wonderful ordinary mum. Born in 1921 in a Lancashire mill town, she lost her own mum as a teenager and fortunately her dad married a lovely lady who my mum loved, so no damage done there. She served in the army during world war 2 and was very proud of her time doing this. She married my dad in November 1945. Amazing to think that dad and her met during the war and they spent very little time together as dad was in Burma for most of this time. She had her first child my sister Lorraine in 1947. Lorraine was a twin dad was not at the birth he phoned the hospital to be told that they were waiting for twin 2, he didn't know he was having twins and said he almost fainted. Twin 2 Glenace was born 10 hrs after her sister and only lived for 2 days. So mum celebrated the birth of her first born and grieved the death of her second. Michael my brother came along in 1950 followed by me in 1960. Mum aged 39 always told me I was planned. After her death dad told me the truth 'biggest surprise of his life'!!! I was spoiled rotten by my large loving family. Unfortunately I was rotten and spoiled and I screamed lots if I did not get my own way. Conversations with old friends and neighbours usually reminded me of my awful habit of screaming I would politely smile and promise them 'I have changed' ! My mum was diagnosed with a heart problem when I was 15. I remember snatches of this time as my focus was so much on me I think I tried to ignore the fact that she had the bed downstairs because she could no longer get up the stairs in our home. She had always been so full of life, caring of her neighbours. We had the poor family in our street the Davenports. I only noticed their poverty as I grew a little older after all there was 10 of them in living in a 3 bedroom house. Carol my lovely friend with the long black hair that I was so jealous of as mum kept my blonde hair shortish most of the time. The reason was the nits that so many of my friends had and mum who had done the job of delousing soldiers in the war continued to do this for neighbours and their children and even me as they still hopped on board (Is anyone else old enough to remember Zuleo the nit remover and the terrible smell it had?) She was a dinner lady at my school and I was proud to be her daughter because she was everyones favourite and they all wanted to hold her hand. She was part of her community well respected kind and caring, my mum. When she became ill at the age of 55 (4 yrs older than I am now) I was a teenager concerned about my wants and needs. She had been increasingly struggling to walk up inclines and one day she turned back from work almost in a state of collapse my mum who had always been so fit and well was now unable to carry on. This marked the beginning of a 20 yr period of ill health with medication to help her failing heart. She continued to be a wonderful mum and a beautiful Nana to her 10 grandchildren including my own 4 girls. She enjoyed them all loved and snuggled them. She used to drawer a duck with one quick squiggle of a pen, today as I thought of my mum I realised I couldn't do this I hadn't paid enough attention to learn it to teach to my future grandchildren, and it made me sad and I wished she was here right now to show me this again. I say all this because my mum never really went to church. She would do the daily readings 'Every day with Jesus' Selwyn Hughes and she resisted coming to church because of my dad who would not go. Their experience came from her brothers and sisters whose example of faith would have put anyone off going to church. Not because they were horrible I loved them, but it was full of hat wearing ladies, no TV on Sunday and many more small petty rules, that my mum and dad who were kind and caring did not want to be a part of. I remember that as a teen when I would tell them of their need to repent and be saved. My brother informed me that in his eyes how could I be going to heaven when I was so horrible but they were not. I was passionate to see all my family saved and as I was taught each week in church they were all going to hell unless they repented and believed. Today as I remember my mum and I think about my faith and I listen to the teaching that says my mum and millions like her I burning in hell for eternity I can say that I don't believe this anymore. The God that I know love and serve is not a cruel vindictive God but his capacity is to embrace his people those he created is in no way small and restricted in the way I grew up believing. To be continued...

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