Where do I even begin? I guess I’ll start at the beginning. Our story begins on September 3, 1978 when my mom gave birth to me. Three years later, my sister came into the picture. Shortly after Andrea was born, our world was flipped upside down when Mom suffered a nervous breakdown. Little did we realize the impact this illness would have on our life and little did we know how Mom would become an amazing role model and example of God’s love to both of us.
Growing up, life was not easy. Mom would be hospitalized at least once a year. Our dad farmed on his family’s farm so we spent a lot of time with our Grandparents. As a child, Mom’s illness often interfered with our life. Yet when she was well, Mom was the best mom in the world! My sophomore year of high school, our parents divorced. It was the first time I had ever seen my dad cry. It took a lot of guts for him to utter the words he did: “It is not that I don’t love your mom anymore. It is that I cannot handle this illness anymore.” In mere moments, our family was torn apart due to this devastating illness.
Yet despite everything, my mom Sandy is one of the most amazing woman in the world. She has lived most of my life with a mental illness, yet she has never let that get in the way of who and whose she is. She daily lives with a servant heart. She literally would give the shirt off of her back to someone in need. She is also one of the kindest and gentlest souls in my life. She deeply values her family which is a trait that she has passed onto my sister and I.
Mom has her good days and her bad days. This past summer has been full of more bad days than good days. Yet I am so very thankful for all she has taught me; to take time to play; to be kind to others; to shower God’s love upon all God’s people especially those that are different than me; to live each day to the fullest and to never take anything for granted. But most importantly, my mom has continually taught me to what it means to love and be loved!