I would like to tell you what it was like to be a child of Debbie Wilson, or as I like to call her, “Mom.” There were 3 of us siblings and she loved us equally. I can’t tell you how she showed her love to my siblings, Margie and Martin. That’s something you’ll have to ask them about because she showed her love to each of us in unique ways. But I can tell you how she loved me.
One of my first memories is of her teaching me how to pray. We prayed every night together. She never made me pray – I only prayed if I wanted to, but she prayed every night and I listened. I remember laying in bed and waiting for her to come in and read me a chapter from a book and sing songs with me. Sometimes she would just lay in bed with me and we would talk. I don’t remember what we talked about, but we talked a lot. Looking back, it must have been childish things that little girls think about but she was always attentive and never talked to me like a child.
She lifted me up in every way. She was always there, cheering me on for whatever new idea or occupation I had decided for myself. She told me I was beautiful every day. She told me so often that she actually had me believing that I was the most beautiful girl in the entire world…and maybe that was true because in her eyes I was, both her daughters were.
The name Jane means “God’s Gracious Gift.” Do you know why I know that? Not because I looked it up, but because she named me that BECAUSE of what it meant. She constantly reminded me of the meaning of my name my entire life. She wrote it in birthday cards, emails, letters, texts and on my Facebook wall. She wanted to make sure I knew that I was God’s gift to her. You know, when I was a little girl, I didn’t like my name. There were no other girls my age named Jane. They were all Heather, Sarah, Michelle, Jennifer, etc. I was just Jane. However, sometime in my 20s I really started to love the name and I love it even more now because it has such a special meaning.
I used to get scared of the dark a lot. My mom would often let me sleep in the bed with her, but she also taught me to be brave. She taught me to repeat the verse, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in the Lord.” I still use that verse even to this day when I am afraid. She taught me to be brave and to not rely on her or my dad to get me through scary times (although I still do sometimes and that’s okay too) but she taught me to rely on my God to get me through trials. Today I am afraid. I am afraid of the emptiness that is going to flood over me when this is all over and done with. I am afraid of reaching for my phone because I want to tell her some good news and then realizing that she won’t be on the other end to pick it up. I am afraid of getting sick and not being able to call her to hear her soothing voice to make me feel better. BUT she knew this day would come and she equipped me for it. She taught me that “What time I am afraid, I will trust in the Lord.”
I was loved and I was taught how to love. There was a Christmas when we were kids that she couldn’t afford to get us gifts. A lot of kids would have been really sad about this. I’ll admit, it was disappointing to wake up to no presents under the tree, but us kids went into her room and gave our gift to her, filled with such love for our mother, knowing that she could give us nothing in return. She taught us to love and to expect nothing in return for loving. Just this week when looking through one of her Bibles, we came across something special she had written. She wrote, “I love You, Father. Thank You because Your love doesn’t depend on my love. You are love.”
She told me later in life that it made her sad that she was not the one to lead me to Christ and I told her that she WAS. She introduced me to my Savior, Jesus Christ. I can’t remember not knowing who He is because He was always part of our conversations. She laid the ground work for that perfect moment where everything in my life would come together and I would realize my need for Him. And I did. I was 13 years old and I was all alone when it happened. But I knew exactly what to do because she taught me that all I had to do was believe in Jesus as Lord and give Him control of my life. I did just that and I have her to thank.
She was a good mom and friend. She was safe. I was never afraid to tell her anything. She was trustworthy and the truest example of perfect love in a human I have experienced. She loved without expectations of any kind. She just loved as she saw her Savior love. I hope to one day be even half the woman she was. She is my mom, my friend, my confidante, my soft chest to lie on, my teacher, my mentor. There is a hole in my heart that will never be filled and that’s okay because no one else deserves that space but her. She is quite certainly the most caring, loving, innocent, sweetest, most non-judgmental, BEAUTIFUL woman who has ever lived.
As some of you may know, my mom suffered from depression many times throughout her life. I want to share this part of her life with you because I think it is important for anyone else who also goes through seasons of sadness to hear. I want to read something else we found written in one of her Bibles about depression. May it touch you and challenge you in whatever it is that tempts you in this life. She writes, “My greatest temptation is to become depressed. When I become depressed, it is because I focus on my pain – my disappointment – my fear. In other words, I become self-absorbed rather than God absorbed. If my focus is on God where it should be, depression loses its power to control me.”
We had no idea how sick she was. My husband and I just spent this last weekend with her and her husband, Max, at their house. We laughed and talked and played with her kittens. We went out to eat at her favorite restaurant and stayed up late watching a movie. Sunday she went to church and then we talked a little more until about 2:30pm when it was time for my husband and I to drive back to Atlanta, GA. However, as customary for my mom, she wouldn’t let me leave until I did one last thing. I was her youngest. She called me, “baby.” She said to me right before we parted ways for the very last time, “Come here. You can’t leave until you sit in my lap.” And I did. I sat in my mom’s soft lap in her rocking chair one last time and she rocked me just like when I was a baby.
We got in our car and started to drive away. The last time I saw her well, she was standing on her porch in her purple robe waving good-bye to me. Before we could even get out of the driveway, she sent me a text that said, “I miss you.” About a minute after that, she sent me the very last text she would ever send me. It said, “I love you now more than the day you were born.”
However, she couldn’t be with us forever. At 12:24am on March 20, 2012, my beautiful mother met her Savior face to face. She will never feel pain again. I thank Jesus for making her whole again. She complained of pain for years and now there is no more pain.
I share all these things with all of you because I want you to know the amazing woman I had the honor to call mother for 32 years. I also want to remind you that you have NO IDEA what tomorrow will bring. Show your love to those in your life. Are you not speaking to someone? Make it right before it’s too late. The argument won’t matter to you anymore once that person is no longer around. Make every moment count. Life is too short and much too fragile. Love so much that it hurts. Love with fierceness.
I love you, Mom.