• Chiquta Harris

Happy Birthday Queen!!

Today is March 22, the birthday of one of the most influential people in my life, my mother, Lula M. Gay. She would have been 86 years old.

I am not sure why, but I find myself thinking more about her lately. How lovely it would be to go and visit her so that she can spoil my kids. How wonderful to call her up and ask about her recipes and just listen to her wisdom.

I contemplate her selflessness and how she raised her son, his kids and his kids' kids (me). She was 57 years old when she started raising me. 5-7!! I cannot imagine raising someone else's child at 57, but she did. Though her education extended no further than middle school, she accomplished so much within her lifetime. I think about her love, patience and perseverance all of the time, especially when dealing with my own children. She genuinely loved me.

One of the most important things my grandmother gave me was Jesus. Y'all…I stayed in church! Like constantly. We would even arrive to church extra early and would sit outside and read over our Sunday school lessons while we waited. But it was more than church. It was Jesus. She not only taught me about Him but showed me Him everyday through her lifestyle. Growing up, I HATED IT do you hear me?!? No one ever came to our house because smoking, drinking and those Satan cards were not allowed at her house. When we would go places, people would always leave or change the music. However, she was a woman of standards and she sought to impart that those same standards and values to me.

Like any other girl growing up, their mother was not their best friend (more so like their worse enemy) and we had our moments. Yet, we were no different than any other mother-daughter relationship and like most mothers, she was always there when I needed her. I remember graduating from high school and her being in the audience. I remember talking to her about my college courses. And a biggie, I remember when Jay asked her if he could marry me (of course she said yes) and then she told me that he had asked (she kinda missed the point on this one, but nevertheless she was so happy). She was there when we "snuck away" and married. She was always there for me.

My mother was such a crucial element in my growth and development. Looking back, I understand and I am thankful. Although we did not have much, we had enough. She taught me things that I will never forget, whose value extends further than any amount of money. We had so many good times and were thick as thieves. I understand now that all of those events with her were needed in order to create the Godly foundation that I have today. The slightest change would have resulted in a different me.

My mother died the day after Christmas in 2010. I remember her last moments like they were yesterday. I remember being so numb, but having to keep it all together as I prepared for her funeral days later. I remember driving back home and breaking down because going home would never be the same. The hurt was indescribable. However, I found comfort in knowing that my mother was safe and was no longer suffering from her various ailments or the thoughts of getting older and deteriorating.

I thought it was quite interesting to look back and see that she died not too long after I married and moved away. It makes me think about how God used her life for others and once I was at a point to take care of myself, He called her home.

From my short 22 years of experiencing life with her, I can attest to the genuine feeling of sacrificial Earthly love. She loved me with a Godly love. She trusted God to help her raise me. An African American woman in her late 50s with little education in the deep south raised a Godly woman who has graduated with 2 degrees, who also continues to reverence and serve God whole-hearted alongside her husband and children. My life is a prime example of how God will use anyone. Your results may not be reaped during your season or generation. You may just be the planter for someone else. You may just be the bridge. But regardless of the size of the seed, placed in the hands of God, a forest can grow. Her "little" was much in God's Hands.

Thank you to my Heavenly Father for your grace and mercy toward me. I am so undeserving of any of it. To my mother, Thank you! Thank you for all of your love and sacrifices (seen and unseen) for me. Happy Birthday Queen!!

P.S. We were just getting home from church in this picture.


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