On Friday, I was invited to listen to a live prayer event on YouTube involving both Jews and Arabs in the Middle East. Once enemies, these believers in Yeshua (Jesus), Jew and Gentile, are now joining together as “one new man” in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2 talks about this one new man:
“For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.”
But what was most touching about this call, is that they began the gathering with both Jew and Arab women sharing their hearts. The women, are now good friends because of their common faith and call each other “mamas.” It was endearing and I wanted to be one of the mamas! You could feel their closeness. And then my mind wandered to all the “mamas” I’ve known over the years, both friends and adopted moms, many of whom I have remained close to despite physical distance.
What “mamas” come to your mind? Mother figures. Close friends who have survived the years—no matter where you’ve lived, no matter how you’ve changed.
One mama I’d like to highlight is turning 80 soon. Her name is Joyce. This past week I heard from Mama Joyce’s son, who invited me to his mother’s birthday party in Chattanooga, Tennessee in a couple of weeks. Because of my schedule, it requires leaving on one day and returning the next, but this is one special “mama,” so I’ve bought my ticket.
Back when I was in my early twenties and really needing a mom, because my own mother struggled, I met Joyce while working in my first television job in Chattanooga, TN. She happened to be my boyfriend’s mother, and on weekends she and I would chat like school girls most of the day while my boyfriend was off doing something else (In retrospect, that wasn’t so wise). When he and I broke up, Mama Joyce and I decided that did not mean we needed to break up, so we didn’t. Even though I moved away, I was there for her when she went through a painful divorce, and was by her side after the loss of her son, my former beau. She was around for me as well through heartache and joys. And to keep this mama–daughter relationship alive, I’ve made it a point to visit her periodically over the past 30+ years. We always pick up where we left off.
These kinds of lifelong friendships don’t come around every day so if you haven’t reached out to the mamas in your life lately, maybe today is a good day to tell them how much you care.
To close, I want to wish Mama Joyce an early Happy Birthday. You have been one of the constants in my life. I love you, I am thankful for you and I can’t wait to hug you in person.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).