It’s the one day each year set aside to honor women who are mothers. Why are we mothers? The obvious reason is because we bore babies and birthed them into this world or adopted children in need of a mom, but the heart of the matter is that we are mothers because God gives us children.
It’s funny, but in all the hoopla surrounding Mother’s Day, I rarely hear anyone mention God’s hand in motherhood. It seems like it would be obvious.
While science makes it possible to collect sperm and eggs and combine them in a test tube to create a human life, I know of no person or process able to create sperm or eggs except God.
This morning when I walked into the kitchen to find three beautiful cards and a bouquet of fresh flowers wishing me a happy Mother’s Day, I remembered immediately who really gave me those two beauties I call son and daughter.
Thank You, God, for my precious children and for the joy and love they have brought to my life. Thank You, Father God, for my own mother, for her love, guidance, and Godly wisdom which, through your grace, continues at age 89. Thank You, Lord, for my two grandmothers, Alice and Anna, now in glory with You, who brought such love and happiness into their family’s lives, with their eyes firmly and constantly on You.
Thank You, God, for Mother’s Day.
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 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 women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Proverbs 31:25-29 (ESV)
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
I learned about the Boston bombings yesterday while I was writing about my ancestors surviving British and Indian attacks near their Pennsylvania home in 1778. Just like the people who attended the Boston Marathon, my fifth-great-grandparents only wanted to enjoy life.
But sometimes things happen that we can’t foresee. God does not give us a crystal ball to view what lies ahead of us.
But what God does give us is the ability to seek His wisdom when we’re caught in the crossfire of evil.
God’s word tells us: “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
My ancestor, Colonel John Kelly, was a godly man who lived by his faith and the Word of God. In July, 1778, when fellow settlers in a nearby fort were surrounded by 300 warring Indians and British, Colonel Kelly, a Revolutionary War officer, quickly assembled a small group of militia and drove off the aggressors.
I like to think that the scripture from Isaiah was going through the Colonel’s mind when he gave his orders to the brave – but vastly outnumbered – men he commanded. The Colonel and his men had every reason to fear: they were a group of no more than 30 facing 300 — but fear did not stop them from helping their friends and neighbors. Rather, God gave the ordinary men the courage and ability to fight evil and win.
The Colonel’s story is timeless: God’s help never wavers when we keep Him the focus of our lives. Yesterday, when bombs exploded in Boston, brave people ran toward the explosions to help the injured. Their own lives were at risk; no one knew if another bomb would explode in their midst.
Wherever we are, in whatever situation we face, we can confidently go forward – without fear – knowing that God is with us and will provide the courage and skill we need to persevere and win against evil.
But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31.
IN GOD WE TRUST – TO HIM BE THE GLORYRead More
While I watch the wind blow the last of the colored leaves to the ground, my thoughts follow the dirt lane to the old farmhouse where my maternal grandparents raised their children during the Great Depression. It’s a house I visited many times while listening to my mother’s childhood stories. I toured it once recently when the present owner invited me inside.
Although my mother and father moved hundreds of miles away after their marriage, my mother’s thoughts frequently traveled to her childhood home. She loved nothing better than to scoop up my siblings and me and take us with her as she recalled her childhood on a farm near Muncy, Pennsylvania – stories I treasured and passed on to my own little ones.
Mother spoke of a life filled with an abundance of indoor and outdoor chores and of nearby relatives who frequently stopped by on Sunday afternoons for visits. On stifling summer days, the adults visited in the shade of the large front porch while the children took turns cranking the handle of an ice cream freezer on the grass under a shade tree.
When the harsh winter wind rattled the shuttered windows and forced snow to swirl across the bare fields, it was the kitchen that was the center of Mother’s family’s life, mostly because it was the only room in the house that was heated. Family and guests gathered there, the single-paned windows steamed from the conversations.
The old farmhouse, which originally belonged to Mother’s grandparents, had no electricity, indoor plumbing or central heat. Bathtubs, toilets and even a kitchen sink were non-existent. Things weren’t any better outside. There was no tractor or modern farm equipment. Keeping the farm going depended on horses and one’s own strength and determination. Parents and children worked hard from early morning to evening, but my mother’s stories were never ones of complaining.
The day before Thanksgiving, Grandma Alice killed and dressed turkeys for customers from town who gave their orders in advance. Once the poultry orders were filled, Alice killed the turkey she would cook for her own family. Grandpa Ed finished the outdoor chores, then got out his hunting clothes and sharpened his knife and cleaned his gun. The days immediately after Thanksgiving were hunting days and Ed needed to hunt game to help supplement his family’s food supply.
The Great Depression was in full force and money was scarce for my mother’s family. Mother often said that while she and her siblings were growing up, they never realized how primitively they lived on the farm. A person can’t miss what they don’t know, she explained.
Something inside my heart was soothed when Mother spoke of the contentment that was felt at the end of each day as the family gathered at the dinner table and her father thanked the Lord for His generous provisions. Grandpa Ed and Grandma Alice made it clear to their children that, but for the Lord’s benevolence, their harvests would be small and their needs large.
My grandparents have long since gone to be with the Lord, and their farm has changed hands several times since they sold it. But my mother’s stories taught me that when a family realizes that they’re dependant upon the Lord to provide for all of their needs – as well as their blessings – every day is Thanksgiving Day.
May your Thanksgiving Day be joyous, may you be surrounded by your loved ones, and may you give thanks and praise to the One who provides for your every need.
“When you have all you want to eat, then praise the Lord your God for giving you a good land.” Deuteronomy 8:10.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Cynthia Howerter © 2011, 2012Read More
I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch. Someone close to our family was not doing well, and I have spent a lot of my time praying for her and trying to help her. Unfortunately, she passed away the other day.
She lived to be very old. In fact, she had a relationship with some of my older relatives who died before I was born. To them, and to my little family and me, she was a beacon of strength.
I first met her as an infant and, after having spent my entire life getting to know and understand her; it made it all the harder to see her struggle toward her end. You could say our lives were fully and completely entwined.
I loved her so much, as did my husband. Together, we made sure that our two children got to know her; not on a superficial level, but intimately, for her purity of ideals, her sense of justice, her providential foundation. She was all about honor, integrity, ethics, self-reliance, and godly values.
There was something about her that attracted a dichotomy of people. There were those, like my family, who appreciated her attributes and respected her for them. But, sadly, there were many people who found ways to take advantage of her. The truth is, they saw her success and felt that they deserved part of it, even though they never contributed to it. Recently, as her vitality declined, it was nearly unbearable for my family and me to watch others disrespect her, mock her, and call her out-of-touch.
When some of her trusted advisors retired, the younger ones who took their place found ways to personally profit from her holdings. As a result, at her death, she no longer possessed the affluence she had known. It happens to so many of our elderly.
I am told that while she was carried in the womb, many waited excitedly and expectantly for her birth. Because her parents were prominent people who were willing to take a strong, unbending stand for self-reliance and freedom, there were those who wanted to make sure she was never born. However, individuals who supported her parents’ beliefs vowed to protect her at all costs. I’m told things escalated to a fight, and many were the families with empty chairs around their tables.
At her death, there were others besides my family who still treasured her values and her qualities, and, together, we gathered round her, hoping, until the last breath, that God would give her more time. But, that was not His will for her. There was a reverent hush in the room as her breathing slowed.
Using the last of her strength, she spoke her final words. “My children, the blood of patriots fills your veins. What would our Founding Fathers do now? Look to them in order to understand what they expect of you. The word “quit” was never in their vocabulary. Until your last breath, never stop trying to revive liberty.”
She rested her head on the pillow, and we listened to her breathing stop. Sounds of grief made their way through the gathering as each person who loved her deeply was forced to acknowledge her passing. I heard someone whisper, “I can’t believe it! Our country’s gone!”
“It’s hopeless, isn’t it?” another person asked in a voice that cracked with emotion.
Placing my hands on their shoulders, I turned my children, now adults, toward me and looked into their eyes. “God has always provided courage and strength to those who follow Him.”
Lifting the banner from the floor where it had fallen, my daughter looked around the room and asked, “Who is with me?”
As he helped his sister unfurl the precious fabric, my son answered, “I am.” Together, they struggled to lift the heavy flag of Liberty above their heads, but the weight was too much for two people.
“The men boiled their leather shoes for food at Valley Forge,” someone cried. “They would rather have starved than give up!” People in the room murmured their agreement.
A young mother holding a sleeping infant spoke next. “The officers, the signers of the Declaration, every one of them knew they faced a traitor’s death if they lost the war. They put their lives on the line for us!”
“How much is Liberty worth to you? What are you willing to give for it?” a middle-aged man called out.
My husband took my hand firmly in his. There were tears in his eyes as he looked into mine. “Our last breath.”
“Our last breath,” I answered.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:6.
IN GOD, THERE ARE STILL SOME, WHO TRUST
It’s amazing what can happen to a nation in the span of about a week, and the span of that week isn’t quite over. We are in the aftermath of a natural disaster that has affected thousands of Americans’ lives and simultaneously in the face of a critical national election. All around us are people who are mourning the tragedy that has befallen us and at the same time fearing what may be to come.
What can we say, dear sisters? The tragedy of Hurricane Sandy is widespread and runs deep, and the physical, spiritual, and moral needs of our nation seem on many days to be a bottomless pit. We would sink in despair if we thought we had to climb our way out of this pit, but as followers of Christ, we have a different understanding on the situation, both in our nation and around the world. We participate in our government and we pray for our leaders, but we don’t count on them to meet our needs; we have a God in heaven who has adopted us, and He is able to provide for His children. We get involved in the relief efforts and we reach out to those who have lost much to the hurricane, but we also don’t take on the burden to rebuild people’s lives; we point them to the Savior, who is mighty to save and able to put all of the pieces of their lives back together.
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God (Psalm 20:7). Lift up His name. Call upon His name. He is Bread for the hungry, Living Water for the thirsty, Wisdom for the confused, the Alpha and Omega for those who need a new start in life, the Shepherd for those who need direction, the King of Kings for all who long for the security of bowing the need to a trustworthy leader. He is Lord. He is God. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken (Psalm 62:2).
Will you take time now to pray for the people of our nation and to ask God to give Christians a great measure of courage today?
Thank you, Kimberly Sowell, for your sage words today. Please visit Kimberly’s website, “His Heart” at: http://kimberlysowell.wordpress.com
IN GOD WE TRUST
What was your worst day with God? Ah, I’ve got your attention, don’t I? Most likely because no one’s ever asked you this question. It’s a topic that forces you to think.
Should I go first?
I’ll never forget my worst day with God. Actually, there were several. I’m sure you can say the same.
My five-year old daughter woke up healthy one morning. By day’s end, she was semi-comatose. I carried her in my arms into the hospital as she lost control of her bowels. One look at the color of her skin and fingernails and I knew I was losing her. A mother knows.
Where is God when something like this happens to an innocent child?
He was there. In that hospital room. Bolstering my husband and me. Sending believers to comfort my daughter who was in agony, to encourage her parents to not give up hope. Sending the best infectious disease specialist that Pittsburgh had to offer – a doctor who became an unrelenting private investigator seeking the cause of my daughter’s journey to death.
God was there when the doctor discovered the name of the deadly disease. He was there when the doctor understood how to treat it. And He was there when we brought her home. Pink-fleshed, smiling, but weak.
Where was God the day my husband lost his job – our sole income? Where was He when we sold our house and still had no job or another place to live? Where was He the week our cash ran out?
Without question, God was there that shocking day, only 12 days before Christmas, when my husband’s company let people go. He sent our minister to pray with us and to advise us to seek God’s wisdom daily. He sent other believers to pray with us and for us. He sent believers who helped us financially. He sent offers of residence from numerous people when our home became someone else’s. He provided an inheritance when we faced fiscal despair – an inheritance for which we had waited 18 very long years.
Those were my worst days with God.
Joyce Meyer, the Christian evangelist, says that she would rather have a worst day with God than a best day without Him. Now that’s a statement. One with which I wholeheartedly agree.
Why? The answer is so simple. Because on my worst days – and they have been wretched – I was not alone.
We live by what we believe, not by what we can see. 2 Corinthians 5:7
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Cynthia Howerter © 2012Read More