how's your mama doing?
During this season of life, people ask us a lot of questions about the ins and outs of our plan to move to Ethiopia. One particular question that is posed to me often is: “How does your mom feel about all this?!” She and I have talked about that numerous times, but since so many people are curious--I thought it would be fun to let her answer herself. So take it, Mom...how do you feel about us moving to Ethiopia?
How’s Your Mama Doing?
by Peggy Hughes
Since this is the question Laura is often asked when in conversation with people about their upcoming move to Ethiopia this year, I decided I, Laura’s mama, am the one to answer this question. If you read Laura’s 31 Days of Calling, you know how God has prepared her for this journey. When I began to look into how I feel about her going, I realized God had perfectly prepared me as well.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written
in your book before one of them came to be.
In a very real way, the “messes” of my life were actual preparation for what God knew but I couldn’t see…
Early on, my father struggled with an illness that took its toll on our whole family. Although my mama worked tirelessly to hold our family together, I knew that the one I was meant to lean on for direction and strength wasn’t able to provide what I needed. I married young and had Laura and her brother, Landon. Our marriage ended in divorce 19 years later. My mama moved in with the kids and me and was with us for 4 years before she passed from this life to the next one. I remarried after Mama died. We were married 13 months before he died of a massive heart attack. Landon married soon after that. Laura and Tim followed in marriage a couple of years later. I had experienced many lonely moments in these transitions throughout the years, but when Laura married and moved away, I was really alone.
You see, Laura is far more than my daughter; she is my dear friend. When life began to implode for our family during her teenage years, I sought counseling. I learned that guilt and shame grow in dark places - that speaking secrets aloud to a safe person brings them into the light, and healing can then occur. This knowledge laid the groundwork for my relationships with my teenage kids and most people in my life from then on. In short, Laura and I learned how to be real. There is nothing we can’t talk about and talk through.
So you see, it’s not just that my daughter is moving across the ocean; it’s the one who knows me best - can detect that catch in my voice, can read the look on my face. That’s who is leaving.
I’m forever grateful that in these days God has given me my husband Jesse, but the reality is embedded in me that everyone is eventually going to leave - that life isn’t going to stay the same. While I love my kids and grandkids, I don’t look to them for my fulfillment in life. Nevertheless, God enables me to love them deeply in moments together, while still knowing it won’t always be like this. As I grow older, I’ve realized it’s an effort in futility to grasp for days, months, years past to provide meaning in the present. I’ve learned to live my days knowing God will be enough, and He will provide the people to walk with me on life’s path.
Back in October of last year, our family gathered for a weekend in Cookeville, Tennessee, where my son Landon and his family live. On Sunday morning, Tim presented his mission presentation at Landon’s church. I had not seen it prior to this. I wiped tears all through it. I wasn’t crying because they are going; I was crying over the great need for them to go. The dire need of the Ethiopian people is what pulled on my heartstrings that morning. How could I be selfish with them when God wants to use them there?
Even after all God has done to prepare me for them to leave, He knew I still needed this moment woven into me to help me in the days and years when the distance between us feels too hard to bear. Even with all His prep work, I know these days will come - and as it always has been, He Himself and His provision will be enough.
And we know that for those who love God
all things work together for good, for those
who are called according to his purpose.