I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am completing what remains of Christ's sufferings.

I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus. (Colossians 1:24; Galatians 6:17)

Easter weekend 2001 was supposed to be a great time in the Warehouse. Our son Zach was driving home from college with his fiancée (now wife) Mandy, along with my mother and stepfather. Donna was preparing a big meal. We were all excited. Then we received the call.

"Dad, we've had a slight delay because of an accident problem!" Zach informed me.

"That's okay," I said trying to understand. "Is it an accident you are stuck behind or an accident you are in?"

"An accident we were in. I'm calling from the patrol car, but I'm okay."

"Is everybody else okay?"

"Yes, everybody is okay, except for MiMi, she's having some trouble breathing. They've taken everybody to the emergency room ..."

It was a head-on collision at high speed. Thankfully, everyone survived in amazingly good shape. The only one really hurt was my mother ....

Seems like that is how it has always been. No matter what has happened in our lives, the one who has born the brunt of the pain has been my mother. Whether it was our misbehaviors as boys, our wounds and slights in school, our broken hearts with girlfriends, our sports injuries, and especially our dad's long illness and death — the one who bore the brunt of the pain was our mother.

Seems like that is how it has always been. My mother cared for her mother-in-law through her death. She stood by my stepfather during one of his hours of greatest pain, both of them handling an unthinkable situation with dignity and faith. Her dad passed away when he 51. So did her husband (my dad). Her mother battled cancer for over two decades and was in my mother's care when she passed away. My mother has felt the pain of squabbles and imperfections in her children and stepchildren. She has enjoyed the laughter and endured the messes of her 24 grandchildren. Through all the ups and downs of life, she has maintained and passed on her faith to her children's children. And she has born the hurt, so as much as is possible, we wouldn't have to.

The wounds are mostly mended.
The wounds are mostly mended from that wreck. Some things, however, will never be quite the same again. My mom will have another reminder in her body of her desire to be with and to love her children and her grandchildren.

"I am the Lord's servant," Mary had said to the angel when told of Jesus' miraculous conception. So is every mother who has committed herself to rear her children in the Lord and carry them as offerings to the King of Kings. In their hearts, and quite often in their bodies, they carry the marks of that service. Unfortunately, no one can fully appreciate those marks ... except the Holy One carried in Mary's womb who has born the marks of our complete healing. He will not forget their works of grace, sacrifices of love, and scars of pain.

Mothers are tough.

Mothers are precious.

And in Jesus, thank God, Mothers are forever.

Thanks, Mom for bearing the marks in your body of your love for us. They have not been forgotten. They will not be wasted. You have helped give us all a forever family.