Mother’s Day is an opportunity for us to celebrate and cherish the women in our life. And sometimes the word “mother” goes beyond the one who carried us in the womb. In my own life, mothers have come in great variety. I have been blessed beyond measure with many women who have shown me the varying shades of love.
But too often, I unintentionally take these mothers for granted and overlook how much they have shaped and influenced my life. So this Mother’s Day, I want to celebrate them and I invite you to do the same.
The Moms in My Life
Her friends called her Eloise. My grandfather called her ‘Wheezie’. Her sons called her Momma. I called her, Grandma Ham.
Her short, sweet, power-packed frame was perfected by her white freshly-permed hair. She rarely put a few sentences together without mentioning “The Lord” or “The Bible” and I can still taste her chicken and rice. I remember her cheers from the sideline at my ballgames as much as I remember her sweet voice the day she told me, “Matt, it’ll be alright,” as I sat by her hospital bedside.
Grandma Ham passed away in the Spring of 2012 after a battle with cancer, but her legacy still lives on in our family. Her prayers have been heard and the strength of the faith of our family is a testimony to her faithfulness.
Her friends called her Sara. My grandfather called her ‘Sug’. Her children called her Momma. I called her, Grandma Sheneman.
Round glasses illuminated her bright eyes as she paraded around the house in her gown and slippers. She had a unique, raspy laugh that was always accompanied by an smile. I can still taste her Golden Rod: a breakfast creation of grated, hardboiled eggs sprinkled over toast and gravy. But what I remember most about Grandma Sheneman is that she loved and she cared. It’s no surprise she was a nurse by trade.
Grandma Sheneman died from an aneurism in 1996 when I was only fourteen-years old, but I treasure the memories. And that’s why we named our daughter, Sara James, in her honor.
Her given name is Amanda. She is a mom to two beautiful daughters. But to me, she’s Mandy.
Mandy showed up on my doorstep when I was only five years old. In a way, she was the sister I never had. It didn’t seem right to call her a babysitter because she was so much more. She was protecting, loving, guiding, and helpful. The demands of life, kids, and busy schedules have made it challenging to stay in touch, but she’ll always be a part of my story.
Mandy, you helped shape me into the man and father that I am today. And for that, I am forever grateful.
Her name is Rebecca. Some of her friends call her, Becca. I’ve always called her, Bec.
The first time I met her, she offered me a ride which isn’t surprising because generosity is her trademark. Our musical tastes are one in the same and who couldn’t possibly appreciate a girl who loves football. In college, she nurtured so many of us with compassion and her impeccable memory always makes me feel insufficient. She sends pictures, notes, cards, encouragement, hugs—she never missed a beat. Although she doesn’t have children of her own, she has hundreds she loves as if they were.
Bec, thank for being you.
Most people call her as Betty. Some lovingly call her Beebs. My kids call her Bebe. She is my mother-in-law, Betty.
Betty throws spaghetti on the ceiling to see if it’s “done” and is advocates indoor basketball. She’s crazy in such a beautiful and wonderful way that’s all her own. Anyone who’s met her will attest. But more than that, she pours herself out as an offering to everyone she encounters. If I’ve ever met anyone who would literally give you the shirt off of their back, it’s Betty. She gives of herself in every single relationship she’s a part of. She’s a true picture of selfless service.
Betty, we love you.
She is a godmother. Her name is Susan. I call her, Susu.
Susu is the mother I don’t deserve. It’s only fitting that she’s my Godmother because she is a treasure from heaven above. Her kindness, her patience, and her gentleness are unmatched. She’s been there from the beginning and has walked with me every step of the way. Her willingness to lend an ear without judgement is her trademark and she is the embodiment of what her earthly title proclaims.
Susu, words could never do justice. Muwah!
She was born, Elizabeth. And she is the most remarkable mom in the world. She is Liz. She is my wife.
This woman is forever mine—my partner for life. And I absolutely believe that she is the one God set apart for me. She has weathered the storm with me and she stands beside me through thick and thin. We’ve walked this road together, as only we could. We love. She’s given me the greatest worldly honor that I could possible have: she made me a father. Three pregnancies and four kids later, she amazes me. Her dedication to our family makes me wonder how I could possibly love her enough. I am indebted to you, Liz. You’re my love and my hero.
She is Mary Grey. Some call her May May. My boys call her Meme. I call her, Mom.
She is love, and love does. Love goes to the golf course on Mother’s Day just to be with her boys. Love drives across God’s creation to cheer at ballgames, to find wedding decorations, to fill shoeboxes, and to plan the perfect vacation. Love stays up late and wakes up early. Love counts the minutes until they come home. Love goes to the hospital in the middle of the night to rock her grandchildren. Love is relentless in her pursuit—to show how much it, loves. Love does. She is love.
Mom, thanks for teaching us how to love.
Honor the Moms by Your Love
For some, Mother’s Day is a painful reminder of the harsh reality that those you love are gone. And in their absence, the love they shared seems lost and the pain of their passing weighs heavily on your heart. My challenge to you today is that you remember them by your love. Let your thoughts, words, and actions be a reflection of the light they brought into your life. Let their love radiate through you to those around you.
Take a moment to step outside of the box and think of the mothers in your life—especially the ones who go beyond blood. It may be a teacher from your childhood who showed compassion and poured into your education. Or, it may be the great friend that was always there with an ear and a caring heart. Perhaps it was an aunt or neighbor. Tell them how you feel about them. Pour out your gratitude for their impact in your life.
Wherever you are today, I urge you to not let this day end without returning the love. Because love never fails.
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About the Author
Matt Ham is primarily a husband and father to three boys. As an author and speaker, he is dedicated to guiding others toward living a rich life. Through his RICH Principles he helps folks uncover fullness, identifying real treasure and discovering true joy and contentment in both their professional and personal lives.
You can order a limited hardback version of the book at www.redefinerich.com
To contact Matt, visit www.mattham.com/speaking