A Tribute to Diane Idleman

What do you say about someone who invested more into your life than anyone else?

My mother, Diane Idleman, passed away on September 22, 2020. We were texting back and forth that morning when she said that she wasn’t feeling well. Her next text read, “I think I need to go to the hospital.” And that’s the last correspondence I received from her. She died of a heart aneurysm. We are celebrating her life on October 10, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. at Lancaster JetHawk Stadium as part of our October at the Stadium church event.

She was a spiritual giant who offered incredible guidance and encouragement and an overall positive attitude toward challenges no matter how great. When I found myself in battles difficult to face, it was her compassion, understanding, and constant reference to God’s Word that preserved me. Not only was she a great mother, she was an exceptional editor. If you have ever read any of my articles over the last decade, you have no doubt read some of her words as well.

A few brief decades ago, being a devoted mother was viewed as the most important job one could have. Society understood the famous quote from William R. Wallace, “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world,” and, thus, promoted parenthood. Not so today. Many women feel worthless without a career. It is a misconception that a stay-at-home parent has a minimal job. My mother postponed her profession until we were raised, and for that we are deeply grateful.

While at home raising three children, she was active in the community and helped my father with our family business, but she felt her greatest priority was in assuring the well-being of her family. Qualities such as honesty, integrity, commitment, and discipline and a very strong work ethic are not easily taught or transmitted through mere words. They are instilled through lives that model these traits.

The involvement of both parents in the lives of their children (when possible) helps to impart values through modeled behavior. I took a temporary left turn in my late teens and through my twenties; however, my parents’ examples left an indelible impression. I’ll be forever thankful for the time we shared, the lessons I learned, and the person I became as a result of the time we spent together. Never underestimate the power of parenting!

Make no mistake about it—we live in a society that emphasizes wealth and what we possess, and we often fail to remember that these things have no eternal value. I don’t remember my parents’ income or many of the physical things they gave to me. I do, however, remember the values they taught—those things that money cannot buy. They taught me that success is not measured by what we have but, rather, by what we give. It’s been well stated that “the best things in life aren’t things.”

Principles to Live By

Searching my files, I found an old piece of paper from the early 1980s that my mother handed me. On it, she listed several character traits that men should strive to possess—I couldn’t have chosen better words to include in this short tribute about what she has taught me.

Seek to be a man who…

  • above all, sincerely desires to love and serve the Lord.
  • hungers for a righteous spirit and is honest at all times despite the cost.
  • chooses words and actions that are wise and well thought through, considering first the consequences, and one who does not act impulsively in anger with words or actions.
  • desires to protect, preserve, appreciate, and encourage the beauty in a woman and who recognizes his own strength and masculinity as created by God for a specific purpose.
  • focuses on the needs of others rather than his own and is not critical and domineering when communicating.
  • works hard and will stop at nothing to accomplish what God has set before him.
  • stretches the limits of his body, soul, and spirit to excel in every area possible and to recognize those areas.
  • desires to encourage and nurture others rather than to overpower and control.
  • seeks excellence in all things and lives to that end.

Thank you, Mom, for the many days, nights, weeks, and months invested. And thank you for praying for me for so many years. A tribute of a million words could not even begin to encapsulate your impact on my life and the life of the Idleman family.

In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “All that I am, and all that I’ll ever be, I owe to my mother!”

Final Thoughts from a Friend

One of our WCF members, Paula Agee, sums it up well: “It’s not often that we get the gift of someone to come along in our lifetime who touches and blesses us as profoundly and deeply as your mother touched me. I’ve tried to find the words to tell you how I loved her, to tell you how I rejoice that she is free! Her Great Commission and works are finished here on this side of heaven. She was a warrior who not only committed herself to honor our Lord but had a gift and tenacity to bring all people unto Christ as well. Love poured out of your mother without her ever speaking a word.”