Greatest accomplishment?

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On 12th December 2014, we left South Africa for a month’s holiday overseas. In the weeks preceding our departure I was packing, making lists, cleaning, making lists, washing, and making lists . . . I wanted to, no, needed to be prepared. Life’s busy, so I had to give myself sufficient time to ensure nothing was left out of our backpacks. I discovered that hubby needed another pair of jeans, he needed shoes, I needed lip-ice, and I knew there’d be more odds and sods to be bought before we boarded our flight.

As I cleaned and sorted out around the house, I came across a beautiful card.

My 2014 Mother’s Day card.

I opened it and read. In an instant, thoughts of my white, Finnish Christmas were forgotten. Thoughts of seeing the beautiful architecture of Budapest were forgotten. These images that I had yet to behold were replaced by the real reason behind my excitement for our trip as a familiar, loved face that I hadn’t seen since that January filled my mind. Soon I would see my youngest son again.

Kyle is a missionary in Budapest. We would spend a few days there with Kyle and his wife, Tiia, and then head over to Finland together to spend Christmas with Tiia’s family. It would be our first white Christmas, but it was going to be great because of who we would get to spend it with, not because of what we would see.

Inside the card were three messages—short, handwritten ones from my hubby and oldest son, Ryan, and a long, typed note from Kyle, printed and pasted inside.

Dear Mom! (Kyle loves exclamation marks…)

Mother’s Day has been really confusing for me this year… To my shock I have already had 2 Mother’s days in the last week. Can you believe that there are different dates for Finland, Hungary and South Africa! Well, I’m glad I didn’t miss it, I was convinced that had it happened in South Africa yet, someone would have let me know.

I think Mother’s day is all about honouring your Mom for all they do for us children… Thanks for being a Mom worthy of honour. For inspiring, for motivating, for hugging and kissing, for loving, for leading, for teaching, for caring, for feeding, for cleaning and for every time you helped to discipline us into the men we are today. I think the way to honor your Mom and Dad is to show the world the good fruit that they have sown. Pretty Biblical too. I hope we can both, as kids, show off the good fruit we have grown.

Love you lots!
Kyle.

Bookmark 1bIn between all my packing for overseas, I had also been preparing an author interview for a blog I was to appear on in December. One of the questions asked of me was: “What is your greatest accomplishment?” I thought for just a moment. Publishing a book? Two? No. For me, there was only one answer. “Raising two awesome sons.

I wiped away the tears that threatened as I closed the card. There’s a tear off bookmark and I decided it was time it found a home in my Bible. I removed the rectangular cardboard which said, “A mom holds you in her arms for a while, and you hold her in your heart forever.”

Later that morning, I wiped away more tears, ones I could not contain as I read another message. My mother wasn’t well. Diagnosed a few weeks before with heart failure, we could see life finally taking its toll on her, and the awful truth became a reality. We wouldn’t have her for much longer.

The bookmark reminded me that no matter how long I still have with her on this earth, my mother would always be in my heart, and that mom and I have an eternity with Jesus to look forward to.

As I read the WhatsApp messages that followed between my siblings and nieces on our family chat group, I prayed that as a daughter I had done enough, said enough, to make my mother proud. But I knew if my mother were asked: “What was your greatest accomplishment in life?” her answer would be a resounding, “Raising four awesome children…two sons and two daughters.”

What would you answer to the question? What has your greatest accomplishment in life been?

Marion Ueckermann

Marion’s passion for writing was sparked when she moved to Ireland with her family. Her love of travel has influenced her contemporary inspirational romances set in novel places. Marion and her husband again live in South Africa, but with two gorgeous grandsons hanging their hats at the house next door, their empty nest’s no longer so empty.

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16 Comments

  1. Heidi Blankenship January 30, 2015 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    Beautifully written, Marion. I’m proud of the things I’ve achieved in life so far, but all of the usual stuff is nothing compared to the gift of raising our boys. I’m humbled and grateful that the Lord blessed us with 3 sons to raise.

  2. Nancy Kimball January 30, 2015 at 6:34 pm - Reply

    What a beautiful article, Marion. My greatest accomplishment in life IS my book baby, as I have no children of my own. I will never forget the first time I held the printed book in my hands. The Lord saved me, in more ways than one, and part of my healing was the writing of my first complete novel. If I am ever blessed with children of my own, I hope to do as great a job raising them as my parents did, and you and your husband with your sons. Much love – NK

    • Marion Ueckermann February 2, 2015 at 4:33 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Nancy. And that book baby is indeed an amazing accomplishment. You have done a fine job “raising” Jonathan … everybody loves him! Thank you, so much for your lovely compliment 🙂 Any chance of meeting “Jonathan” in September in Dallas? 🙂

      Much love too!

  3. Kyle Ueckermann January 30, 2015 at 6:58 pm - Reply

    Thanks Mom for a great blog.

    As I think over this I needed to take a moment to really examine what that question means. Was it moment? An action? A decision?

    I think when it truly comes down to it, the only things that are worthy of even considering are those of eternal importance.

    Family.

    For me, my greatest acomplishment… making the decision to get married and sticking by it.

    A world that turns their back on marriage makes it more challenging but it has been the most fulfilling, challenging, joyful, exciting and significant thing in my life thus far.

    • Marion Ueckermann February 2, 2015 at 4:37 pm - Reply

      Kyle, thanks for always being such a source of writing material for me. You and Ryan, my sons, and my 30 years of marriage this year to your dad, the most wonderful man in the world, are and will always be the greatest thing I’ve ever achieved on this planet. I thank God for blessing me way beyond what I deserve.

      Love you so much!

  4. LoRee Peery January 30, 2015 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    This accomplishment question always stumps me. I don’t think I’ve ever done anything on my own that matters. I strive for God to accomplish His work through me. Raising godly children is a huge goal. One thing did come to mind… over Christmas break I received a call from my 9 1/2-yr-old grandson. I was granny nanny to him until a year ago. “Grandma? I’m having my first sleep-over tomorrow night. It’s (friend’s name) first sleep-over too. would you pray for my friend, (name)? He needs to know Jesus.”

    • Marion Ueckermann February 2, 2015 at 4:40 pm - Reply

      LoRee, how precious. And you’re so right, even though we look at our accomplishments, at the end of the day, they’re not OUR accomplishments but God’s blessings.

  5. Janet Ferguson January 30, 2015 at 9:07 pm - Reply

    I’m with you Marion. Being a mother has been one of the most important jobs in my life. Motherhood also led me to work as a children’s minister at our church and a high school librarian in our school district where hopefully I planted a few seeds for the kingdom.

    • Marion Ueckermann February 2, 2015 at 4:45 pm - Reply

      Janet, what calling can be higher than to plant seeds into children’s lives that one day will hopefully bring forth a huge harvest. Who knows what impact those children will have on the world one day?

    • Marion Ueckermann February 2, 2015 at 4:46 pm - Reply

      Janet, what calling can be higher than to plant seeds into children’s lives that one day will hopefully bring forth a huge harvest? Who knows what impact those children will have on the world one day?

  6. Sandra Orchard January 30, 2015 at 10:15 pm - Reply

    What a lovely card. As soon as I saw the pic at the top of the post, I knew your answer would be the same as mine in the question you pose in the title. Well, in my case, three wonderful children. I have to wonder about your use of the word “but” after “this would be our first white Christmas”. Doesn’t everyone dream of a white Christmas? 😉 (asking from Canada)

    • Marion Ueckermann February 2, 2015 at 5:05 pm - Reply

      LOL, I guess most people dream of a white Christmas (except those who don’t know that it can be white), and of course, I did explain the reason for the ‘but’ … seeing one’s son after almost a year definitely trumps the excitement for a white Christmas 🙂

  7. Lydia Malan January 31, 2015 at 11:31 pm - Reply

    Marion, my little sister, my rock and my best friend. Such a lovely blog, and yes I would agree with you…. my greatest accomplishment was raising three awesome daughters. Now as times get harder with mom’s illness I realise more and more that growing old is not easy! As I watch both our parents getting frail, forgetful, confused …. knowing that we will one day have to face them leaving us, I am comforted at the thought that, They have fought the good fight and run the race ….. and now awaits a crown of glory for them. Soon they will exchange the mortal for the immortal – an eternity with their Lord and Saviour. How blessed we have been as a family to have had parents who showed us the way to Jesus, and taught us how to love each other unconditionally. Thank you for your love and support during this time, it has meant so much to me .. love you with all my heart! xx

  8. Marion Ueckermann February 2, 2015 at 5:08 pm - Reply

    Thanks, Lyd 🙂 Yes, our family truly are blessed – generation, after generation. How I wish I could do far more than I do to help with mom and dad – if only we lived much closer 🙂 Love you BIG MUCH, too (as Phoebe would say). Thank you for all you do for mom and dad.

  9. Sara Goff February 3, 2015 at 1:17 am - Reply

    This brought tears to my eyes. I have two boys, as well, and I’m in the thick of raising them (ages 0 and 6). Yes, they are certainly my greatest accomplishment, even those days when I feel I’ve failed them. The beautiful part is that they don’t see my failures.

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