Honor Thy Mother

I have just returned from a trip to the Florida pan handle, to a stretch of gorgeous beach towns known as 30A (short for Hwy 30A). My two sisters and I wanted to treat our mom to a girl’s only get away, where she could have our undivided attention and we could lavish her with much deserved TLC.

Our first mom and daughters trip was 12 years ago to Martha’s Vineyard. It was such a great time-we vowed to do it often. Then 9/11 happened. But that wasn’t the main reason we waited so long.

Life happened.

We thought that just because our kids were all getting to be upper elementary and middle schoolers at that time that we would have increased freedom to take back some time for ourselves.

Ha. Ha.

We soon learned that a mother’s attention is not needed less as kids get into high school. Sports, clubs, school and church activities multiplied by many kids did not leave enough space on the calendar to slip away. And our mom patiently waited for another trip with just her girls.

Then her life got messy. Two bouts with lymphoma, my dad had open heart surgery and their basement foundation collapsed.

Each event a time eater.

We had good intentions. But the clock is a cruel task master. Urgent drowns out the important.


So we were delighted to see that this was the year we were going to be able to steal away from our busy lives and shower our mom with attention. Spending quality time with our mom and giving her words of affirmation are her love language, and we are blessed to have her and we were honored to give her “Sue focused” days.

While I was in Florida, one of my precious friends, also named Sue, was slowly slipping from this world, at the end of a battle with breast cancer. She and her family were never far from my thoughts and prayers.

My friendship with Sue grew when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer. As I reached out to help with meals and driving her to radiation treatments..I found out just how beloved this lady was—there was a waiting list almost two months long to get to be with her! We should all be so blessed to have people lining up to heap love and care on us…and what’s more-she let us. I loved that about her.

She was one of my walking buddies, my Bible study sista and every other Saturday morning we met at Waffle House for breakfast. We knew each other’s “ugly side” and as in all of the deepest of friendships–we were marked by love, fits of laughter and forgiveness.

My last visit with Sue in the hospital was memorable. Her Texas sense of humor was still intact as she told me, “Never have a stroke!” OK, I’ll try not to, I said. That was funny to her and she gave me a lopsided grin. The thing I will remember most about that day is that she had an aura of peace around her.

Peace that passes understanding.

I kept thinking about the old hymn, All the Way My Savior Leads Me**:

All the way my Savior leads me, O the fullness of His love!

Perfect rest to me is promised, In my Father’s house above

When my spirit, clothed immortal, Wings it’s flight to realms of day,

This my song through endless ages, Jesus led me all the way.

This my song through endless ages, Jesus led me all the way.

My darling, vibrant friend had one request during her time in the hospital…she just wanted to go home.

Her husband has not left her side for over a month, at the hospital and now at home. He has modeled well the faithfulness of a man caring for his wife during the darkest of days. Their three beautiful girls, all in their 20’s, have a high standard set before them in picking a husband…by watching their dad care so lovingly for their mom.

These girls remind me so much of me and my sisters. They have the same age spread as we do and share the time tested bond that only close sisters know. Their love for each other will serve them well in the days and years to come. They are working together to do the best they can do to honor their mother in the way she requested. Their lives, for now, are revolving around “Sue focused” days as they lavish attention, love and care on this amazing woman, they call “ mom”.

None of us knows how much time we will have with our moms this side of heaven. Some of us will be blessed to see our moms reach ripe old ages. Others, like these sweet girls and my own mother, will lose their moms at the time they feel they need them most- during the final stages of growing into womanhood as a wife and mother.

While many of us will offer to stand in place of our friend during the big moments to come for these girls-to pour mother love on them as Sue would be delighted that we do-we know that no one can ever take her place in their hearts.

Or in ours.


* Sue found her “perfect rest” this afternoon. Absent from the body-in the presence of the Lord.

**All The Way My Savior Leads Me by Fanny J. Crosby, 1875

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14 Responses to Honor Thy Mother

  1. Pam says:

    I was blessed to know her for a little while…she was precious…

  2. Lindy Ford says:

    Oh Stephanie. . . I didn’t know. . .

  3. Kim Jenkins says:

    A beautiful tribute to your Mother and your friend. I lost my Mom when I thought I needed her the most, but I think if she would have lived to be a hundred and twenty, I would still feel that way. Thank you for sharing. Enjoy every moment with your mom and all of the memories of your friend.
    Kim Jenkins

  4. cindy says:

    I was also blessed beyond measure to have had the opportunity to spend time in God’s word with Sue. She taught me how to be a woman of grace. I will miss you deeply my dear “sista” Sue…

  5. Terry Cox says:

    This is another fabulous loving spiritual missive that I know will touch many. My mom who is 82 and beautiful and vibrant is in the hospital right now dealing with atrial fibulation issues with her heart, so reading this has touched me deeply. I am going to share it with my two sisters. Thank you for sharing and inspiring – you have definitely found another calling. God Bless You!

  6. Debbie Zink says:

    Stephanie, Thank you for introducing me to Sue. I admired her gentle spirit and grace. For all she was experiencing in her own life, she was others-focused at all times. I feel for her husband and girls, as they will miss her greatly. Thank you for honoring her with this post. I’m so sorry you have lost such a special friend.

  7. Colleen Green says:

    Wow Stephanie, that was such a heartwarming honor to your mom and friend. I, unfortunately, didn’t get a chance to meet Sue but I know that she was loved by many. I’m so sorry to hear of her passing. Thanks also for helping confirm in my heart the reasons that I take time away from everyday life to spend time with my mom. Sometimes I feel selfish but that is the most precious time for me when I’m with my mom and you can’t get time together back after it is gone.

    • Gritsgal says:

      You are so blessed to live close to your mom, Colleen! You’re a great daughter!

      • Colleen Green says:

        Actually, my mom lives in Florida too. I don’t get to see her nearly as much as I would like but we talk on the phone at least once a day.

  8. Kim C Ill says:

    The tears are rolling after reading this one…..the lump in my throat is great ….and the prayers for Sue’s family are being lifted. Spent today with my Momma & even now she is right beside me….such a blessing…such a gift….tomorrow she will celebrate 14 years since being diagnosed with Kidney Cancer….

  9. Laura Beth says:

    So beautifully written and said..both of these “Sues” are godly blessings!

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