Happy Mother’s Day

I was talking to our daughter Hannah today – wishing her a Happy Mother’s Day – expressing to her how thankful I am for the mothers she and her sisters are. I sent them these flowers, well this picture of the flowers. ūüôā

Hannah thanked me for being her mother, which has been a blessing since the day her smile graced this world. I told her I had a wonderful mother who also had a wonderful mother!

Truth be told, I am not sure about the mothers beyond that. My mother’s mother left Sweden in 1920 – by herself – at 16 to immigrate to the United States. Great Grandma Anderson did something I can’t imagine allowing my daughter do at 16 years old – leave on a ship traversing the ocean not knowing if I would ever see her again!

The mothers in my families’ past (as far as family stories go) share one foundational characteristic – faith in God. I have a picture of my Grandmother Barker as a small child on her Grandmother Brant’s lap. It was taken in 1898 and there are white tents in the background. The family is at a church Camp Meeting in rural Illinois. I have Grandma Barker’s Bible and it is well marked and her notes line the margins.

So, I am the blessed recipient of generations of mothers who have lived with faith in God. They certainly weren’t perfect, nor did they have lives void of pain and suffering. Yet by the grace of God they passed on that faith to following generations including me.

The sermon today included the following passage of scripture about Mary, Jesus’ mother. After the angel comes to Mary to announce that she will give birth to the Son of God by the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth. Luke 1:39-45 says

39 A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town 40 where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

42¬†Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, ‚ÄúGod has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed.¬†43¬†Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me?¬†44¬†When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy.¬†45¬†You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.‚ÄĚ

The last verse – 45 – jumped out at me. Why was Mary blessed? “You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.‚ÄĚ

Mary wasn’t blessed because she was perfect, more intelligent, better looking, or stronger than others. She was blessed because she had faith that God would do what he said. God told her she would give birth to the Son of God, the promised messiah who would fulfill the covenant made to Abraham. God was faithful to his promise.

I will be blessed and my children and grandchildren will be blessed from generation to generation when I have faith and believe that God will do what he said. That is the greatest legacy I can leave as a mother.

Like Mother Like Daughter

Three Generations - Four Mothers

Three Generations – Four Mothers

“You must be Esther’s daughter.”

I have heard that comment, or something similar all my life.

I have heard that phrase most recently while visiting my mother. Many of the people who live at the retirement community where my parents have lived the past two years have never met me.

They recognize me anyway!

My father passed on to his heavenly home on February 10.

My mother has rejoiced in the fact that Dad was ready to die, he was alert until the very end, and we were all able to share our love and say goodby at the end of Dad’s life on this earth.

Yet, that is not the end of the story.

I traveled to Wheaton to visit Mom in March. She was ready to sort through Dad’s things and distribute them. His clothes were given to a ministry for refugees and immigrants, which would have pleased Dad. We also rearranged some things in her apartment and had time to share many wonderful memories.

I returned to North Carolina on March 24th and on the 25th, Mom suffered a broken femur in a car accident upon arriving at church for the Good Friday service.

My mother’s attitude since these two situations occurred has been inspirational. She has expressed gratitude to God in each case because she has seen something to be genuinely thankful for.

What has Mom been thankful for?

  • ¬†that Dad did not suffer long
  • that they had a chance to share their love and say goodby
  • that Dad was at peace
  • that she did not get hurt worse
  • that she has good care and loving caregivers
  • that my brother and sister-in-law have been so helpful

It has certainly been a blessing for me to see. I planned on comforting Mom during my visits and she has helped me to see the blessings.

“What do you expect, Gayle? God is answering everyone’s prayers for me.” Mom said recently.

Last Sunday morning Mom called me at 7:00 (6:00 in Wheaton). She said, “I know you are going to church today and that you will praise God. I want you to praise Him for how well I am doing.”

You can imagine how easy it was to praise God after that call!

James 1:2-4

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So, let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”

This Mother’s Day I am so thankful for a mother who is an example of living those verses.

I not only want to look like my mother, I want to have faith like her.

May God bless each of you who are mothers….

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

Mother’s Day

Yesterday was Mother’s Day.¬† I realized¬†I think about¬†being a daughter more on Mother’s Day than the fact that I am a mother and grandmother as well. That is primarily true¬†because my parents live with us. As they age I want to honor that relationship as long as I am blessed with their presence. So, I fixed country pork chops, etc. and used my mother’s lovely china. There were only four adults around the table and yet I chose to enjoy the special meal we shared and not focus on the children and grandchildren who were elsewhere. Mother’s Day is not just about me, even though I am a mother. Our daughters are now mothers themselves, and their husbands have mothers and grandmothers, all of whom have a claim on their time and attention.¬† I choose how I respond to the cards, calls, gifts, etc. and I must sometimes adjust my response to honor the fact that family members are where they should be and that¬†our “home” may no longer be their “home”¬†. I want to support their decisions as a family and not add a burden of guilt “if only you were here!” Certainly I miss them, but if my focus is on the ones that are¬†not¬†here, I won’t enjoy the presence of the ones that¬†are¬†with me.

I¬† remember a conversation I had with my mother right before our first child was born. First, to give some background I must say that I had an idyllic childhood. I was blessed with two Godly, loving parents who “walked the talk” and lived a consistent example before my brothers and me. Yet, they were not perfect and I wanted my mother to know that although she was a wonderful mother, I¬†needed to¬†warn her¬†that I was going to do some things differently as a parent myself. I was not going to make some of the mistakes¬† she had¬†made.¬†¬†¬†She responded with wisdom and grace, “You are right, Gayle. You won’t make the same mistakes I’ve made.¬†¬†You’ll make your own mistakes.” I knew immediately that she was right. None of us are perfect as daughters, much less as mothers. The following verse that one of our daughters uses at the end of her e-mail¬†gives me hope and comfort –

“Above all, love each other deeply, for love covers over a multitude of sin.”¬† I Peter 4:8

Above all – more important than getting my own way – ¬†LOVE each other deeply. I would venture to say that the most frequent sin that love must cover is selfishness. Just think, love covers a MULTITUDE of sin. When I feel wronged or hurt, love should be my response.¬† As a wife, daughter, mother, grandmother, and mother-in-law, I must make sure that love is the motivation behind my thoughts and actions, not my selfish desires. Then,¬†Our Father’s¬†love can do the work that will bring Him glory.

(re-posted¬†from last Mother’s Day 5-9-11)