Saturday, May 10, 2014

My Mother

The following was written in 1996 for a Mother's Day tribute at First Church of the Nazarene in Pasadena, TX.

"Her children arise and call her blessed; Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all:  Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting:  but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
                                                                                                                                 Proverbs 30:28,29

      The outstanding trait of my mother through the years has been her Godly character.  To me, she has been the ideal of mothers even though her own mother passed away when she was between the ages of three and four.  She lived in different homes of various relatives and was unable to attend school much of the time.  As a young teenager she prayed that if God would make it possible for her to go to school she would live for Him.  Soon after that she found herself in the orphanage at Penile,TX.  Here she was able to continue her education and at the Penile Nazarene Church heard some of the most outstanding preachers in our denomination.

      Memories are like a kaleidoscope - bits and pieces continue to turn, bringing images to my mind.  What should I share?  Let me start with a early memory.  As a very young child I remember hearing my brother in the bedroom crying.  I went to the door - frightened - I saw mother and my brother kneeling by the bed.  Mother looked at me - smiled and speaking softly, explained to me that everything was alright and that my brother was asking for the Lord's forgiveness.  I ran to kneel beside them, my young heart also gripped with conviction yet not fully understanding.  Our home was conducive for prayer and learning about God.

Our house was never a "show-place" yet it was a comfortable home where many friends came to visit and some even to live for periods of time.  Mother gave me great liberty in our house.  I can remember how she would allow me to take cans out of the kitchen cabinet, tie strings around the chairs and table in the dining room and play "Store."

     My parents were teen sponsors at our church.  Mother had a keen wit and a creative mind.  At one of the banquets held in our home, there were more teens than mother expected.  Fearful of not having enough food she quickly devised a game:  A big pot of spaghetti was soon boiling on the stove and each teen was given a full bowl of plain spaghetti.  The object - first one to empty their bowl was declared the winner.  It was great fun for the teens and they never suspected the motive!  Needless to say, there was plenty of food!

      Mother was multi-talented.  She had a beautiful voice, which she used for God's glory through the years.  She taught the Women's Bible Class at Port Arthur First Nazarene church for over twenty-five years.  After I married and would come home to visit I would attend mother's class.  She was a gifted and an anointed teacher.

      I was raised in an extremely sheltered home and after I was grown and had left this protected environment I became somewhat shaky in the larger world I had  entered and began to question everything.  And in some respects became disappointed and disillusioned to the greater exposure to life.  But there was an image that would come to my mind that held me steady.  It was remembering my mother's face after being at  her place of prayer.  I had no doubt that she had been in the presence of God because His glory was on her face.  I have never, ever got away from the memory of that radiance and beauty on her countenance.

      My dad was a business man - so big - so strong - and my mother leaned on his strength and we all understood his authority.  Dad made all the major decisions in our home and was a hard worker and good provider for his family.  But when my dad was in  his late forties because of illness  was unable to work. My mother knew very little about his assets, his trucking business, employees, etc.  Now, here she was, in charge of everything.  She stood only 5' 2" in stature and probably felt even smaller in the face of such gigantic adversity, but she placed her faith in a big God!  During this dark time, I remember how mother stood up at church  and testified of the sweetness of God's presence and how the most beautiful flowers grow not on the mountain tops but in the valley.

      My dad's hospital bills mounted into the thousands of dollars but God blessed the trucking business and mother said it seemed like, during this time, the money "just poured in"  Every bill was paid and God provided far beyond and over the needs.

       How wonderfully God equipped mother in her faithful and loving care of my dad.  A few  hours before his death, mother stood by his bed and read Psalm 121.  I felt I was on "holy ground" in the hospital room that day.  Another chapter was completed in my mother's life.

      Mother went to be with Jesus on Oct 6, 1996..
     On this Mother's Day I give thanks for being raised by a Godly mother who held the light steady. 

O may all who come behind us find us faithful,
May the fire of our devotion light their way.
May the footprints that we leave, Lead them to believe,
And the lives we live inspire them to obey.
O may all who come behind us find us faithful.
John Mohr.