I have been incredibly blessed to have two amazing mothers. One is my own mother, and the other my mother-in-law. Even though both of them are in heaven now, hardly a day goes by that I do not think of one of them—a funny comment she would make, a facial gesture that revealed a hidden thought, a piece of wisdom she shared at just the right moment.
My mother-in-law lived to be 97. At the age of 85 she moved to a new town. A widow, she settled into a retirement community near extended family. Grandmother Sue had a passion for the Lord and a love for people. She did not consider herself old. She felt God had a ministry for this new season in her life. A great niece invited her to meet some of her friends. Several were believers and several were not. In time, 12 young mothers became “Sue’s girls” and a weekly Bible Study began.
Each Monday morning these girls gathered in Sue’s living quarters where she taught them the Scriptures, gave them tests to make sure they did their homework, and led several of them into a personal relationship with Jesus. She even took them and their husbands on a retreat! For 12 years these girls sat at her feet and the week before she died they were still meeting in the lobby of the extended care facility.
My own mother was killed suddenly in a car accident when she was only 80. She was on her way to comfort a couple who had just lost their daughter the night before. She was always caring for somebody.
She had led a Bible study for young women on Friday mornings. When she died she had been studying John Stott’s commentary on the book of Romans with them. For many years she hosted a larger study in her home. A lifelong student, she frequently quoted books and articles and challenged young women to study, digest, and be bold in standing for truth.
I have a blessed heritage.
What is it about these two women? Both were:
- Women of prayer—praying daily for each of their children, their spouses, their grandchildren, and then for others for whom they cared deeply.
- Women of the Word—they looked to God’s Word as their ultimate authority, studying it, claiming the promises in it, and sharing it with others.
- Women of laughter—they didn’t take themselves too seriously. Both possessed a great ability to laugh at themselves and with others.
- Women of optimism—they looked at the future with hope. Even though each lost their husbands too early, they refused to wallow in self-pity. (Of course, they grieved—we all did). Yet they found comfort in the fact that God is sovereign and good and they looked to Him for His provision.
- Women with a focus on the next generation—both of my moms were forward-looking. They were willing to invest in the next generation and the next! They purposefully sought out younger women to encourage and nurture in the faith.
- Women of humility—they knew they sinned. They understood they were but dust (Psalm 103:14). They were quick to say “I’m sorry” and to ask for forgiveness. Neither was perfect and neither was a woman of pretense.
As Mother’s Day approaches, I am again thankful for my rich heritage. I am also aware that many do not have a heritage like mine. However, the best news is that no matter what we come from, we can become the first of a generation of healthy families. We can grow into women like my mother and my mother-in-law. God can begin a new thing through any one of us. This is good news!
In God’s grace, power, and forgiveness we find hope.