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“Whither thou goest I will go, whither thou lodgest, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, My God.”

We’ve had quite a journey my mom-in-law and I. We kind of did it the other way around though. I went with her son to Africa. Before we had even met, Jerry and I were on our own journey to Southern Africa. God saw fit to cross our paths and 2 years later we found ourselves married, with a shared calling, in Africa on a true journey of our hearts. We were together and we were happy serving God in the most unlikely place for us two American “yuppies”. A few years later, she joined us in our work, giving us a Principal for our new school and a live-in grandmother for our kids. Here is the story of how my Mother in Law, become my Mother in Love.

The first time I met Pat Lackey aka “Miss Pat”, was Thanksgiving week, of 1985. Jerry and I were getting serious in our relationship, so we made the long drive up to Radcliff, Kentucky to meet his mama.  I heard from a family friend that she was a really likable person and that she would just love me! Still, I was nervous! We arrived to the smell of  a wonderful Turkey dinner.  I instantly felt at ease and comfortable. It was true, we hit it off well. Come Monday, she was off to the school she had started and was Principal, at the local Assembly of God Church. We went to visit and I was astounded by her leadership of the kids and staff. She came home later with bite marks on her from a kid that had some serious behavioral problems. I heard the story and was moved to tears at the way she handled it. She held the little boy tight in her arms, praying for him, loving him, until he finally melted in the love that he was being surrounded with. It was not the first, or last child whose life was changed by her love and faith in him. It was a stubborn love and was not the only time I would see that in action on behalf of a troubled child!

A Life Changed:

I think of “Esa”. The boy brought to our school when no other school could help him. They said he had learning disabilities. Under Miss Pat’s watchful eye, the boy grew in confidence and in spite of plenty of episodes of “discipline”. She saw the potential, the hidden gifts in him and brought those out. Today-17 years later, he is a college graduate, a successful businessman, an entrepreneur who is active in the men’s ministry of our church.

Penned by Jeff Lackey:

A Poem For My Mother

She was born in a small town

a homecoming queen with a musical sound,

From Nebraska to Kentucky

we followed the work,

Each place made special

by the lessons we learned:

Nature is magic

Belief is your friend

Animals can talk

Keep the child within,

She  taught us that people are basically good

Save a place for forgiveness –

when things don’t work as they should

We’re all connected despite what it seems

You can find excitement in your smallest of dreams

If you try and change her

You’re wasting your time

If you’re looking for head-strong

she carries the sign

But she channels the spirit from a place up above

and she wears the clothes of unconditional love

As time passes and I finish this line,

paper and pen fall short

when I try to describe

My mother, my friend, a teacher of life.

…to be continued