2011 at 12:53 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
Biblical Womanhood Suffering
“It was not wicked for the Lord to take my son.” These are the words of Lisa Blanco, just a few short weeks after losing her baby boy:
On April 2, the Lord took our sweet boy to be with him. Just before he passed, we were able to sing to him. Ernie sang “It Is Well” and I hummed “A Mighty Fortress” the best I could. I held him for the first time, telling him we’d see him soon. I passed him to Ernie, and when the time came to take all the machines off, Ernie quoted Numbers 6:24-26 as the last words Haddon could hear:
The LORD bless you, and keep you;?
The LORD make his face shine on you,?
And be gracious to you;?
The LORD lift up his countenance on you,?
And give you peace.
As our plans as parents have been thrown into confusion and sadness, we are faced with the question of what happens next. I long each morning to wake up to a crying baby to console in my arms. Ernie longs to come home from a long day of work to play with his son, and each time we walk to the garage we have to pass an empty nursery painted in blue. Through each seemingly impossible fear that rushes to our minds, the Lord has calmed us with several great truths about himself and our circumstance.
Some of you reading this today have also suffered the excruciating pain of losing a child. May these great and calming truths about God be a balm to your soul.
2011 at 10:33 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
Biblical Womanhood 52home
Mother’s Day Moments 6:05 p.m.
2011 at 1:10 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
I know, I know, we did that yesterday, right? But let me beg your indulgence one more day, because there was a post last week we didn’t want you to miss. Kevin DeYoung issued a humble challenge to Christian colleges and their alumni magazines:
”[R]oughly half of the graduates of Christian colleges are mothers. Close to 60% of the graduates are women and most them will get married and have children, many of them as their primary vocation for a long season of their lives….I’m wondering why the calling lived out by more graduates than any other calling is so infrequently celebrated?
So here’s my challenge: let me know if you’ve seen an alumni magazine from a Christian college that spotlights mothers, not mothers who also dance in the ballet and spin centrifuges, but mothers who are “just” mothers.
And a bonus challenge, this one for our fine Christian colleges: we’d love to see how proud you are of the half of your graduates putting their education to good use by helping their husbands, raising kids, serving in the church, and doing a hundred other amazing things that don’t look impressive to most people but should look impressive to us.” (bold emphasis mine)
It’s worth the ninety seconds it would take to forward Kevin’s post to your alma mater. But perhaps a more important response lies closer to home.
Let’s consider: what do we think about mothers who are “just” mothers? Are we proud of them? Do we spotlight and celebrate them? Do we want to be one?
If you are “just” a mother, what do you think about your calling? Do you think you are putting your education to good use wiping runny noses and dirty bottoms, combing tangles and climbing over toys, picking up after your husband and putting down your baby for a nap, creating crafts for your church’s children’s ministry and having new folks over for Sunday lunch?
To ask it another way: Who do we admire and applaud—the woman who is extraordinarily gifted or the woman who is extraordinarily faithful? As Christians, what doesn’t look impressive to most people should look very impressive to us.
Does it to you?
2011 at 4:36 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
Biblical Womanhood 52home
Happy Mother’s Day from the girltalkers.
2011 at 7:33 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
Biblical Womanhood 52home
6:00 p.m. My “hidden” Mother’s Day card from Caly.
2011 at 1:15 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Erica Sunshine Owen wanted to give her mom, Jodie, a special gift for Mother’s Day. She wanted to give her “the gift of reminding her of the great grace of the gospel.” So Erica wrote her a letter. And she kindly sent it to us, to share with all of you: “I thought some of your readers probably struggle with the same things and could possibly be encouraged by our testimony.” (I suggest you have some tissues handy as you read this beautiful letter!) Thank you Erica for this wonderful gift. Happy Mother’s Day to you and your mom.
Thirty-five years ago you were celebrating your first Mother’s Day as a brand new mom - a single mom, just turned nineteen. You had been through a difficult 9 months of loneliness and broken promises. And then you held me. You said that was the first happiness you had experienced in some time and you named me “Sunshine” hoping for brighter days ahead.
As a mom myself now, I discover more each year how difficult an accomplishment that was. Going through labor and delivery alone, having the huge hospital bill to pay off (I don’t think you had insurance), and barely having time to recover physically before going back to work long hours on your feet to support me. And that was just the beginning.
There were your dreams for more education that had to be put on hold. I remember when I was in elementary school and you told me you were going to start taking classes toward a college degree. You even got nice new shoes you could wear to class that weren’t nasty from the factory where you worked. I also remember the sad night our car broke down in the rain and you had to walk in those nice new shoes to get help for us. I sat in the car and cried for you knowing the shoes were ruined and that there would now be car repair bills which would probably put your education on hold even longer.
I was the only kid in my public school class from a single-parent home. It wasn’t commonplace then, and we were looked down on. You didn’t have time to volunteer in the school and get to know the teachers. You told me anything I accomplished would be through hard work and talent since I wouldn’t get any breaks like other kids with moms on the PTA.
You sat alone at school plays and concerts and recitals. I know that was hard for you. I can see why you often sat there with tears in your eyes. I’m sure some of the tears were the tears of a proud parent watching her growing child, but I also know there were tears because you didn’t have anyone with whom to share those times.
We lived in an apartment - a public housing apartment - when my other friends lived in nice houses. But you didn’t baby me to compensate for the lack of things. It was reality, and you helped me deal with it the best you could.
We went through some really hard things too painful to mention here. But for years now, when I look back at everything, I have seen the hand of a gracious God. Even in the hard times, He kept them from being as hard as they could have been. And He gave me to you and you to me which was just what we needed. I needed a single mom who was the toughest, most hard-working and determined woman I’ve ever known. That toughness and determination made your love for me a priority when it would’ve been easy to collapse under all the burdens you were bearing. And I was loved. There was no doubt about that.
But His grace is most evident when, as a thirty-four year old woman, you bowed your knee to Him and called on Him to save you. I remember that, too. And oh how our lives changed! There was hope, peace, purpose, and joy where there hadn’t been. Yes, our God is mighty to save and abundant in mercy! And that theme had been woven through our lives from the beginning though we weren’t aware of it. What a gracious God we have.
So today I want to say, as I’ve told you many times, how thankful I am that God made YOU my mom. I have learned so much from you. I am so proud of what He has allowed you to accomplish. Those public housing apartments we lived in? You’ve been the Executive Director of public assisted housing for years now. That Associates degree you were trying to start when I was in elementary school? You just completed your MBA last month. And the daughter you worried about turning out right because of the “baggage” and “wrong” home life? She’s happily satisfied in God and serving Him, married to a godly pastor, and has been blessed with three precious gifts from above. Grace upon grace.
I know you are a private person and are probably slightly annoyed that I’ve written this for others to read. But our story is the story of many others like us. And it’s one that shouts of God’s pursuit of His children in unlikely places and in unlikely ways. He sought us and never gave up on us. He loved us, and saved us, and forgave us, and we are HIS! “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)
Rejoice today, Mom, in sins forgiven and abundant grace that’s yours! Rejoice in the work of our Savior doing for us what we could not do for ourselves! And rejoice that He has used the mess that was our lives and made His grace shine all the brighter BECAUSE OF the mess. Only God can do things like that!
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I’m rejoicing together with you and because of God’s work in you.
With much love,
2011 at 3:06 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
Biblical Womanhood 52home
2011 at 3:04 pm | by Kristin Chesemore
The second group of women we want to honor this Mother’s Day week are the single moms. I’m so glad to have the chance to thank all of you, because my own life has been significantly blessed by one single mom in particular: my mother-in-law.
Kaye was at one time a mother of three active little boys like me. When she became a single mom, she had to take on a brand new job, and pursue her master’s degree at the same time. Although circumstances required her to work outside the home, she never sacrificed her care for her boys.
They each played sports and she found a way to attend all their games, often rising at 4:30 am so she could get to work early and be home in time. She once told me that she brought her textbooks everywhere in order to fit in her homework. All three boys took music lessons, had special birthday parties, and went to Pizza Hut with Mom every Friday night. They knew that she was always available to talk to them at any time.
Her sacrifice was great and her labor was constant. Many times it went unnoticed, but it has borne much fruit. Today her three sons have grown up to become godly men. All three have wives and sons of their own and Kaye is a wonderful grandmother to a new generation of active boys. In October, I was blessed to present Kaye with her first granddaughter, Claire Charlotte—her middle name a tribute to her lovely, selfless, grandmother.
To all you single moms reading this, I want to say thank you for your sacrifice. May you be encouraged by the fruit of one woman’s faithfulness to press on in this work that God has called you to. As you draw upon His grace, and rely upon His strength, you can look forward to a day when future generations will be blessed.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
2011 at 8:26 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
Biblical Womanhood 52home
2:37 p.m. Melanie and Moon
2011 at 3:11 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
My sisters and I want to echo Mom’s comments from yesterday. We are so grateful for the single women who babysat and made special memories with us when we were kids. And today we’re so blessed by the young women who love on our children.
A few years ago, Caroline sent us this story of three single women who left an indelible imprint on several generations of children. We’re reposting it this Mother’s Day week in hopes that it encourages all the single women who serve families. Thank you leaving a legacy of godliness to the little children in your life!
I was single until I was 35 (now have 4 year old twin daughters—our double blessing).
As a child we had a friend called Donna who came for tea every week, babysat, and had much godly input for me and my brothers. I am 44 now and still think of her as part of our family and although I rarely see her anymore, I always remember her with enormous affection and some of her advice helps me still.
As a single I had the privilege of being very close to several families with children. I was a young lady whose main aim was (and always will be) to be a Proverbs 31 wife and mother. I found it incredibly hard being single, but found great fulfillment in spending time with the children of my friends. I worked with children, and also went to one friend every week to help her with her children when her husband was working late. I also babysat and spent time with other friends and their children. I adored all of them, and felt enormously privileged when they called me their friend, and when I heard them repeating phrases I often used!
As a Mum with young children now, I have a special friend called Helen who comes for tea once a week and helps put my daughters to bed, prays with us all, reads them stories, comes on outings with my husband, children and me, and babysits. When my daughters talk about extended family, they always include her. She has great input into their lives and I feel privileged to have her as part of our lives.
Just as I called Donna “my Donna” and my friend’s children called me “my Caroline,” my children are now calling Helen “my Helen.” I am truly blessed!
2011 at 3:16 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
Biblical Womanhood 52home
2011 at 1:26 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
For Mother’s Day week, we wanted to honor two groups of women.
First, we want to thank single women who do not have children of their own, but have chosen to love, serve, care for, and nurture other people’s children. You too are worthy of honor on Mother’s Day.
How does a single woman enter into the meaning of motherhood if she doesn’t have children of her own? Elisabeth Elliot answered this question:
“A single woman can have children! She may be a spiritual mother, as was Amy Carmichael [missionary to orphans in India], by the very offering of her singleness, transformed for the good of far more children than a natural mother may produce.”
I know so many of you who have offered your singleness to God and had it transformed for the good of many children. You have become spiritual mothers to countless little ones.
When you listen to children’s stories and laugh at their jokes, when you babysit them or take them on a special outing, when you encourage and comfort and teach them, you enter into the meaning of motherhood and honor God who created you as a woman to nurture little ones.
Single women, may I say “thank you” on behalf of all of us mothers? Thank you for babysitting our children. Thank you for taking an interest in our children. Thank you for making the gospel attractive to our children. Thank you for loving our children as if they were your very own.
My fellow moms, let’s seek out and honor the single women who love our children this Mother’s Day.