Mom’s “Minute Devo”–Monday, Jan. 21st

Last Friday, my son Joshua, a senior at Baylor, was in a three car pile up, resulting in his car being totaled; yet, he was NOT injured-Praise God!! Definitely shaken and sore, he walked away from the accident. From the police analysis, the wreck could have ended in loss of life in any of the three vehicles involved, and EVERYONE walked away! Miraculous!! 

Earlier in the week, I had a near miss of rear-ending someone because I glanced down for a split second to find my phone-not even to read it, just to grab it out of my lap. I was forced to slam on the brakes and everything in the van flew forward! I was shaken. I was sobered. My attention was caught! 

Soon after Josh’s wreck on Friday, I received a phone call from a friend in Killeen, asking how Josh was, as she heard from her youngest son of the situation. We talked briefly and she shared about the letter below, which she wrote to her four sons just a few months ago. Patty Wallace, the mother of now four grown young men, is just a little father down the road in her “Mom” experience than I am, as her youngest is a Baylor sophomore. Her words spoke to me on so many levels that I wanted to share it with you!! I believe it is a “NOW” word for us and I pray it will challenge and encourage you as it did me! 

“A Letter to my Sons,
I have decided that it is important for me to tell you what is on my heart after a conversation I had with my beloved son James following a car incident tonight, knowing that other parents have lost sons and daughters to far less intense situations. This letter is not just about James, but about each of you. I am thankful that my great love for you, James, Nathan, Tyler, and John, has given me the opportunity to say this now.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude that this incident, and other incidents in each of your lives, did not include injury. I am deeply grateful that there are more days for you each to live and grow and learn and enjoy being here with us. As I told James on the phone, and will tell each of you here: There is no comparison when talking about a car versus a person. Cars can be replaced, but people cannot. We are not rushing to a hospital, but only planning to fix some dents and replace some car parts, as we have with each of you in similar situations. Nevertheless, this is a wake-up call for all of us. We have so much to be thankful for in getting to walk away from an accident, and so much to “wake-up” to with the opportunity to take steps forward. I believe that wake-up calls like this are just that, an opportunity to wake up and pay attention. Isn’t the point of wake-up call service at a hotel that you are woken up to begin the day? Of course there is the option of hitting snooze, but I’m asking that we take this opportunity, this privilege, this second chance, to wake up and pay attention not only when driving, but in every aspect of life. Where are you asleep at the wheel? In what area of your life are you or I pretending we can “get away” with not preparing to do our best, not being invested enough to insure the best outcome, not paying attention enough to make others feel regarded? In what areas of our lives are we not tending to others who are on the front lines for us?

I want to tell you that we all have a responsibility to pay attention. I face this decision every day since my job involves one hour commutes between each of four schools. If I leave late, I am tempted to speed and put myself and others at risk because of my lack of self-discipline to prepare and leave on time. Behind the wheel of a car is the number one place that we should all pay attention. If you or I drive a car carelessly, we are putting not only our lives, but the lives of every person around us at risk. Your actions and mine determine whether we and the people near us have a future on this earth. Taking the responsibility and necessary steps to plan ahead is a life or death issue: Go to bed on time (midnight is when each day ends, and so should your endeavors), wake up on time, perform preparatory actions in advance, plan the route, decide to remove or reduce distractions such as phones, music, alcohol, or noisy passengers. One of my strategies is that when my phone distracts me I say out loud “Put It down” and immediately set it down in an exaggerated way. What are your strategies to keep you and others safe?

When I was in graduate school, I decided to stay a little longer with my boyfriend (now your dad) at our lake house in Duncan before driving back to Oklahoma City. I fell asleep at the wheel and veered off the road to the right. I woke up in time to catch a glimpse of a road sign directly in front of me before over-correcting with a hard left across four lanes, spinning 180 degrees on the way down an embankment on the other side of the overpass I had crossed just before waking up. If this had happened two seconds earlier, I would have driven off of the overpass. Nathan, you have been in a car accident with your precious wife asleep next to you. Tyler, you have been in a car accident with a telephone pole where your boat came off the trailer and nearly through the back window of your car. John, you hit a telephone pole as a teen after hitting some loose gravel and you told me tonight that “that’s all it took” to get your attention.

Recently in teacher training we learned about personal regard for our students, and what a huge difference it makes in their ability to engage in their own education. Personal regard of a student requires paying attention to what their interests are, what their concerns are, what their demeanor is, and initiating responses to them that show specific concern, praise, or encouragement. I use that as a reminder to have personal regard for the presence of the Holy Spirit in any place that I am in. God’s presence in my daily life involves me acknowledging Him, valuing His interests and concerns, praising Him, and inviting His activity in my life and in the world. Regarding Him requires my focused attention. Regarding people that I love requires my attention. Protecting my own life and that of the people that surround me requires my attention. Paying attention requires that you are healthy, rested, and fed.

One of my goals in life is to take care of my own health and well-being so that my husband and children are not distracted from their life goals by having an unhealthy wife and mother to care for. A message that dad sent you before his surgery was to ask his sons to take care of their business, whatever that is, and that he would take care of his. I would encourage you to attend to and take care of your own business, your own health and well-being, and to pay attention to whatever things are in front of you whether it is a road, a test, a relationship, a pile of dirty laundry, a friend in need, evidence of your own fatigue or lack of nourishment, or an opportunity to grow or use your talents. Look ahead, but not so far ahead that you fail to see what is right in front of you. Never quit trying.

I am so grateful to get to be your mom, even though I know you do not belong to me. If you haven’t heard me say it before, I chose to have children because children are eternal. I love each of you just the way you are, just for who you are. I love every minute that I get to spend with you, or thinking about where you are and how you are doing. I am profoundly impressed by the level of intensity and success each of you has attained in your individual passions: Leading others to worship, serving the public as a first-responder, creating treasures with your hands, engineering music, seeing beauty through a lens. Finally, one of the things I am most proud of you for is loving each other well and unconditionally like Jesus does.
I love each of you dearly, Mom : )

at·tend /əˈtend/-verb-be present at, sit in on, take part in; appear at, present oneself at, turn up at, visit, go to; show up at, show one’s face at, go regularly to, deal with, see to, manage, organize, sort out, handle, take care of, take charge of, take in hand, tackle. Antonym: miss

Blessings on your week! 

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