Through the years I noticed that Renee, my mother-in-law, would occasionally take a small nip of Jack Daniels. She called it her medicine and would do it so infrequently that you wouldn’t even be able to call it a habit. In 2017, she came to visit us in Alabama from Pennsylvania for Christmas and “Santa” gave her a couple small bottle samplers of Jack Daniels in her stocking.
However, there weren’t any shot glasses in the house for her to have her sip. I teased her that she could just take her “medicine” with a tablespoon, since that’s about all she would drink. I also told her that someday, I was going to write a blog about her nipping Jack. She giggled and told me to write the blog…she went on to say, “if Iron Porch is for women to know other Christian women are real, then we should know about our favorite little nips & sips.”
At that point we had a lengthy discussion about Christian women and drinking. I had been “called out” by a church member for posting a photo of my wine glass on social media, so I was a tad gun-shy about allowing others to see the social-drinking side of my life.
She reminded me that of all masks women wear, there isn’t a single one that hides us from Christ.
Jesus literally knows everything about us…our thoughts…our fears…our dreams…our disappointments…our excitement. And He even knows when we want to have a little nip of Jack Daniels.
I admired that she was comfortable with others knowing that she enjoyed a small sip every once in a while. Her example and gentle reminder allowed me to assess the portions of my life that may be inadvertently or consciously hidden from others. She told me to take the masks off.
On a whim this last weekend, I opened a tiny-useless drawer to the left of my stovetop, which has never been used. Inside, I found a wrapped-up package of “shot glasses” with a post-it note on top. It was a message from my mother-in-law from Christmas 2017, about her next trip to Alabama.
Just a few months after she wrote that note, she was diagnosed with cancer. And just a couple weeks ago, we laid her to rest knowing that she was in heaven singing to Jesus. She never made it back to Alabama for another visit to use her nipping glasses.
While she no longer needs her Jack Daniels “medicine” or the Alabama shot glasses, she left me with a reminder to be true to myself…and not wear the masks for others.