Following 4 generations of faith
My mom grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. But in the summers, she and Uncle Rob would visit their boy cousins on Aunt Linda’s chicken farm in Perry, Arkansas.
Linda’s home still holds stories: The boy cousins staging a “haunting” of an old barn, with Mom and her best friend inside; Mom getting in on a baseball game thanks to a cousin who told another rude little boy, “She’s playing”; and even the story of how Mom met Dad. (That’s a whole ‘nother editor’s note.)
Like Mom, I’ve always enjoyed being part of a boy’s club. And I’m sure Mom’s combined Illinois/Arkansas upbringing helped me win both the Chicago and “redneck” rounds of a recent “accent game” among friends. (“Redneck” is certainly not my mom’s default mode of speaking, but we Southerners all have our moments.)
Mom read to me all the time when I was little, taught me how to sound out my letters, and as I got older we’d read novels together. We’d sit on the living room couch or the front porch swing and take turns reading a chapter aloud. If I got bored (which I did once), we’d stop. But wouldn’t you know I went back later to the book that had “bored” me and read it twice!
It occurs to me as I write this that Mom had already read the books we shared. But I guess that didn’t matter to her.
Anything I know how to cook comes from Mom. Anything cute I wear comes from Mom —whether because she bought it for me, bought it for herself and wound up giving it to me, or because I followed her advice and only bought it if I was “in love with it.”
Any sense of interior design I might possess comes from Mom. I didn’t always enjoy flipping through the pages of Veranda with her, but now I salivate over the photos as much as she does.
Most importantly, from both Mom and Dad, I inherited a knowledge of the Lord. Mom is the fourth of at least that many generations of women with strong Christian faith. Physical reminders are scattered around — like a painting of my great-great-grandmother that hung in the Assembly of God church in Casa, Arkansas, before being turned over to a relative, or my great-grandmother’s Bible that now rests in Mom’s guest room.
My Grandma Irma and other women in the family have used the phrase “the good Lord” enough that it’s etched in my memory, emphasis on “good.” When I was struggling to come to faith during college, Grandma wrote in a card for me, “Trust in Jesus and you will be happy.”
I’m sure she didn’t know what else to say —and “happy” is a relative term for anybody until the Lord returns — but she was right.
Irma is gone, but my three great-aunts, whom we call “the Sisters,” are soldiering on. They still play their Scrabble games. They still tease each other when they’re winning. And they still pray.
So does my mom. She prays for Dad and me and my brother and sister-in-law every day. She has fought for us, consoled us, offered us good advice, argued with us — and most importantly, prayed for us and loved us. If I’m ever a wife and mother and can do either of those things well, I think I’ll be all right.
Our cover story this month is about Jeanhee Kang, a wife and mother who has been through just about everything you can imagine — from poverty to abortion to abuse to losing her youngest son, only to find him again. God has used every last bit of it for His glory, of course, and I cannot urge you to page 20 fast enough.
Also check out our Women We Love feature on page 16, featuring my own therapist, Lacy Deese, whom I mentioned in last month’s editor’s note. And, great news — Modern Motherhood is back! You’ll find Libbo’s latest column on page 14.
If your mother is around, tell her happy Mother’s Day. If this holiday is a little more complicated for you, I pray the peace of God will surround you like a mother’s hug and tell you just how loved you are. Until next time, friends.