A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

May 11, 2014

Proverbs 31:26-29

She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”

     We are all familiar with the epitome of womanhood described in Proverbs 31.  The selected verses are just a small part of her description.  But I chose them because today is Mother's Day, and they are a picture of my own mother.  My mother was a humble woman, and being a mother was her life's calling and ambition.  I never heard her speak of wanting a career, or lamenting that she didn't lead an exciting life.  As I was growing up, women were entering the work force in growing numbers, and I know plenty who felt that their true fulfillment came from accolades in the world outside their home.  They measured success by titles, raises and their worth at work.
     But for my mother, it was enough to be my homeroom mother at school, and to sew mine and my sister's Easter dresses; to make us necklaces and stuffed animals for Christmas, and our favorite meals for our birthdays.  She schooled us in manners, how to set a proper table, how to make a cake from scratch, how to clean up after ourselves, and contribute to household chores.  But the most important thing she did was instill the certainty that Jesus loved me.
     We were not a prosperous household.  For most of my childhood, we were a one-car family.  But my mom made sure that my brother, my sister and I went to Sunday School, even if she couldn't attend because of new babies at home.  You see, my father was not a church-going man, but it was my mother, and her mother's faith, that were firmly passed on to us.  I admit that I was an adult before I accepted Jesus as my Savior; but from the the first moments I can remember, I knew that He loved me, because my mother made sure I was aware of that.
     She did not wear her faith on her sleeve for all the world to see, but she showed me by example.  She put others first, especially her children.  One of my aunts told me, after my mother's death, that there were years during my childhood that my mother did not have a winter coat because we five kids came first.  I know I must have grieved her through my rebellious teenage years, for our relationship was not perfect.  But it was she who I wanted to talk to that first night at college, so far from home and knowing not a soul.  She consoled me and encouraged me that I would soon make friends, and within a couple of weeks I would not be so homesick.  I'm so glad she never knew that my newly-discovered freedom saw me not wanting to return home that first summer between freshmen and sophomore years, because I didn't want to be thrust back under her restrictions and authority.  It took an undergraduate counselor to open my eyes... he told me that I needed to let her be what she was ... a mother.  
     That was her identity; who she was at the very core of her being, and the role God purposed for her.  And to her eternal credit, it was all she ever wanted to be.  Long after me and my siblings had gone off to college, she continued mothering young children in her home.  New mothers entering the workforce knew they could count on my mom to love and nurture their children as if they were her own.  In fact, many of these children became like younger siblings to us, and when they grew to school-age, she would cry at the loss of them.
     That constant care and devotion was poured out on her grandchildren, whom she would cuddle in her lap and sing "I love you, a bushel and a peck..." until they giggled with delight.  And they loved her home-cooked meals and special birthday dinners as much as we did.  As always, she was more inclined to give a piece of herself, rather than something expensive and bought.  But it is those memories that my family and I will cherish today.
     Her final years were a picture of Grace.  A staff infection after knee replacement surgery cost her a leg, but she never complained.  I remember kneeling beside her bed in the hospital, asking her if she wanted me to pray with her, and that moment holding her hand and asking God to heal her.  It was the most intimate moment I had ever shared with my mother.  And it was the same, several years later as she lay in a coma in a hospital emergency room, all of her organs shutting down and her breath coming in shallow intervals.  We were waiting for my youngest sister to arrive before disconnecting the life support equipment.  I was alone in the room with her, and told her I knew she could hear me and that I also knew Jesus was beside her, waiting to take her home.  I told her it was OK.  She deserved to rest from this world and to receive her reward in heaven.  There was a peace in that room that I cannot describe.
     When my sister arrived, the family gathered around her, holding hands and we began to say the Lord's Prayer.  As we spoke the last verse, For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory ... I looked up at the monitor on the machines, dreading the next steps that would be taken.  At the very moment we said "Amen", she quit breathing on her own, and I knew Jesus had taken her hand and she was beholding the beautiful face of her Savior!  I can imagine He spoke the words of our Scripture today ... Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.  
     Now, I don't know if we are assigned tasks in Heaven or not.  But I do know that God knows where best to place us to serve in His heavenly Kingdom.  I have no doubt what my mother's appointed duty is ... she's in charge of the nursery, rocking babies and singing them lullabies.  I take great comfort that for all eternity, there will be other children who will feel her hugs and know that they are the most important person in her world.  And I can't wait to see her smile of recognition and run into those loving arms when it's my turn.  I miss you, Mom.  I love you, and Happy Mother's Day!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing memories of your relationship with your mother and your faith.