Sunday, May 10, 2009

A New Name...

My mom was born into the world as Joyce Fay Franks, daughter of Sheriden and Nola. Her mom died when she was only 12 years old, leaving her to pretty much raise two brothers--ages 5 and 3--and causing her to abandon childhood and take on the role of "mother."

Eventually, she had to quit high school and go to work to help put food on the table for her family...a sacrifice never appreciated by the stern grandmother who lived with them.

My mother's life has been hard...very hard. Her daddy and grandmother and brothers and sisters and their children have always looked to her when crises hit...and there have been many crises.

And...over the years...the weight of all those people needing so much much much her...has taken its toll. But she is still standing.

She might need a cane most days...but she is still standing.

During her almost 77 years, she has gone by many names--daughter, sister, aunt, friend, sweetheart, wife, mommy (followed eventually of course by mama, mom, mother), DoeDoe, Joycie. And she has loved them all.

But, I think her favorite name arrived about 15 years ago when she began to be called "Dae."

My oldest son, Garrett, gave her that name one day. She had wanted to be called granny. I think I figured out how he came up with it: whenever he and I would be headed to Alabama or she would be headed here, I would tell him, "You're gonna see granny to-DAY." And the last syllable just stuck.

...It suits her well. She had a cousin, Delilah, whose granddaughter called her "Mornin'." Mama used to tease Delilah that "Dae" lasted a lot longer than "Mornin."

These days, not only do her four grandsons call her Dae, but so do we and the rest of our family and our friends and our boys' friends. It's a good name.

Everyone who knows Dae realizes she has that spiritual gift known as mercy. In the words of her cousin Fran, "Joyce is always taking in strays and lost causes." At times, her "exercise" of that gift has caused conflict between the two of us. Most of the time, I just want her to tell them, "You need help that I cannot give." As anyone in my life would tell you--I do not have the gift of mercy. I'm not proud of that fact...but I just don't.

But...several years ago, when I was reading in the Old Testament, I ran across a verse that sums up Dae's life. (Ironically, it comes from the book whose name her second grandson bears.) It is how she has lived and...according to God's is ALL He requires:
With what shall I come before the LORD
and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings...?
He has shown you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To live justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
(Micah 6:6, 8)
So...Dae...we love you. And, we hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day. You have embraced well every name you've ever inherited--daughter, sister, aunt, friend, sweetheart, wife, mommy, DoeDoe, Joycie....Dae.

And...we know you will wear well the final name--the new one your Savior gives you one day.
To everyone who is victorious...
I will give to each one a white stone,
and on the stone will be engraved a new name,
a name that no one understands
except the one who receives it.
(Revelation 2:16-18, NLT)

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