Mornings with Martha

Every morning at 7:31.That's when I called Ms.Martha.

Before her call from her son for the morning, and after I dropped my two sons off for the morning.

Two very different seasons of life with 40 years between us, but that never made one bit of difference.

Every. Single. Day. For more years than I can even count. For at least 20 minutes, we talked on my way to work.

Mornings with Martha. It's just what I did... and she always took my call. If I didn't call for a morning or so, she'd call me. A covenant friendship if I've ever seen one.

She poured into me more than I can ever begin to speak of... but I'm going to try a little here.

She helped me become a parent that hears my children. She lead by the most beautiful example.
My oldest has never known a day without "Ms. Martha" as an integral part of his world. She picked him up from school sometimes for me... and we laughed endlessly about her first time in the carpool line. Carpool Moms are no joke, y'all.  If you know Martha, you know she couldn't just pick him up and give him a ride, though. She stopped and they bought snacks, and they chatted... right until he'd fall asleep in her car. She loved every minute of it.

She would get so tickled telling me just how much B could sleep (and yes, he can!), and in those moments, she shared with me her own stories of being a carpool Mama to her kids. You could always tell that her kids and being a Mama were among her greatest delights in life. It's how she loved my guy so well. The same belief she had in her kids, she poured into him. He is quite the man because of it, and I could have never raised him to this place without her love. He will never forget how she believed in him.

My little one's school was further off than his brother's, so he didn't get the joy of carpooling with Ms. Martha. To make up for that, he loved sending her videos on FB. She always got a kick out of how silly he could be. When we received our autism diagnosis in Birmingham years ago, Martha was the first phone call I made. We were not sure whether to cry or celebrate finally figuring things out, so I'm pretty sure we did both. And year after year as God worked and my baby beat the odds, she celebrated D and the God who made him with happy tears right alongside me. Together we did victory laps over the phone as he kicked autism in the teeth day after day. She believed in him and would frequently call me with the latest thing she had read in the paper on autism and how people were defying the odds. I have no doubt she'll watch his first day of school Monday and do a little dance over just how far we've come.

She taught me how to show up. See, Martha Smith was a friend that showed up.

She wore red for dyslexia awareness, before the world was ever #RedeemingRed with us. She believed in my heart for my kid and the next one, and she showed up the first year a tower was ever lit to redeem that nasty red pen that showed up on our kids spelling papers. She wore her red and she showed up. 

She bought my oldest uniforms one year early in my parenting journey. Just because she loved him so much and wanted to take a little pressure off of me. She didn't just write a check, though, she went WITH US to the uniform store and had him try on every piece.  We had the best time. She entered into that time of stress with us, and she turned it into one of my favorite memories of complete joy. She showed up.

She came to school assemblies. B has picture after picture where Ms. Martha came to his programs. She showed up like family does. She was on every emergency contact list for my kids and every carpool list. Martha Smith was our family.

She showed my oldest what service work looked like at such an early age. He was setting up chairs for her when we'd have "fellowships" even when the chairs were bigger than he was. Like so many of us, he couldn't get enough of making Ms. Martha smile and hearing her affirm who he was and how God was using him.

How blessed my boys have been to have Martha Smith pour into their lives!

There's so much pouring in they won't ever even know about, either. Mostly the love she poured into their Mama...

She stood by my side when I got married... a bridesmaid again at the age of 75.  I remember the day I asked her. She paused for a moment like, "Can that be a thing?"... and then she laughed the best laugh and said, "Why YES! I would LOVE that!" And so we did.

And when the marriage didn't make it, she stood by my side as we figured out how to do a new normal. She showed me what it looked like to be a friend that says, "Even in the messiest moments, you are never alone." We went through all the Kleenex, said all the prayers, and did a little bootstrap pulling... and we made it to the other side.

When I enrolled in college again, she jumped right on in the adventure with me. We sweated through accounting together -- with her role of praying the paint off the walls, and mine crying and crunching numbers. In the end we lovingly agreed that my God-gift is writing, and I needed to hire a good CPA for the rest of my life. 

When I graduated that May at the age of 40, she was by my side.... and I'm ever so glad.

She taught me not to quit 5 minutes before my miracle, and she cheered me on every time God would work miracle upon miracle in my world. She reminded me to never forget just how far He had brought me, and just what a miracle I was living.

She reminded me to not be surprised when snakes bite, and maybe just not to pick them up going forward. (Still makes me laugh. "You knew that was a snake when you picked it up, baby.")

She taught me to step away from things that were eating my lunch and find the gratitude that God had in the moment.

She used to tell me I could take chicken poop and make chicken salad. She got a kick out of how I could take nothing and turn it into something.  My thrifting adventures and single mom budgeting prowess always kept her amazed.

She used to let me come over and we'd play with essential oils in her kitchen... mixing up all the things in mason jars. 

She let balance her checkbook so that I'd have a side job when I needed it, when she good and well knew that I was the slowest math kid on the block. But she loved me enough to let me be there. 

In a time when I was digging out of a super difficult time in life, she reminded me that I mattered. She reminded me that I had great worth, far beyond what I could see. She taught me never to say never, and that I was so much more brave than I could ever fathom.

Tonight is a night that I would have called her. We would have cried this out. Touched it. Felt it. Admitted how very powerless we were beyond our prayers. She would have told me that I was going to be okay. That I WAS okay. She would have reminded me to hand the broken pieces to God and to wait for His new in the middle of the messiness.

As I chatted this out with God today and through tonight, He reminded me that I have 24/7 access to my best friend now, though.

Remind, me, Lord. Remind me.

She is my Psalm 91:11 angel, and I am fairly confident she'll be the same for so many of you. The bible says it like this, "For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone."

Can you imagine her now? A new perfectly healthy heavenly body and all of that celebrating going on? She can love on everyone without limit and continue pouring in like never before. We only thought we saw her love big on this side of heaven, friends. THIS is when it gets real.

My rides to work won't ever be the same. A piece of my heart is no longer here, and I'm not gonna lie - today has eaten my lunch.

But she taught me about those "eaten lunch" kind of days and how to walk them out.

Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. There's no need for struggling with this. The tears will flow, but my sweet friend has met Jesus... and I can only imagine the beauty that has filled her day as she and "Big Joe" were reunited this afternoon and as she got to see her baby girl, again. I miss her here, but I can't say that I would take a second of that from her even if I could. My friend is blissfully happy tonight.

So, gratitude....
Through puffy eyes, a sniffling nose, and messed up makeup, I've been trying to find it. It's no surprise this morning that God put a beautiful young woman on my heart. One of his daughters who I knew I was supposed to call this morning. She told me later that it was such a God-thing.

This afternoon at 12:45, I knew why God had me reach out. I got to pour out a little bit of what Martha poured into my world.

God reminded me through that call that He is going to use that "empty" morning time like never before. Time with Jesus. Time loving on His daughters. Time with the Holy Spirit loving on me. Time to remember my precious friend who was part best friend and part spiritual Mama to me.

The ride to work will never be the same. It will be different.

My life without Martha Smith in it will never be the same, either... 

But it will be better because she was in it for so long.

I love you, my beautiful friend. I've said it before and I'll say it again, "I thank my God every time I remember you." Philippians 1:3

Enjoy every bit of heaven. Well done, good and faithful servant.  - Christie


Popular Posts