Today is November 10. It is the 1 year anniversary of the day that Juanita Waxler (my mom) pass away and moved on to celebrate eternity with her Savior Jesus Christ and with her family and friends who passed before her. This day, Saturday, is also the anniversary of her memorial service that celebrated her life. At that service, I was blessed to give a eulogy and represent our family in celebration of mom's love for her family and for her God. For those of you who may not have been able to make it to that service and for those who were, here are the words that I spoke on that day. We miss her so greatly each and every day. I hope through your reading this you can celebrate with me the life of such a wonderful mother and friend.
We are here today to celebrate the life of my mom, Juanita Waxler, who in some way or another, either directly or indirectly touched each of the lives in this room. Whether you have known her for years or if you know someone here who knew her, you have been affected by her. As for me, my mom was possibly the greatest influence on my life. So I wanted to share some of the things that she taught me as well as voice the message that I know she wanted to have shared at her memorial service.
When I think of my mom, as many of us do, we first think of how she loved her Savior, Jesus Christ more than anything else this world could offer. Through all of life she moved along with a motto that she learned at one of the many bible studies or revival services that she played for and attended. It simply says, “Whatever Lord!!” Whether she was laid out in a hospital bed or rejoicing with us at the birth of our children or celebrating our birthday with our favorite meal (even if it took all afternoon to cook), she was always showing her smile and assurance the she was where her Savior was guiding her to be. All the while her love for God was displayed for us by what the Bible calls the Fruits of the Spirit. In Galatians 5 we learn that: “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and sef-control.”
So, as I thought about how to share what my mother has meant to my life and some of the stories, I thought it best to tell how she showed these Fruits in her life.
Love – Mom simply loved EVERYONE. Whether a stranger on the street or at the grocery store or a family member, there was not a person that she met who was not overwhelmed by her smile and acceptance of them just as they are with no pretenses. Her unconditional love for all brightened days and changed lives. I am certain there were high school students who chose to be in Choir because they knew that Mom was going to be behind the piano each day during class… We would bring our friends over for dinner or a holiday and she would, without hesitation, go to the cabinet and get another plate to add to the table and ask someone to get another chair for them. All were accepted at the table and all were loved.
Joy – She showed her joy for life as she would watch her three sons together. She always said that those were some of her favorite times when she could finagle a way to get the three of us together just to see what we would do next. One of my favorite memories growing up was around the Sunday afternoon lunch table or at a restaurant. We would get going on some string of jokes or some funny story and that would build upon itself until we were all in hysterics. All the while, mom would just sit back and laugh and laugh at us not wanting the moment to end too soon.
Peace – Right at a year ago, mom suffered a major stroke that took away her speech, her ability to walk and her ability to do the thing she loved the most; playing piano. As I sat in the ICU with her facing so many issues and challenges ahead, we cried together and she looked at me, pointed to the sky and gave her infamous shrug to say “Whatever, Lord!”. No matter what she faced, she displayed a tremendous example of God’s Peace beyond understanding knowing that God is Sovereign and he controls the situations of life. What a great example for us all to remember as we face trials in our lives.
Patience – Mom had to live with 4 boys in the house. Enough said!! With all of the silly and dumb things that we would do, she would always give us advice in a loving and patient way. Even though in her heart I know she really wanted to just shout out how stupid we really were acting, she would show us her patient side and let us discover our errors on our own.
Kindness – Mom’s kindness showed in her willingness to give of herself no matter the cost. She would give of her time to play piano or lead the WMU back in the days Memorial Baptist or help with VBS and do so without the smallest of complaints. Personally, Jerry, David and I never left home to go on a long trip without a $20 slipped into our hand for “gas money”.
Goodness – Throughout the years and especially in the last few years I was always fascinated with mom’s choice of television shows. It seemed the most scandalous that she got was some of the videos on CMT or the frustrations displayed on the GameShow Network. Mom never had any desire to see an R rated movie or get into the crime shows of today. She just wanted simple goodness in her entertainment and in her life.
Faithfulness – The greatest display of mom’s faithfulness is the fact that she stuck with our dad for 48 years. No matter the struggle, whether finances or health or the crime rate rising in the Aldine area. Mom was faithful to one man and devoted her entire self to seeing that he was the best that he could be. Without a doubt, that example will lead us sons as we make our journeys with our wives and families.
Gentleness – I think of her gentleness as she accompanied soloists, choirs and church services for virtually her entire life and taught so many piano lessons. During practice sessions or piano lessons, being sensitive to the music, she would follow and repeat the passage over and over again until it was right and then always leave you with a word of encouragement making you feel that you were the best that ever played that instrument. I try to model that example in the music lessons that I teach to this day. Of course, speaking of lessons, I have to share that it did not always work with her sons during late night piano lessons. I remember taking lessons as a child in the formal living room of our house on Coach Road. After a long day of work at the legal firm and then cooking and cleaning up dinner, we would sit down to have our lesson just before bedtime. She would make it for about 5 minutes and then I would ask out loud, “Is that right, mom?” only to be met with a loud snore because she was sitting in the easy chair and the long day had caught up to her. She was gentle in her teaching methods.
And Self-Control – I cannot remember a time when my mother ever completely showed her anger in a way that was not controlled and reasonable. Mom always seemed to be in control of her emotions. She also was in control of her tough and taught me to do the same. I remember as a child in the bath one day just cussing up a storm with my toys. Suddenly, I hear from the other room (and I quote) “Mark Edward Waxler, what did you say?” I knew from that day forward to never cuss in front of mom again. And that brings up the fact that if she ever said all 3 of our names together, we knew we were in trouble.
Mom showed the world what it was like to live life as a Christ follower. But mom understood what it means when the bible says in Romans that no one is perfect and that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s standards. Mom was not perfect. But God provided a way for us to be made right when he sent his son Jesus to the world to die a horrible death on a cross, absorbing the wrath from God that was due to us as sinners. After he died for our sins, he then rose again from the dead and conquered death, thus providing a way for us to be forgiven of our sins and overcome death as well. Mom understood that the only way for Eternal Life was to accept that we are sinners against God and that Jesus died on the cross to pay the punishment for that sin. And if we believe that he did that for us, we can receive his forgiveness and the prize of Eternal Life. You see mom is not hurting anymore. She can fully stand and run and move both arms and sing with a full voice around the Holy Throne of God. Christ was and is her Savior. He provided a way for all to receive that Eternal Life just like mom. I know that she wants this truth to be told at her memorial service more than memories or stories. You see she knew that what really matters in life is what you do with this truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Through many conversations with her I learned that this was most important to Mom, that all would hear and know this Truth.
Today we rejoice for mom as she is rejoicing with her Savior Jesus Christ and we long to be there with her some day. We will miss mom more than words can say, but we know there is a hope to see her again someday and worship around God’s Throne with her on that Glorious Day!
We miss you Mom!!