Voices of Faith: Mothers and memories

Mother’s Day moves most of us into long range memory mode. Childhood events come to mind, racing then through the years with stops at pleasant places and learning times with our mothers. The fortunate among us can phone or visit the leading lady in this movie of memories. Others can cherish the past and look forward to a future meeting in a place where death never separates and life lasts forever.

My mother was born in 1903 in the house on the farm her family had owned since before the Civil war. She weighed only three pounds and without the aid of an incubator or other small baby saver used in hospitals today, she survived and outlived all the members of her immediate family, as well as many younger nieces and nephews.

When she was three years old, mother’s mother died, so she was raised by her father and grandmother who were able to instill in her the ability to always look for the best in people and in all she would face in life.

If you like to gossip, you wouldn’t have enjoyed spending time with my mother. She was an expert at changing the subject when the faults of others came up in conversation. During the juiciest part of your slander, she’d likely walk to a window and say, “Isn’t it a beautiful day?”

I once told Pauline that in all the years of our marriage, I had never heard mother say one negative word about her. “What’s to say?” she replied, laughingly.

Mother would have enjoyed that; consistently choosing laughter over complaining, convinced she didn’t have time to waste looking on the dark side of things.

“Life’s too short!” she would say.

Maybe that attitude is one of the reasons she lived nearly a century.

Faith played a major role in mother’s life and in her goals for her children. When I was interviewed for membership by the board of the country church we attended, the oldest deacon said, “I want you to remember that your mother brought you to Sunday School when the weather was too bad for men to get here.”

Psalm 27:1 is the first Bible verse I remember hearing my mother quote: “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” This faith builder and many like it in her well worn Bible enabled her to trust instead of tremble when in the most difficult of circumstances.

Mother’s Day should also activate more recent memories: those acts of kindness and qualities of character seen in mothers who are still with us. And each husband ought to seize this season to remember the loving acts provided to him by his wife, the mother of his children.

The writer of the Biblical book of Proverbs describes what he calls a virtuous wife, saying “her worth is far above rubies” (Proverbs 31:10). Listing then her many responsibilities and accomplishments, he concludes that her husband and children should be careful to show their appreciation for all she is and does: “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her” (Proverbs 31:28).

While in her early teens, my wife made a vow to never do or say anything that would hurt her mother, a good vow for all to make today and keep through all their years.

Roger Campbell was an author, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years. Contact us at rcministry@ameritech.net.

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