The kitchen was where Mom was usually found in those days. She may have been cooking, washing dishes, mopping the floor, defrosting the refrigerator, feeding my little brother, cleaning the oven, or ironing a basket of clothes that had just been taken in from the clothesline in the back yard. It was her turf, and it was unusual to find that she was not there.
I got my drink, and then curiously looked about for Mom.
She wasn't in the small living room.
I looked in our bedroom. My little brother lay napping on the bed, but no sign of Mom.
The only other possibility was her bedroom, and a quick trip to that room revealed that she wasn't there either.
That's when I heard her voice coming from the bathroom.
Now, we all have to go at one time or another, and Moms are certainly no different. However, it was far beyond the norm for her to be talking to someone in the bathroom! "Who could she be talking to?" I wondered.
The curiosity was more than I could bear, so I walked quietly across her room and gently put my ear to the door - just in time to hear her say my name!
She was praying. My eavesdropping was just in time to hear her praying for me! She was asking God to bless me, and keep me safe, and to use me for His glory and for His purposes. She prayed for the wisdom to be the kind of mother that He would have her to be to me and my brother.
I slipped quietly away from the bathroom door and made my way back to the kitchen. The old screen door slammed shut behind me as I ran out to rejoin my friends in the back yard for some more serious play time. Although it was just a brief slice of time in my childhood, the memory of my mother praying for me in the bathroom is one that I have taken with me for more than half a century.
Looking back on the incident today, I have to believe it was a Divine appointment. God brought me to that place just at the right time, so I would know that my mother was praying for me. And I know it wasn't a one time event. The power of her prayers has had a tremendous effect on my life. I know that she has lifted u[ me, my Dad, and both brothers (and our respective families) in prayer every day.
Tomorrow is Mother's Day. Thirteen days later, we will celebrate Mom's 82nd birthday. Each day Mom slips deeper and deeper into the darkness of Alzheimer's Disease. It has robbed her of much of her memory, and now, even close family members are sometimes just "strangers" to her. She now thinks she lives in Logan (the town where she grew up and was married in 1949). She asks about the whereabouts of her parents, who have been gone for many years. There are days when she doesn't even recognize Dad.
Some things haven't changed. She still loves Jesus. She still loves to come to church. She still has a smile and a kind word for everyone, and she still has that same sweet spirit. My guess is that she still prays, too. I can't imagine what her prayers are like today, but I'm sure she still talks to God. Perhaps she still mentions our names in prayer. Only God knows...
Years ago, when first diagnosed with the disease, Mom teared up and said, "I'm afraid the time will come when I won't know my family". My brother, Bruce, put his arm around her and said, "Maybe so, Mom, but we'll know who YOU are!"
Patsy Ruth Stidham Adkins in many ways is just a shell of the mother we have known and loved, but we do know who she is, and we thank God that He gave her to us as our mother.
She doesn't know that tomorrow is Mother's Day, but we do, and we honor her.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom.
We love you.