Homage To My Mother

You never fully realize a Mother’s work and influence until you are one yourself. 

My beautiful Mother at her 75th birthday this past February.

She married my Dad at 24 years old. He came from a vastly different background than she.  My dad says with certainty it was the Lord which allowed her to love him.  He was, as he likes to say, a Tennessee hillbilly and she a beautiful Beachy girl. I can only imagine her adjustments after marriage, yet I never heard her enlarge on that. 

She birthed 8 children in 13 years, of whom I am the youngest.  Was she rundown and weary through yet another pregnancy? Did she pray for grace to mother another child when she was already busy to the brim? For by this time she was also the minister’s wife. Did she complain when her husband was gone to yet another church related meeting? Did she feel overwhelmed when Dad was heading out of state for another week of revival meetings?  I do not know.  I have never heard her complain about such things.

When I was growing up, our church had no Sunday host family, as many do now.  There were two others in the ministry but with my Dad now also being the Bishop, it seemed people took for granted we would invite any visitors. So it was many a Sunday found us hosting impromptu visitors for lunch.  My Mom didn’t go to church without being prepared for lunch.  We were a large family as it was, thus we needed to have a meal in waiting. She would often prepare extra but many were the times we still added to that food and accomadeted visitors. One Summer in particular we had visitors almost non stop.  I grew weary of company yet again!! Use hospitality one to another without grudging. (1 Peter 4:9) was an extremely convicting verse that I didn’t care to ponder. I know Mom struggled some with that but I don’t remember her grumbling around about it every weekend either. Once, Dad went through our guest book counting the number of folks we hosted in our home. In a 3 year span we had approximately 1,800 people!!! He still has those statistics downpat today- I just asked him for this post.

One Summer I vividly remember another incident. By now I was about 12- 14 years old. My Dad was gone to Cuba helping establish a small church there.  This was a communists country, but he risked his life to further the gospel. This exact trip he was baptizing and holding communion there.  They did it at night for less chance of discovery.

One night while he was gone, Mom had a terrifying experience. Her bedroom was downstairs in our old house and we children all slept upstairs.  She woke about midnight to see her bedroom door slowly opening. (The door naturally swung open unless propped.  She had a habit of propping the door open at a narrow angle with a slipper, incase any of we children needed something, we could come on in.) As she saw it opening she supposed it to be one of us. So she called out “Marc. Marc”. She thought it’s just my oldest brother getting up for work and needing something. Until she saw the clock showing almost midnight.  There was no answer to her name calling, and the door stopped opening. Indeed, fear struck deep!! She began praying fervently, wondering what she should do! She lay there unmoving, feeling hot with terror. After a minute or two she got a sudden urge to get up, slam that door shut and bolted it! It was an old door with a knob that didn’t lock, but had a sliding lock further up.

She sat back on the bed and decided she will be locked up until morning. ”Certainly there is no going back to sleep,” she thought. Then, ever so lightly, she saw that door knob wiggle!!! She prayed urgently for safety and wisdom to know what to do.  By now a half hour or more had elapsed. She continued in fervant prayer and kept wondering what to do.  She had heard no footsteps or any noise. After about 3 hours, she felt at peace and decided she will open that door, quickly turn on the lights and check all around.  There was not a person in sight, and definitely no evidence to be seen.  She turned back to her bedroom, now shut and locked the door again and slept well the remainder of the night.  

As we children appeared the next morning, she questioned all of us. “Were any of you down here last night?!” Nobody had been. We had windows open that night as we often did. We checked for footprints or any evidence. There were none. After that night, my brothers took turns sleeping on the living room couch until Dad returned home. The event remained a mystery, until Dad came home.  The date and hours of that happening were discovered to be the very hours that Dad, miles away in Cuba, was involved in intense church work. Intense because of the knowledge that they could be caught and imprisoned at any minute. Him and the other bishop had went to pick up the converts, held the baptism ceremony and communion service in a dilapidated building, then drove the converts back home again. A 3 hour event. Satan was fiercely upset at Dad’s activity that night.  Dad was kept safe and so was Mom, but we feel Satan tormented her because she was wife to this man of God.

There are hundreds of sacrifices of a Minister’s wife and do not think they are exempt from troubles, temptation, or torment. God bless every faithful preacher’s wife!! There is much, much behind the scene work, tears, and prayers in supporting her minister husband! Appericiate your ministers and their wives!

The years we lived in Alabama, my Mom also served by sewing coverings for many of our church ladies. She enjoyed it and fitted many hair buns. When there was an interest, she also taught others how to sew them. Sewing coverings is no simple task.

When my Mom is the cook, no one will be exempt from numerous attempts offering more food. “Can I get you anything else? Are you sure you don’t want more?!” I mean, she feeds you a cooked breakfast and asks if anyone wants cold cereal yet! It makes me chuckle just thinking of that. When I was still at home, I’d get petrurbed at all the food and variety she wanted to serve especially when having company. “Shouldn’t we add applesauce yet? Oh we need to put bread on! Let’s have butterscotch and pumpkin pie incase someone don’t like one or the other they have a choice.When having company, she’d often worry whether she would have enough food. I’d be like “Mom just chill! You never run out of food. It’ll be just fine!” But now for some reason when I host, I keenly remind myself of my Mother. And to this day, when I’m at Mom’s house, she has way more food on the table than actually necessary. If you’ve eaten at Mom’s house you know what I mean.

At nearly 72 years old, with divers health ailments, my Dad no longer serves in the ministry. Diabetes, heart disease, and Parkinsons leaves him quite feeble. But Mom faithfully cares for him year after year. She rarely leaves him for more than an hour or two. He’s not able to travel much anymore, so neither does she. I know she’d love to visit her children and grandchildren more often but she sacrifices that desire and remains faithful to her marriage vows, ”in health or in sickness.” They celebrated 51 years together in February of this year.

Mom and Dad and their devoted puppy Paula.

Not only has Mom been a supportive godly wife in big things but even in the small things like honoring his food choices. And believe me when I say he doesn’t eat too healthy. He also enjoys coffee, Lipton tea, and his diet soda. She doesn’t drink any of these herself but still she serves him. And doesn’t harass him of his choices.

Why am I so blessed to have a godly Mother? And to still have her with us at 75 years old and in relatively good health?! Many do not have that privilege. Many have said goodbye to their Mother, perhaps even at a young age. I keenly remember my Mother’s sister Bertha King, who died when her children were very young. My cousins were close to my age. But they grew up without their Mother and I still have mine. Why?

Maybe you are facing your first Mother’s Day without your precious Mother. Maybe your Mom didn’t care much about you and you mostly have sad memories. Maybe your Mother didn’t want you and were raised by another Mother. Maybe you are a Mother but you never got to Mother your darling baby because you said goodbye before you ever met. Maybe you are praying you can be a Mother but God hasn’t answered your prayer.

My heart goes out to all those with grieving hearts today. May God bestow His grace upon you! I don’t have answers why God allows these seemingly unfair things of life. I only know that God would not be God if we could understand His ways.

Treasure your Mother while you have her.

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