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 looked at the kitchen clock and cringed when I saw it was after 7 p.m. My daughter always calls me when she leaves work, but tonight, I hadn’t heard from her. Something’s not right. I took a second look at the clock and wondered what I should do. I’d better call.
The voice on the other end was in utter distress, and my stomach knotted. “Meg?”
“Yes, Mom,” she sobbed.
“Are you all right, honey?” My heart was in my throat while I waited for her answer.
My daughter’s voice disintegrated into gut-wrenching sobs and indistinguishable words. “Meg, what’s wrong? I can’t understand you.”
“It’s my friend Sarah’s dog, Winston. H-e-’s d-y-i-n-g.”
“I’m at Sarah’s house. I left work and came right over. Poor Winston is dying and we’re waiting for the vet to come here and put Winston down. Winston is all Sarah has, and I couldn’t let Sarah go through this alone.”
Sarah and Megan work in the same office. I recalled how Sarah took my daughter under her wing when Megan began working there—so far from her home and family. “No, you have to be there with her and Winston. How is Sarah?”
“She’s devastated. She can’t stop crying and neither can I. Winston is such a good dog.”
“What’s Winston doing?” The mournful cries in the background made me choke up.
“He’s just lying here looking at us. We’re petting him. Sarah’s telling him that she loves him.” I swallowed hard, envisioning the scene based on the sounds.
“Oh, Meg. Tell Sarah how sorry I am about Winston. I know she appreciates you being there with her.”
“She does, Mom. This is so hard. I couldn’t let Sarah be here alone. I wouldn’t want to be alone if this was my dog.”
“You are a true friend, Megan. The best. You’re doing what’s right, and I’m proud of you. Call me when you get home. And please give Sarah a hug for me.”
I hung up the phone and sunk into a chair. Several tears ran down my cheeks.
When Megan took her first job and moved nine hours away from us, Sarah befriended her and looked out after my daughter. I was relieved to know that my daughter had a nearby friend.
Now, after Megan spent a full day at work, barely taking time for lunch, she left the office late. Skipping supper, Megan hurried to her friend’s house so Sarah wouldn’t be alone when her faithful Winston breathed his last.
The words from Luke 6:31 came to me: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
Oh, Sarah, Meg, we all need friends like you.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Photograph by Megan Howerter © 2012
I’ve returned to bed this morning, lingering, because two mugs of coffee have not given me their usual jolt. Lying here, I study the old, faded quilt that I’ve thrown over me. Although I’ve used it as an extra cover all winter, it’s been years since I really looked at it.
My Grandma Anna made it. I no longer remember the name of the quilt pattern, but I’m struck at how cheerful the colors are. While a neutral brown creates the border and surrounds each of the flowers, it’s the palette of colors that Grandma Anna selected that catch my eye.
Hexagonal pieces of plain lavender fabric surrounded by pieces of printed lavender.
Pale pink enveloped by cheerful pink roses with green stems and leaves on a white background.
Yellow ringed by yellow and blue. This is art produced by a creative mind.
My mind drifts to the dresses Grandma Anna sewed for me when I was a wee lass. Dresses that I now realize were expertly sewn and fitted, looking more like an expensive store-bought dress than one that was sewn at home. The wool mittens she knit, made of primary red, yellow, and blue-colored yarn, fit my toddler hands perfectly.
A gifted student of color and design created numerous works of love-infused art just for me.
Although I knew Grandma Anna to be a godly woman who read and studied her Bible and never missed church, I never realized until now what a highly creative person she was. She lived in a different state when I grew up, and, because of the great distance between our homes, I saw her briefly once or twice a year. She passed on when I was in my twenties.
Now, so many years later, God is giving me an opportunity this morning to see Grandma Anna through different eyes. And I realize how alike we are.
Who in your life do you need to see from a different vantage point? Your spouse? Your child? Your parent or a sibling? A friend? A foe? What precious and unique gifts do they possess that have been there all along, obscured by their very presence, in front of your eyes?
The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands. Proverbs 14: 1 (NKJV)
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Photographs by Cynthia Howerter 2013Read More
Socks, socks, and more socks! It looked like my dryer contained more men’s socks than the Gold Toe sock display at Macy’s.
The sight of so many socks now piled on top of the dryer made me exasperated. My best estimate told me there must be at least 50 socks that I needed to match, fold, and put away. I definitely was not pleased with this menial, time-consuming chore.
“It’s all in a person’s perspective. You can either find the blessing and be grateful or find the fault and feel awful.” I could hear my friend Miss Caroline explain the value of perspective as clearly as if she stood next to me. It made me take a second look at the sock pile.
I suddenly realized several important things:
- These socks belong to my husband.
- I have a precious husband.
- If my husband owns 50 socks, then it’s because he has a job and can afford to buy socks.
- And if my husband has a job, it’s because God provided it for him – for us!
My disdain at having to fold so many socks turned to joy when I adjusted my perspective. A chore that could be viewed as drudgery was actually a blessing.
What things in your life need a change in perspective?
Be thankful in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
Photograph by Cynthia Howerter © 2013Read 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