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Archive for the ‘Mothers.’ Category

A Mother’s Scream in the Night.


mom at grave
(© Moxe

The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning” (Eccl. 7:4)

“My mother is in the hospital, and I have a new baby sister!” It was show-and-tell time in Mrs. Gibble’s first-grade classroom. I was bursting with real news: I was the first in our class to announce a new baby had been born in our family.

“Do you think your mother could bring the baby to school so we all can see her?” asked Mrs. Gibble.

“Oh, I’m sure she will,” I replied. My teacher and classmates clapped with glee.

Mary Louise Hershey was born on Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1954. Now we had the perfect 1950s family: Mother, Daddy, me, Henry and Mary Louise. Just like in our schoolbooks: Mother, Father, Dick, Jane and Sally.

Mother said she would bring Mary Louise to school after Christmas vacation, when the baby would be a little bigger. I couldn’t wait to show off Mary Louise to my classmates.

At age 6, I was ready to understand the role of big sister now that I had had three years of experience guiding my brother into and out of adventures. We noticed that our sister sometimes had bluish fingernails and lips, but Mother said that Dr. Hess said babies usually grew out of this symptom.

Just before Christmas, after sundown on Dec. 20, Henry and I were playing in the little stack of hay next to the cow stable, making tunnels out of bales and talking about what we hoped for in our stockings. Down the row, cows chewed contentedly. The DeLaval milkers sounded almost like heartbeats—lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub—as they extracted warm milk from each udder.

And then we heard it: a horrible, penetrating, animal-like scream, piercing that night and my life to this day. Until Mary Louise died after only 39 days on this earth, I didn’t know one mother’s voice could hold the sounds of all the weeping women of the world. The terrible sound grew louder as Mother came toward the barn. She ran to Daddy and, still screaming, started pounding him on his chest.

“My baby is dead. Our baby is dead. My baby is dead.” That was all she could say, over and over again. Then she would throw back her head and wail.

Mother never attempted to hide her grief. Losing Mary Louise tore her scarred heart in two—again. She had lost two grandmothers when she was a teenager. Her first pregnancy ended in miscarriage. Her mother died suddenly just three years earlier when Henry was a baby and Mother was 24.

My mother already knew grief like a river. But this one threatened to engulf her. No other loss sears the soul like the loss of one’s own child. I would not fully understand my mother’s courage until I became a mother myself. But what I did understand was that my magical childhood had changed.

Mother coped with this death by going back to her first dream of becoming a writer. With other Mennonite women, she started an organization called the Homebuilders. She and others sent packets of solace, letters of condolence and poems to other grieving mothers when they found their names in the newspaper along with the notice that a young child had died.

I didn’t understand then how much work my mother was doing to transform trauma into growth. But that effort would teach me more than any words she could have spoken. For the next decade, Mother would help to lead the organization of mothers by speaking and writing as a way to use her gifts for the church. Her healing happened best when she fulfilled her dream of expressing her deepest feelings in writing.

The cause of Mary Louise’s death was never clear. Dr. Hess said he could find only two paragraphs on this condition in the medical books he consulted. There was no known cure.

If I ever want to know the limitation of words, all I have to do is hold the bronze-colored book provided by the funeral home for Mary Louise’s viewing. Next to the guest register is a little sketch of a heart, drawn by Dr. Hess himself, and the words that took Mary Louise away from us: “subendocardial fibroelastosis.”

One of the large bouquets of flowers delivered to our house in those sad and somber December days right before Christmas came from all the teachers and students at my school. My parents read the card and wept again.

It would be a long time before I would stand up to make any new show-and-tell announcements in school. When I did, the words came from a new place in my heart, a place that had visited death.

Excerpt from Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World by Shirley Hershey Showalter. Copyright © 2013 by Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22802. Used by permission.



Shirley Hershey Showalter grew up in a Mennonite farm family and went on to become the president of Goshen College and a foundation executive at the Fetzer Institute. She is now a writer, speaker, blogger and consultant living in Harrisonburg, Va.

Moms: How to be a Prayer Warrior for Your Kids.

Whitney Hopler

Editor’s Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Maria Alupoaicei’s new book,Prayer Warrior Mom: Covering Your Kids with God’s Blessing and Protection (Thomas Nelson, 2013).

As a mom, you know how much your children rely on you in every aspect of your family’s life. That knowledge can sometimes feel overwhelming, since there’s only so much you can do even when you’re giving your best effort to motherhood.

Thankfully, there’s no limit to what God can do for your kids through you. You never have to worry about keeping up with too many responsibilities when you make prayer a high priority. When you rely on God through prayer, His strength will empower you and flow through your life into your children’s lives.

So become a prayer warrior of spiritual strength for your kids. Here’s how:

Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Choosing to be grateful every day helps you overcome unhappiness, discontentment, and negativity, even in the worst circumstances you may encounter as a mom. Train yourself to notice the many reasons you have to be thankful, both big (such as the complete and unconditional love that God gives you and the children He has entrusted you with raising) and small (such the daily blessings God pours into your life). Make a habit of expressing gratitude to God often for who He is and how He is working in your life. The more you do so, the more grateful you’ll feel. Keep a journal in which you record specific blessings for which you’re thankful, and read it when you need encouragement. Discuss God’s blessings with your children and pray prayers of gratitude with them to thank God together regularly.

Pray scripture. When you incorporate Bible passages into your prayers for your children, you invite scripture’s living and active power work in your family’s life together. Read, study, and meditate on scripture often. Then you’ll have plenty of it stored up in your mind to access when you want to use verses that relate to various topics about which you’re praying. Personalize scripture passages by adding your children’s names and other specific details about the situations you’re bringing to God in prayer while claiming God’s biblical promises for your own family’s life. Consider writing out some of your favorite scripture passages on note cards and carrying them with you in regularly (such as in your purse or in your car) to read and pray over often. Give your children copies of some of the Bible verses you regularly pray for them, so they’ll have tangible reminders of your devotion to them and faithfulness in both Bible reading and prayer.

Stand in the gap between heaven and earth. You can use intercessory prayer to stand in the spiritual power gap between heaven and earth for your children. In heaven, God sends his love, resources, mercy, and provision toward His people on earth, but some of God’s blessings get blocked by sin before they reach people’s lives. Your prayers on behalf of your children make it possible for you to reach up and pull down the blessings that God has prepared for them. Consider taking prayer walks around your neighborhood or children’s schools while interceding for them and asking God to help you cultivate the right attitudes and behaviors in their lives.

Satisfy the conditions for answered prayer. In a sense, God always answers prayer, with either “yes,” “no,” or “wait.” But God is more likely to answer “yes” to prayers that people pray according to biblical principles that describe the conditions for answered prayer. Those include: approaching God with an attitude of humble submission; coming to God with pure motives; refraining from asking for anything that contradicts God’s Word, the Bible; having faith without doubting; being single-mindedly focused on pursuing a relationship with God as a top priority; praying for God’s will to be done; approaching God with confidence; praying to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit; confessing sin and repenting of it; and obeying God’s command to forgiving others.

Pray with power and authority. When praying for good to overcome evil in any situation that affects your children, use your arsenal of spiritual weapons to engage in spiritual warfare. Those weapons are: the name of Jesus, the blood Jesus, agreement with the Holy Spirit and other believers, binding Satan’s power and inviting God’s power into the situation, fasting, praise and thanksgiving, God’s Word, and the testimonies of other believers.

Get help when you need it. Ask for the help you need to successfully get through a crisis (such as dealing with domestic violence, an addiction, suicidal thoughts, an illness, injury, or loss of a job). Break the cycle of discouragement by reaching out to someone who cares and can help you some way, such as a pastor, doctor, or trusted friend or family member. Pray the motivation and energy you need to go through the healing process as God leads you.

Learn to love to pray. Rather than viewing prayer as a chore, learn to love it by talking with God in prayer as you would your best friend and developing a more intimate relationship with Him. The better you get to know God, the more you’ll look forward to communicating with Him through prayer.

Be persistent. Persevere in prayer with full faith, expecting God to answer your prayers in the right ways and at the right times.

Fast for spiritual breakthrough. Be willing to fast temporarily from food or something else (such as computer or TV time) as God leads you in order to focus more intently on praying for your children. When you do, God may give you a spiritual breakthrough in the areas about which you’re praying.

Hold your children loosely. Instead of trying to control your children’s lives, entrust them to God’s care every day, remembering that God loves your kids even more than you do. Encourage your children to discover and pursue God’s plans for their lives, even when those plans differ from your own personal preferences.

Hear God’s voice above the noise of daily life. Ask God to help you develop a quiet, expectant spirit and active listening skills so you can clearly discern the messages that God communicates to you. Pray for God’s guidance about each of your children’s lives daily, so you can make wise parenting decisions.

Be the #1 advocate for your children. Since you and your childrens’ dad have more influence on them than anyone else does, use your powerful influence to encourage and support your children whenever possible. Help your children navigate and overcome the challenges in their lives teaching them how to rely on God every day.

Discern God’s will for your children. Rest assured that you and your children can know God’s will for their lives by simply staying closely connected to God in personal relationships each day. Keep in mind that God often reveals His will one day at a time rather than far into the future.

Live with a spiritual perspective. Aim to make all of your decisions in light of eternal values, after seeking God’s wisdom. Show your kids that your hope is rooted and established in your relationship with Jesus, and nothing less than that.

Model forgiveness and grace. Just as your heavenly Father – God – has given you forgiveness and grace, God intends for you to give your children forgiveness and grace on a daily basis. Let your kids know that you love them for who they are rather than for what they do, and that you’ll never stop loving them even when they make mistakes.

Adapted from Prayer Warrior Mom: Covering Your Kids with God’s Blessings and Protection, copyright 2013 by Maria Alupoaicei. Published by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, Tn.,

Maria Alupoaicei is an author and speaker with a heart for couples and moms. She and her husband founded Leap of Faith, which ministers to couples around the globe. In her spare time, Marla enjoys art and photography, cooking, dancing, and playing the piano and violin.

Whitney Hopler, who has served as a contributing writer for many years, is author of the new novel Dream Factory, which is available in both paperback and ebook formats. Visit her website at:

Publication date: July 4, 2013

A Mother’s Travail.

I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded in thee also. —2 Timothy 1:5

My mother inherited my grandmother’s faith and, like Timothy, I inherited that same faith.

As a young boy, I remember coming home from school ready to find Mom and the cookies she always had waiting for me. But this day, there was no Mom and no cookies. I anxiously ran up the stairs, only to find our vacuum cleaner running in the hallway and the sound of crying coming from my sister’s closet. It was there I first heard my mother consumed in the prayer of travail. I heard her crying with all her might, “God, save my babies. Let them grow strong and sure in you. Raise them up to preach the gospel.”

Mothers, you may never know or see the results of your prayer. Nonetheless, keep praying. God may have charged you to raise up a John Wesley or a Martin Luther. Live out your faith before them, and they will carry the torch to the next generation.

Fathers, what does it profit you to gain the whole world and lose your children? Set a godly example for them. Do not provoke them to wrath, but motivate them to seek the face of God.

Jesus, help me pass my faith in You on to
my children. Give me wisdom. Help me to
make time for them in my life. Thank you,
Lord, for the gift of my children. Amen.


How a Gospel Music Star Is Raising Godly Sons.

CeCe Winans
CeCe Winans

Lord, have mercy on our souls,” I mumbled to myself as my friend Marvie turned the key in the ignition. She was 16, did not have a driver’s license and was behind the wheel of my father’s car. I was 15, was a nervous wreck on the passenger side and had just pulled off an unlikely scheme to fool my dad into handing over the keys.

Our mission was to make it to a gospel concert at Detroit’s Northwest Activity Center. We were determined to fulfill that mission. After all, we both loved good singing, and it wasn’t as if we were sneaking off to a Jackson 5 concert. It was a gospel concert, for goodness’ sake.

Needless to say, it didn’t take long for the whole plan to unravel. Although we made it to the auditorium, we never heard one note of that good singing.

One of my brothers was in the audience and spotted us right away. The questions came fast and furiously. We were totally busted. Within the hour, I was back in my bedroom on Woodingham Street.

When Dad found out that Marvie had showed him a fake ID and that I had lied to him, he didn’t say anything; he simply shook his head. The look of disappointment on his face as I told him the entire story made me want to run and hide in shame.

That adolescent prank happened more than 25 years ago. But lessons learned from the experience have stayed with me to this day and are helping me to impact the next generation, including my own two teenagers.

The first lesson I learned is that the heart dispenses its own retribution. My father didn’t have to punish me with a whipping or a verbal tirade. I had been raised in a godly, decent home. I had been taught what the Bible said: “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold” (Prov. 22:1).

I knew that I had brought dishonor to my family’s good name and (at least for a moment) had lost the favor of my dad. It made me want to cry for days. Guilt from betraying a loved one’s trust has its own sting.

The second lesson I learned is one of forgiveness. I had disappointed a wonderful man who had placed his trust in me. Dad could have shunned me or made me walk around in disgrace for weeks, but he didn’t. Instead, he chose to be an example of what it means to forgive someone you love.

My parents knew the power of Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Growing up with the last name of Winans meant more than growing up in a house full of music. Mom and Dad worked hard to create a home in which love took priority over things. Discipline was second to love. And laughter ran a close third.

Regardless of all the hustle and bustle involved in bringing up seven boys and three girls, my parents consistently pointed their children in the direction of holiness. In a nutshell, this meant honoring your parents, respecting your elders, not talking back and having a fear of God.

Throughout the years, they gave us a firm foundation. As each of us matured and set out on our own journeys, we took with us the truth of God’s principles and the assurance of His grace.

Now as I look back on that incident of teenage rebellion in my own life, it seems rather innocent. The current temptations and dangers facing my two teens, Alvin and Ashley, are overwhelming—even scary—at times.

The young generation of today is literally bombarded with negative and disturbing messages from all corners of the culture. Music, movies, television and the Internet seem to invade our families with ungodly and anti-Christian influences.

Instead of talking about the joys of romance, fidelity and commitment, teens are using phrases such as “casual sex,” “friends with benefits” and “hooking up.”

They enter a sports arena and, instead of finding heroes or role models, they’re introduced to athletes who have violent outbursts, use dangerous drugs and live immoral lifestyles.

Even a simple trip to the mall can turn into a moral dilemma. Teenage girls who still believe in modesty and purity receive little help from the marketing and manufacturing professions. Being stylish without being suggestive is difficult these days.

I look into the eyes of these precious young people and think how unfair it is for them to be faced with such choices. Although I’m disheartened by it all, I believe there are ways to counteract the coarsening of our culture—and it’s up to us to get involved.

Sharing the Responsibility
Recently, I heard about a small county just outside of Nashville, Tennessee, in which half the young female residents are suffering from HIV/AIDS. At first I was astonished, then heartbroken, then convicted. This wasn’t a big city statistic or news from a foreign country. This was coming from my own backyard.

As my heart was stirred, I began to think about my own generation and its relationship to the next. I believe we’re letting the young people down.

In many ways, we’ve missed the mark. The Bible tells us, “In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach” (Titus 2:7-8, NASB). Every mature believer should be a good example—a godly role model—for those who are younger.

As a parent, I’ve never understood the idea of trying to be your child’s best friend. Alvin and Ashley have many friends but only one set of parents. My husband and I love them with all our hearts. We know it’s important to show our love, not just by having fun with them, but also by nurturing, teaching and protecting them. Every adult believer can do this for the youth around him.

Nurturing involves showing young people their true worth. They must be taught to see themselves the way God sees them. He valued their lives so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to save and redeem them. Real self-esteem comes from knowing Him and believing the words of Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'”

Teaching involves introducing the next generation to the importance of God’s Word. I’ve been thrilled to watch my children develop a real appetite for the ways of the Lord. They’re beginning to experience a revelation of Matthew 5:6: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

But this desire didn’t grow by accident. Consistent exposure to the power of the Scriptures came through attending church services, Sunday school, youth group and Christian summer camp. I believe seeds were planted in Alvin and Ashley even when they weren’t aware of it.

Honest study of the Bible reveals that God’s Word is alive and active in our lives. Psalm 119:105 says it this way: “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.” When the next generation becomes full of the Word of God, they’re also going to become the leaders God created them to be.

Protecting our teens in this day and age can be a real challenge. But we must make every effort to offer them clear guidelines. Establishing parameters can prevent many a broken heart and damaged spirit. I’ve told my children often, “Anything that God does not smile upon is not good for you to listen to or watch.” It’s a simple yet powerful reminder that we’re to keep our senses sanctified.

The opportunity to nurture, teach and protect is not available only to parents. We all have a responsibility to encourage the next generation to be bold for the Lord.

I know from personal experience that it requires help to raise a godly child. I clearly remember how the saints of Mack Avenue Church of God in Christ made an impact on my life when I was young. They showed me love, gave me correction and prayed for me.

Church was a place where God-fearing people surrounded me: preachers, mothers, deacons, trustees, teachers, elders and friends. We loved one another as family, and we were taught to be accountable for one another’s care.

The adults felt responsible for one another’s children. And everything my parents taught me at home was reinforced at church. I grew to appreciate being surrounded by that kind of love and protection.

When believers take the time to sow truth and grace into a child’s life, whether that child is theirs or not, they are blessed. These saints are investing in their own future by helping to shape the values of generations to come.

Turning the Tide
There are four practical steps Christian parents and the church community can take to help empower the next generation to live for the Lord.

Talk to them. Don’t be afraid to approach them about every aspect of their day. If you sense something is wrong, ask questions—lots of them. My children know I plan to “stay in their business.” I make sure they understand that it’s my love for them that compels me to be involved.


Greg Surratt: How I Nearly Ruined Mother’s Day.

Man-giving-flowers-smallStock Free Images

I’ve got to admit—Mother’s Day is one of the most fear eliciting, stress inducing weekends of the year for me. It’s not so much about my ineptness in selecting a gift or honoring the mother of my house—Debbie—although, I’ve messed that up more than once.

No, the trepidation comes from the annual exercise of trying to prepare and deliver a message that navigates the veritable minefield of emotions that women are feeling on that day. You’ve got women who are: moms; want to be moms but haven’t been able to yet; mothers who’ve lost a child; women who’ve lost a mother recently; moms with wayward children; women who have lost their husbands; women who would LIKE to lose their husband; women who would like to find a husband; career moms; stay at home moms, etc. The list goes on.

I try to do my best. But, over the years admittedly, there have been times that my sermons probably did more harm than good. My heart was right but my sensitivity meter was broken. Clueless might best describe it.

Honestly, we could probably just blow right thru Mother’s Day; ignore it from the pulpit. It’s not in the Bible. Only a few years after it became a holiday, the person who created it was arrested for disturbing the peace while protesting against it. We could just take a pass and avoid the potential pain entirely.

That’s probably the best idea, but unfortunately it’s not the one I’ve chosen. I still think it’s a great weekend to tackle issues that impact women and give them an encouraging word from the wisdom of God. We simply have to be less clumsy.

So here’s what I’m doing this year:

  • Debbie sat me down and made me read this blog post by Amy Young. It was golden! I was going to innocently violate the most basic no-no—asking mothers to stand so I could pray for them. I would have ruined Mother’s Day for someone. Good catch, Deb!
  • I made a list of several women who represented some of the above mentioned stations in life and then asked them to help me with the message.
  • I’m praying like crazy that God will use it in a powerful way.

Now I’m really looking forward to Mother’s Day. It should be great—if I don’t figure out a new way to mess it up.

Written by Greg Surratt

Greg Surratt is the founding pastor of Seacoast Church in Mount Pleasant, S.C., one of the early adopters of the multisite model. He is a founding board member of the Association of Related Churches and is married, with four children and seven grandchildren.

On Second Thought — Why Mother’s Day Is a Bad Idea.

On Second Thought -- Why Mother's Day Is a Bad Idea

Americans have celebrated Mother’s Day for over a century, and the observance has grown to become one of the nation’s most popular annual events.  But is it good for motherhood?

Back in 1858, Anna Reeves Jarvis organized the precursor to Mother’s Day as a way to protest a lack of sanitation in rural Appalachia.  Later, Julia Ward Howe would organize what became “Mother’s Days for Peace” in protest of all war.  Howe, who wrote the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” pledged:  “Our husbands shall not come to us reeking with carnage. . . .  Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience.”

Then, as Ruth Rosen reports at

When Anna Jarvis died in 1905, her daughter, also named Anna, vowed to honor her mother’s political activism by creating a national Mother’s Day. The gift card and flower industries also lobbied hard. As an industry publication, the Florists’ Review, put it, “This was a holiday that could be exploited.” In 1914, Congress responded and proclaimed the second Sunday in May to be Mother’s Day.

As Rosen explains, the women behind Mother’s Day were convinced that the moral superiority of women was grounded in the experience of motherhood.

In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed the legislation setting Mother’s Day as the second Sunday each May.  The focus was not to be on honoring all American mothers in common, but each family’s mother in each home, thus Mother’s Day — not Mothers’ Day.  Wilson’s statements reflected both moralism and sentimentalism.

Before long, however, the observance became commercialized.  It came early enough to outrage Anna Jarvis, but she fought a losing battle against the florists, marketers, and other commercial interests.  She died regretting that she had conceived the idea of Mother’s Day in the first place.

Now, Mother’s Day ranks number one among all annual occasions in terms of eating out.  As for total spending on gifts, some analysts believe that Mother’s Day has now pushed Valentine’s Day into third place.  While not everyone has a valentine, almost everyone has someone to honor on Mother’s Day.  Counting grandmothers, mothers-in-law, and assorted other maternal figures, this adds up to a huge consumer event.

All this was enough to make Anna Jarvis regret her idea, but consumerism is not the worst thing to happen to Mother’s Day.  The worst part of Mother’s Day is the flood of sentimentality that masquerades as affection and honor.

Sentiment drives Mother’s Day as a gargantuan observance.  We Americans feel better about ourselves when we honor motherhood — or when we spend a few dollars on overpriced greeting cards, flowers, and food and convince ourselves that this is honoring our mothers.

There is nothing wrong about sentiment in itself, but there is something pornographic about the pathos of sentimentalism that this observance produces — a sentimentalism so often devoid of content.

The Christian vision of motherhood is more about courage and faithfulness than about sentimentalism.  The mothers of the Bible are a tough lot.  Jochebed put her baby in a floating ark of bulrushes, defying the order of Pharaoh that all Hebrew male children be put to death.  Rachel, mother to Joseph and Benjamin, died giving birth to Benjamin.  Hannah promised her son to God, and presented Samuel as a young boy for service in the House of the Lord.  Mary, the mother of Jesus, risked shame and disgrace to bear the Savior, and to provide all Christians with a model of brave and unflinching obedience.  She was there when Jesus Christ was crucified.  As Simeon had told her just after the birth of Christ, “Behold this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” [Luke 2:34-35]

A corsage hardly seems appropriate.

Christians must resist the reduction of motherhood to sentimentality, and particularly that sentimentalism that undermines what mothers are truly to represent — nurture, fortitude, courage, dedication, faithfulness, discipline, and trust in God.

Mother’s Day is a bad idea because it subverts the reality of faithful mothering and robs faithful mothers of their true glory.  Mothers deserving of honor are handed cards and taken to lunch, when songs of praise should instead be offered to the glory of God.  Undeserving mothers, who abdicate their true responsibility, are honored just because they are mothers.  Children, young and old, who ignore and dishonor their mothers by word and by life throughout the year, assuage their guilt by making a big deal of Mother’s Day.

So, Mother’s Day is a bad idea.

Then again, Mother’s Day is impossible to ignore.  What quality of ingratitude marks the son or daughter (or husband) who does not honor mothers on Mother’s Day?  There was I yesterday, with son and daughter, honoring both their mother (my dear wife, Mary) and my mother-in-law.  Yes, we had a celebratory meal out and we passed out greeting cards with our own personal inscriptions.  Gifts were delivered, and all the right things were said.  Calls were made to my mother, several states away.

In the end, we are all like little children who push crumpled hand-made greeting cards toward Mom, who then accepts our grubby offerings with love and gratitude.

So much for avoiding sentimentality.  Let’s just make certain that there is more to Mother’s Day than sentiment.  The mothers we should honor are those who raise children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, who honor their marriages and live faithfully, who teach and nurture and discipline by the Bible.  These are mothers who defy the spirit of the age, protect their children from danger, maintain godly discipline and order in the home, and feed their children the pure milk of God’s Word.

These mothers deserve honor upon honor, and their reward will be great in heaven.  Yet, in the meantime, a card and a kiss on Mother’s Day won’t hurt.  It’s just not nearly enough.

I am always glad to hear from readers. Write me at Follow regular updates on Twitter at

The Power of Mom (1 of 8).

Series: Getting There
Jeff Strite
Psalm 22:1-24

OPEN: An anonymous son wrote the following observations about his mother. He said that:
His Mother taught him LOGIC…
She once asked: “If everyone else jumped off a cliff would you do it too?”
His Mother taught him MEDICINE…
“If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they’re going to freeze that way.”
His Mother taught him how to BECOME AN ADULT…
“If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll never grow up.
His Mother taught him about GENETICS
“You are just like your father!”
His Mother taught him about my ROOTS…
“Do you think you were born in a barn?”
His Mother taught him about the WISDOM of AGE…
“When you get to be my age, you will understand,” AND “I’ll explain it all when you get older.”
His Mother taught him about ANTICIPATION…
“Just wait until your father gets home.”
And the all time favorite thing his Mother taught him – JUSTICE
“One day you will have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you. Then you’ll see what it’s like!”

APPLY: As I was looking for a passage for preach for Mother’s Day, this Psalm caught my attention. What impressed me as I read it was the apparent connection between what mothers taught us and what we now believe about God.

Look with me at verses 9-10. Talking to God, the Psalmist says “Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.”

Notice, the psalmist doesn’t talk about the faith he gained at his FATHER’S knee. Noooo, he’s telling us – about the depth of his faith he found when he was with his mother.

ILLUS: There was a recent study reported in the October 2004 issue of “Psychological Science” that showed that Children who have the good fortune to interact with their mothers a lot develop healthier consciences. In that article they said that toddlers were encouraged to imitate their mothers in such simple actions as playing tea party/tending to a stuffed animal.
In that part of the experiment the researchers graded the children based on their readiness to imitate what they observed. Then, in subsequent sessions, they evaluated those same children as they were enticed with prizes for games they could win only by cheating or breaking an object that had some value to them. What the researchers found was that toddlers who eagerly imitated their mothers were more likely to follow the rules and were more likely to exhibit a sense of guilt when they broke something.

One person (commenting on that research) stated that God has placed our conscience within us to monitor our behavior. The conscience is like a thermostat, but mothers apparently help us define the settings.

There are things that children learn from their mothers – that they cannot learn anywhere else.

Here in Psalm 22, the psalmist is telling us how critical his mother’s influence was for him.
• He tells how life ha …

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