Author’s Note: Sorry it has been a while since I’ve blogged about anything. I got a bit “written out” after doing a bunch of freelance writing this winter and the writing bug hasn’t struck since. I’ll likely be more active as the weather warms and as new experiences come my way.
Today being Mother’s Day, the attention of children around the U.S. turns towards recognizing the women in our lives who either gave birth to us, adopted us into their family, gave birth to our children, or nourished us in spiritual or emotional ways when we needed a good woman’s care. I also think today of the many women who longed for the chance to be mothers, but without reward. These women are valuable and precious in God’s sight, too.
As I write this blog, I’m looking back at the maternal life of my own mother, Melanie. She is a godly wife to my father and patient mother of three children. She is also a spiritual mother to many young moms. In all, I figure that Melanie has followed the Lord for nearly 50 years (gasp!). Better yet, she still seeks to make an impact on the lives of women and children today. When I look at Melanie, I see the godly woman of Proverbs 31:10-31. I believe this poetic chapter of the Bible gives us a peek into the daily lives and actions of mothers. Read this (edited for space):
Who can find a capable (mother)? She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will not lack anything good.
She selects wool and flax and works with willing hands.
She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household…
She draws on her strength and reveals that her arms are strong.
She sees that her (work is) good, and her lamp never goes out at night.
She is not afraid for her household when it snows, for all in her household are doubly clothed.
Strength and honor are her clothing, and she can laugh at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom and loving instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the activities of her household and is never idle.
Her (children) rise up and call her “blessed.” Her husband also praises her: “Many women are capable, but you surpass them all!”
Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.
Give her the reward of her labor, and let her works praise her at the city gates.
Imperfect but beloved of God, Melanie has spent the majority of her life as a mother, sacrificing herself for the sake of her husband, children, and church community. After all, sacrifice is needed when the family lives on the under side of American poverty. My mom grew up in a privileged Southern household but married a young minister, spending their “honeymoon years” working to support his seminary education and raising two babies. For the next 15 years my dad served the Lord in ministry to troubled youth via a non-profit camping ministry. I found out while growing up that “non-profit ministry” meant “serving the Lord full-time without pay.” Or something like that. It was humbling, but we kids never heard her complain in front of us. We never knew of the struggles to put food on the table, why the car disappeared, or why our electricity “accidentally” got shut off. No, she was very busy raising two girls and a boy, finding ways to put shoes on our feet, get us our shots, and pick out the finest in fashion at the local thrift store. As a seamstress, she made bed coverings, curtains, dresses for my sisters and seat cushions. As a chef, she could fix a week’s worth of meals with beans, rice, water and flour. Try THAT, Food Network!
Some might think it was rough, but we were a family living by faith in God and I now see clearly how having a mother of faith impacted my life (my sisters, too). I know that during tough times I will not only survive the famine but grow in my dependence on God because of my mother’s faithful witness. How will I grow in trial? Well, every week we saw our parents on bended knee, praying before a graceful Father, laughing a lot to relieve stress, and constantly looking for those heavenly gifts sent from unexpected sources. And we saw God provide for us in amazing ways. As a bonus to let us know it was all worth it, my sisters and I saw lives forever changed because of my dad’s ministry and by my mom’s innate desire to mentor others.
I’m so very thankful for my mother’s faithful life and I pray for her health and strength to endure for many decades to come. She’s now on an amazing ministry journey. Now that her children are grown and on their own, Melanie has turned her attention towards young women — especially young moms — to fill maternal needs in their lives. She disciples women and helps them disciple others. It’s the godly way: older women need to set a good example for the younger women, so they can grow in maturity (Titus 2:3-5). This “setting” is totally intentional. In other words, older moms should intentionally seek to make an impact on the lives of younger moms. The same applies to dads, to older men with younger men, to childless women with younger women, etc.
Being a lyricist, in 2005 I wrote a song for Mother’s Day based on Proverbs 31. I actually wrote it the night before Mother’s Day and didn’t have time to complete the music and share it with my church. So it has remained a lyric searching for a tune. I dedicate this one to my amazing mother, Melanie, and the other moms who work hard for their families while wearing a “garland of grace.”
Blessed is the woman who’s heart will fear the Lord
Wisdom is her garment, peace comes forth from her word
Her children are her pride, in her heart forever adored
Blessed is the woman who raises her children in faith
Blessed is the woman who raises her children in faith
And by faith her children shall stand
She works hard for no money, is prudent with her time
She gives up her own needs to see that her family is fine
She wears a garland of grace, her beauty is ever sublime
The strength of the strong man, the wisdom of sages are hers
Blessed is the woman whose children are quick to bless her
She blesses her children with grace, what they don’t deserve