In 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a joint resolution with Congress paving the way for an annual celebration of Mother’s Day recognized by the Federal Government. The following year was the first official celebration. The ORIGIN OF MOTHER’S DAY gives a brief historical overview of what has been our nationally recognized day for nearly a century. I think it is q good thing to corporately recognize mothers, especially in these days of severe feminism and anti-traditional family by a vocal minority. In my opinion, mothers may not be unappreciated as much as under appreciated. The cliché, “more is caught than taught” is certainly true of mothers. They communicate by how they live, how they serve, what their priorities are in a way that has more power to persuade than anything they may overtly say. The Apostle Paul writes to the young pastor, Timothy:
For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. (1 Timothy 1:5)
A quiet living faith passed on by a mother and grandmother to their off spring. A true example of “the hand that rocks the cradle.” Many don’t think about the sacrifice mother’s make and selfless lives they live. I thought of Hannah and the sacrifice of giving up her first born which we read about in 1 Samuel 1:19-28. How difficult it would have been to give up your child, miss out on so many firsts and “discoveries” they make. That faithfulness and trust was indeed passed on to Samuel. I have had a little time to think about four mother’s in my life and jot down a few observations. To write about each one would require four books so, this will not be comprehensive. Due to our current life situation I will only be with one of them this Mother’s Day and, although I will try, will probably not appreciate her as much as I should. She, of course, is my wife, Joy.
As many of you know, my mother has been fighting cancer. It seems she may be on the winning side of this and I thank you for your prayers for her. She tackled this challenge as she has so many others in her life. Largely, by herself. We, her offspring, are scattered across the country and although in constant communication with her cannot be there for each treatment and doctors visit. We cannot help her work out the financial difficulties. She did this with a tenacity and steadfastness that I see in few people and stood in defense of her children to others who insisted that her kids should do more. But that is my mom. She raised six kids, largely by herself as a divorced woman. It would have been easier to give us up for adoption but instead she often worked two jobs, kept us fed, clothed and safe. As kids we did not appreciate the sacrifice she made and it probably wasn’t until my son was in his teens that I really appreciated what we put her through and her sacrifice. I ended up calling her and apologizing for having been 15, I didn’t know what I was doing. It seems I picked up many of her characteristics which I learned by observation. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Don’t be intimidated by others. Stay focused on the task at hand and complete it well. When Joy describes her she says, “She is a smaller and meaner version of Don.” She is a strong willed woman who is very protective of and sacrificial toward her kids. Joy’s mother had a strong influence not only on Joy but on me as well through observation and her influence through Joy. Relationships and prayer are two key words that describe Joy’s mom. We tease her because she comes across as a worry wart and sometimes sounds like the character, Puddleglum in the Chronicles of Narnia but when she would begin worrying she would say, “We need to leave this in the Lord’s hands,” and then commit it to prayer. To this day we depend on her praying for us, the ministry, our lives, jobs and children. We know she is faithful in this and see answers to her prayers on a regular basis. In a culture that seems to specialize in short term, throw away relationships, she still has friends she has had since she was a young woman. She was a stay at home mom who invested herself in her kids and her kids friends. She taught Joy’s friend Penny how to bake, me how to remain faithful in prayer and all of us how to maintain steady, life long relationships.
Joy is a product of her upbringing as well as interaction with my mother. Joy has a deep respect and concern about the things of God. As we see so much false teaching and bad behavior on the part of religious leaders she often asks, “Do they have no fear of God?” I have learned more about faith and faithfulness from her than probably any other human I know. She too have life long friends she has had since childhood. If she makes a commitment to do something, you can know with a certainty that she will follow through. She has enormous patience (as can be attested to by staying married to be for nearly 39 years). My son Lee graduated high-school and to this day insists that she deserves the diploma because she dragged him through the home work. She is devoted to her children and grandchildren. So much so that she has taken up over-the-road trucking with me to help keep them safe, warm and protected as we all live together in difficult. She has the same dedication to prayer as her mother has and a love for those who need Christ. The very thought of people spending an eternity without Christ can bring her to tears in a moment.
My daughter, Jennifer, is an interesting composite of these three women. She is very devoted to her kids and sacrifices a great deal for them and her husband. She is a stay at home mom of sorts. By that I mean she is home for her kids but works two jobs from home in order to make ends meet. She is also finishing up schooling for a career which will allow her to work from home and be there for the kids. She doesn’t really have the luxury of separating home from work. Jennifer is an intensely loyal and devoted friend. Again, with friends from her childhood (are you beginning to see a trend here?). She has the tenacity of my mom, the heart for God and commitment to prayer of Joy’s mom and intelligence and wit of her mom (Joy) and I am proud to be her dad.
We all impact one another a great deal by how we live and that impact is not always immediately apparent but can be seen and appreciated over the long term. I realize that I cannot really do justice to any of these women in a short piece and run the risk of leaving out something that is important to them but since they are my biggest cheerleaders and advocates suspect they will overlook that and love me inspite of myself as they always have. But isn’t that just like a mom, (wife and daughter). They are the ones who know you better than anyone else in the world and love you anyway.