I have come to understand how in the best marriages a man and wife must balance each other. Like the scales of justice, too much weight in one direction and conflict, argument, and discord can rend asunder the great joys of the best unions. Man and wife must blend their God-given characteristics in a way that is pleasing to Him as they face the challenges of life together, which in the case of my parents included me and my sister, Sally.
My father and mother were a remarkably wonderful blend. My father received much reverence over the many years of his ministry here on earth. Certainly, my pride runs very deep for the blessings I received from the man, both my father and my minister. My father passed his zeal and passion along to me with great doses of emotion and conviction of the heart. Those characteristics are benchmarks for my passage through life, with one great exception. My rock-hard strength comes from my mother.
My father might have been the face of our family, but the backbone was my mother. Her strength permeated our home, our lives, our hearts, our minds and very much our souls. For that, I owe my mother praise, thanks, love and devotion not just on Mother’s Day but every day of my life.
My heart has compelled me often to lead with my chin. That comes from my father. When knocked down – getting back up and doing it again – that comes from my mother. My flights of fancy are all my father’s. The details to make those flights possible? My mother.
For some reason, I have always remembered the day in 1966 when a massive tornado roared through Topeka. Hunkering in our basement as the “train engine roar” passed just blocks from our home were my mother, my sister and me. Across the alley my father was doing the same with many members of our congregation who were at the church that night for various board meetings. As much as my father loved and supported us, we knew his calling had to come first. Because of that, our Savior granted us the finest of mothers. None of that changed even after my father passed away at 59. God provided as He always does through the great love, strength and compassion my mother provided me and my two daughters in good times and bad.
At my mother’s funeral, twenty years after my father’s, I eulogized her role as a minister’s wife with verses from Proverbs 31. Verses 25 – 30 sum up my mother quite well.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the way 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 women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Technically, my wife Laura is not a mother, but don’t try to convince my daughters that Laura has not been a wonderful step-mother to them. The girl’s mother’s role is without question, but both Julie and Kelly know how Laura’s presence enriches their lives.
Kelly said to Laura just this week, “I thought we were doing fine and were very happy. But, I didn’t realize just how happy we could be until you came into Dad’s life.”
Hopefully you can see I am twice blessed by a wonderful mother and a wonderful wife. As written in Proverbs, I praise them and say, “Many women have done excellently, but you (two) surpass them all.
Happy Mother’s Day and the Lord’s blessings always.