“When Greeting Cards Fail on Mother’s Day”

Hallmark failed me. DaySpring had no contenders. American Greetings, Blue Mountain Arts, and Jacquie Lawson are obviously out of touch with the relationship I have with my mother. I found not one card I could write on, underline, or send with confidence that someone expressed my heart. If I could take the humorous cynicism of a Maxine card, temper it with the faith of Really Woolly sheep, smother it with Blue Mountain sentiments, then seal it with a Gold Crown sticker of excellence – voila! Maybe I should’ve bought one of each, cut them up and decoupaged my own.

Yet, seeing I have none of these things, I’m going to give my mom a small public accolade this year. Eaves droppers are welcome, just stay hidden.

Dear Mom,

It seems that every Mother’s Day, I try to list the ways in which I am thankful for the things you’ve done, the words you’ve spoken, or the times you have invested in my life. But another year has gone past and I see more of the benefits of your past decisions, understand better the effects of your present wisdom, and anticipate more fully the days that lie ahead. So here are more inadequate words from broken memories and poor reflections, but I pray you hear all that’s inexpressible. Especially since we both know, you will never stop being my mother.

When you thought I wasn’t listening:
I heard you tell me that my words had to always be honest and trustworthy. That if I said it was snowing in Kentucky in July, you wouldn’t have to look outside because you knew I would not lie. That if my words were empty at times, deceitful or dishonest, that all of my relationships would suffer.
Jesus came into my life later and repeated your words. He showed me that He is Truth and speaking lies is cooperating with a very real devil. Thank you for speaking truth despite my rejection of it for years.

When you thought I wouldn’t remember:
I remember the time you gave someone at the toll booth a “Coke and a smile.” You drove away with well wishes and joy, but their expression of surprise and gratitude was stamped across my heart to this day. I also remember peaking through living room curtains watching as the post man pulled up to the mailbox on a hot summer day and discovered a glass of freshly made iced tea waiting for him. Unexpected kindnesses to strangers…I watched.
Years later, Jesus would echo the importance of kind acts that give to others, blessings extended while expecting nothing in return. Thank you for your practical demonstrations.

When you thought I wasn’t looking:
I remember your turning from relationships that offered friendship or more, yet did not value who you were or your role of motherhood. Especially the one that forced you to choose between your children or them…and with tears of pain, but not remorse, you chose your children.
I had learned God’s words in Sunday school that said “Children are a gift from the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Thank you that you valued us more than your other friendships. Thank you that you didn’t abort us before birth nor treat us as inconveniences and obstacles to your life.

When you thought it would be forgotten:
I remember your flying out of bleachers and doing acrobatics through crowds whenever I was hurt during a softball or basketball game. I always heard your voice above a thousand, because it would cheer when others jeered, encourage when others condemned, and defend when others attacked. And yes, I do remember the smile you brought to my face when you recreated the LifeSavers commercial and offered me candy after a poorly played basketball game.
I would eventually learn that Hebrews 12 says we are surrounded by a great crowd of witnesses watching us run our life race and we’re to set our eyes solely on Him as He cheers us to the finish line. For all the ways you were your kids biggest fan, thank you.

When you thought it didn’t matter:
The cards you sent, the pictures you drew, the songs your wrote, the poems you crafted, the late-night hours you worked, the meals you made, the sick forehead you wiped, the laundry you cleaned…it all mattered despite thankless returns.
I have learned that Jesus loved me while I was deep in sin, gave Himself with spiteful returns, and showered my life with blessings despite my unworthiness. Thank you for unconditional love in your actions.

I thank you for not rescuing me from the consequences of sin – it would’ve been easier, but you loved enough to let it sting me memorably. Thank you for long talks on the back patio that didn’t minimize my heart when it was crushed nor did it mock my youthful mistakes. Thank you for not being critical towards others, but emphasizing that we needed to try to find the best in others. Thank you for not letting your role as a parent keep you from apologizing when needful or admitting your mistakes when they happened.

I will always thank the Lord for the ways He used you to shape this stubborn, strong-willed child. You are prone to remember your mistakes, have echoes of regrets, but Hebrews 11 shows that God did not record the mistakes of His people. Grace and love are His blankets that cover and cleanse those away. And these few things I’ve written merely scratch the surface of the wonderful ways you have been an incredible mother. Happy Mother’s Day…I love you.

Shannon Gallatin

Though merely a trophy of God's infinite grace, I am blessed to be the wife of my favorite pastor. I'm also the mother of a miracle with at least 6 treasures in heaven being raised by my heavenly Father. The Lord has used my past jobs of working with families affected by addictions, abuse, and other life tragedies, to help oversee the women's ministry at Calvary Chapel of the Finger Lakes. I couldn't be more thankful for His entrustment to wear multiple hats of various sizes, though they might fit a bit awkward on my noggin'. Praying that each of these things are being used to make me more like my Jesus and bring Him great glory.

Though I love all of the Word of God, Philippians 3:10 has become my life verse and Acts 20:24 my ministry pursuit.


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