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Generation to generation

by Mary Lindberg

I’m holding a letter my mom wrote to me when I was in my first year of seminary. The mere glimpse of her handwriting brings back a wealth of memories. My mom sent the letter to encourage me during a frustrating time in my life. I was caring for a 93-year-old woman while I was attending seminary, and some days got to be very long. “Let God help you,” my mom advised. “God can give us strength for any situation.”

I found my mom’s letter quite patronizing at the time. I was busy studying God in a Master’s of Divinity program. I wasn’t interested in my mom’s sentimentalized notions of God and faith. Thanks, but you don’t get it, Mom.

Now, decades later, I am close to the same age my mom was when she wrote her letter. If she were still alive, I could tell her—Mom, now I get it! My older age has provided me with years of data upon which I can look back and see God’s activity in my life. I recognize the many times that I was carried by God and able to engage with others in God’s work.

And now I am a mom, with daughters nearing the same age I was when I received my mom’s letter. My hopes, prayers and fears for Molly (21) and June (17) undoubtedly mirror the dreams and concerns my mom had for me. My witness about God’s salvation, like hers, may go unheeded for now, lying fallow until some kairos time in my daughters’ lives. In the meantime, my daughters keep teaching me about God.

Mary Lindberg is a Seattle-area parent, pastor and former teacher. She and her husband, Chris, have two young adult daughters, Molly and June.

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