Cherishing time with Mom

“Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16

She was wearing sunglasses. Why do people, especially older women a bit beyond middle age wear sunglasses inside? Okay. She may have sensitivity issues with the lighting. Or she had just come from the eye doctor and had her eyes dilated. Who knows? But the eyes are the window to the soul, the communication tool that usually tells the truth. So when she started to get in line at the bank I stepped back and let her in front of me. I was waiting for Mother and told her so.

 

“Oh, that’s your mother? Treasure the days you have with her. I still miss my mother. Lost her twenty years ago, but when I see something I know she’ll like, I start to say something like, “Look at this, Mom” and have to stop myself and remember that she isn’t here.”

 

I do enjoy time with my mother, I responded. And indeed I do, but her encouragement made me think a bit deeper about our time together. Made me want to look into her eyes a little longer, hold her hand a bit tighter, even for a moment. And take her compliments to heart.

mom alone two

Honestly, we do have a very good relationship. We’ve both worked on it. From this end, I have to honestly admit that even as recent as these four years since retiring, have I let go of past words of hurt. I’ve let go of rehashing how she treats me as if I’m twelve and move on with it. After all, truth be told, my own grown sons often think I treat them like little boys from time to time and I have to rethink how to approach them and the situation at hand.

 

Instead, I’ve begun to enjoy this season with her – taking her out of her apartment in her independent living home to the grocery store, on a drive through the neighborhood to see the lovely landscaped homes, to the doctor’s office and back; even on a country drive to see the bluebonnets. More often than not, though, she arranges for the two of us dine with her girlfriends in the dining room before venturing out the door. Those lunch conversations with she and her friends have delighted my spirit of late, as they reminisce their childhoods and college days. They are each loaded with fascinating stories! They’ve grown up all over the country, traveled all over the world, worked and volunteered in such interesting pursuits! Their stories, including Moms’, are books unto themselves. Worth the time.

 

Our time together is sacred and know that this too will pass, but not without my noticing more closely our conversations, her insights, her laugh, her voice. And thank God for all of it. Our time together.

 

Her fingerprints are on my heart. Even before she goes to her eternal home, she is leaving me a legacy. A life well lived. Mom never meets a stranger. She knows everyone in her building. Knows when they moved in, who their children are, and if she doesn’t see someone she’s used to seeing often, she goes to their door and checks on them. It’s what they do. She treasures her friends, even those with peculiar habits and ideas.

 

Mom and I share a love of books, and, I’m starting to enjoy her favorite new evening television show, “Bull.” We also love giving and receiving flowers, dark chocolate, ice cream and hot tea.

She is by far much more proper than me. I’m flung to the winds in my dress, hair and style. She, on the other hand, is proper, careful to always look her best before she walks out the door. And, there is nothing out of place in her lovely apartment! Never!

 

But the greatest love we share is our love for our Lord. Countless times have I sat on her floral love seat as close to her in her lady recliner as possible, leaning in as we discuss something that was said in a sermon, questioning a passage of scripture, or trying to figure out what heaven will be like when we get there. We have held hands and prayed together, for one another, for our family, our friends, those we hold dear.

No, Tuesdays are not a burden. I look forward to the time with my mother now more than ever. This Mother’s Day, though, I’ll be away from her, but two of her grandchildren will have breakfast with her and it will be the highlight of her day! How she treasures her grands and great-grands!

mom with grandkidsmeredith and kids two

 

 

 

 

 

 

To you, my sweet readers, whether your mother and you share time together or not, hopefully you have some treasured memories of the good times with her. May the Lord give you opportunity to reflect with gratitude.

Lord, as I penned those last words, I am aware that not every daughter is blessed with good memories of her mother. Though it saddens me, it humbles me to realize how very blessed I am to have this loving and rich relationship with my mother. Grateful. Lord, be near to those, your daughters who know you. Heal their broken heart of hurt memories and flood them with assurance that You have them. You love them deeply always. And Lord, thank you for my mother, Louise. In your glorious name, Amen.

 

We can ALL chip in and help our students!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not into your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.” Proverbs 3:5-6

416be30a1799f82ff2b52fefdc62ed47--southern-living-southern-charm

When Southern Living magazine came to our home, I pulled it out of the mailbox, eagerly turning to the very back page to relish in Rick Bragg’s latest story of his deep Southern roots.  So, with every single magazine I turn to the back page. Somewhere along the way, we’ve been receiving “O” magazine. I never ordered it and haven’t bothered to let them know our change of mailing address. Still, for a bit longer, it comes to us with the sticker of notice to let the publisher know of the new address. I’ve learned that whether I agree with Oprah’s views or not, I tend to glean something worthwhile in every issue.O magazine

This afternoon I turned to the back page – Oprah’s essay entitled “What I know for Sure.” This month she talked about what she learned from her interview of fourteen folks following several recent school shootings. “There was one answer everyone agreed on: family. Protecting family. Caring for family. Loving family.” As I continued reading her essay, I reflected on what I heard Michael Berry say on his afternoon radio show on KTRH in his tribute to Barbara Bush.

“The Bushes are a clannish people. They take care of their own no matter what. Whatever will be said of Barbara Bush, and I believe most of it will be positive, she loved and cherished her family. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with a mother who stays home and focuses on her family.”

Were you blessed with a mom who focused on her family? Are you one of those moms who cares deeply about her family? Truthfully, I don’t know of one woman who doesn’t care about her family enough to fight for them. Maybe I live in a protected world, but honestly, I’m grateful to know moms who are devoted to their children, their husband, their parents, their family.

The point of Oprah’s article was a plea for all of us to come and stand together for the good of our nation’s families. Oprah asks the question, “Can we agree to use our common sense to protect the common good?”  In agreeing with Oprah, I also hope and pray that we can stand together for our families. What does this mean?

Here’s my take on how schools could help their troubled children:

First and foremost, parents, love your children with time. Spend incredible time with them, doing things with them that don’t require phones, i-pads or videos. Parents, listen to your children. Listen to their heart; listen to them read. Then, you read to your children.  And you be the authority in your home and be in control of your child’s electronic devices.

mom and her kids

Parents, befriend your children’s teachers –they are not the enemy. Most teachers have your children’s best interest at heart just as much as you do. It’s time for you and your teachers to be on the same team.

School administrators, reach out to the retired neighbors and the seniors in the area and ask them to donate an hour a week to one on one time with an “at risk” child. The counselor knows most of those children.

mentoring a student two

Fathers of the children in the area schools, including middle and high school, commit to one hour a week to walking the school. Presence is everything. Shooting some hoops on the court in the afternoon, or sitting down at the lunch room and engaging in conversation with those who generally sit alone. Believe me, the students can tell the fathers who the loners are.

dad eating with his daughter

Moms, along with your presence on the PTA committees and at Field Day, donate an hour of your time to listening to a child read aloud, not just an elementary school age child, but even a middle school or high school student.

Do you see the pattern? Donated time of presence in the school. Eye to eye contact with the students. One on one time with the students. Retired folks, one hour a week is huge to the school in your area!

 

Churches need to rally around the schools in their area and pray for them; go to the school to ask how they may minister to the students and staff in their school. Truthfully, every principal worth his or her salt would gladly welcome their help! Last spring after a recent flood, a family near our church came to our benevolence committee to ask for some help- a mattress, some clothes and perhaps some groceries. We gladly reached out to help this family. As it turned out, the principal of the children’s school heard about the need and came to us to ask if our church would “adopt” her school, and just pray for her staff. We jumped at the opportunity! Several members met at the school and walked the campus one weekend, praying for the faculty, students and parents of that school. And now, several members volunteer to mentor some children in that school.

The first words out of my young third grade student mentee this morning was, “I told my mom what my favorite days of the week are: Friday, Saturday,” and pointing his finger at me, “Monday because I get to see YOU!” Then he pulled out his newest Pokemon card to tell me all about it. Our hour was filled with some pretty vulnerable moments where he revealed his deepest heart cry to me before we played some games together. As I walked out the door after a lovely hour with him, I thought about whether he would remember our time together this year when he gets to high school. Then I thought, I don’t know, but I’m going to ask for him next school year.

mentoring a student one

Thank you, Father, for the opportunity to get to know this young man each Monday. Thank you for the time we spend together. May all of us Believers seek your face and ask You for your guidance in how we each may reach out to the children right in our own back yard. Be with the parents of our children these days. Give them your wisdom, strength, and humility as they raise our nation’s future. I pray they’ll use the Bible as their guide always. In Your name, Amen.

 

Mamas of Adult Children, we need to talk

adult hugging a son“I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” I Samuel 1:27-28

The other day my younger son called on his lunch hour. “Hi, Mom.”

“Son! Are you okay???” My usual response.

“Mom. Please. You don’t have to ask every time I call if I’m okay. Those days are history. I just called to say hello!” Brought down to earth. Okay, Son. I get it. Sorry.

My son is twenty-seven. He has lived out of our home since he was eighteen or so and by God’s gracious hand and His never-letting-go promise, our son is doing well.

But the mom gene kicks in. The memories of those days when his calls meant he was not quite okay. And for a time it seemed to be one crisis after another. Again, by His sovereign grace, our son is learning how to deal with life’s situations and he is making more sound healthy choices.

Look at how mama bird trains her young. Mama shoves that baby bird to the edge of the nest after he’s had enough of the tiny surroundings and push! Out of the nest he goes! The ground is moving up closer and closer! He must flap his wings! And he does! By golly! He is doing exactly what he was created to do! Flying high in the sky!

Moms, our adult children are flying!

They are soaring and making good choices for the most part. But more than that……they are learning. Our children are their own person and they are learning what works best for them. We parents were given responsibility to nurture and teach our children for about eighteen years then set them free. If we failed in that area, may they forgive us. We are flawed failing folks like the parents before us.

I made MANY mistakes raising our two sons.

 But one summer a few years ago, as my younger son and I were driving somewhere and he was talking about forgiving those whom he had hurt during his poor choices days, I asked him to forgive me for the many mistakes I made while raising him in his childhood and youth. He forgave me. Moving on, I let go of the past and gave it all to God. I had to if I wanted to move on and stop feeling like a total failure. He, my son, had forgiven me. He, my Creator God, had forgiven me. (Jeremiah 31:34). Why was I hanging on? Finally, I mentally chose to yield it all up to Him. Whenever those memories return to haunt me, I choose to say, “Nope. Not going there. Those days are gone. I’ve moved on!” Sometimes I cry out loud so my brain and the enemy will know I mean business.

I  had to yield up my personal dreams and expectations for our sons.

I have yielded up my plans in order to watch what God is doing in their lives. Yielded up dreams but have continued to love and support our sons and be thankful for the Lord’s hand in their lives, whether they acknowledge God or not. Sore knees are proof that I plead with the Father for His care for our sons.

Moms, whether we have sons or daughters, they were created to thrive independently.

Lately, my friend and I have been chatting over the crisis her twenty-something year old daughter is in, seemingly emotionally stuck in a very hard place. Already, her choices cost her parents to cancel two vacation trips over the past eighteen months. My friend and her husband are frustrated and frazzled. “I am sure it is much harder to say this to a mom of a daughter,” I began, “than to those of us with sons, but….you may need to seriously consider letting her go. She is pulling you two down with her and you’re finding it so hard to see out of the hole.” My friend confessed that she and her husband had indeed been enabling their daughter to the tune of several thousand dollars over a two year period of time. She was finally seeing that they needed to let her make some hard decisions and allow the Lord to hold and protect her. He delights in taking care of His children and this daughter is a child of His; just caught in the deep woods right now.

Moms, we can drive our adult children nuts if we need to hear from them all the time.

We don’t even like to hear from girlfriends every singe day! We are busy and we need to allow our children to go on with their lives. We don’t need to know their every move. If we are so invested in their lives that we are texting or calling way too often, then perhaps we are the ones who need to “get a life.” Something to consider.

Here are some things to think about. Please. Or you’ll risk losing your relationship with your daughter or son for good.

They don’t need you to ask them if they gained weight lately!

  1.  Instead of commenting on your son or daughter’s appearance in a negative way –  you may want to leave that one alone. Or comments about how they look. If it isn’t kind, necessary, or true, shut up. Honestly. Your son or daughter still wants your approval and to be constantly criticized even as an adult hurts and drives a deep wedge. Stop.

They’re not comfortable telling you everything about their relationships.

2.   Instead of continually asking about their relationship with so and so, wait. Wait til they are ready for you to know about their relationship with so and so. And by all means, keep your personal opinion to yourself about the person!!! PRAY! God knows so-and-so much better than you. And He knows what is going on. And if…..per chance, your daughter or son makes a “mistake” pray! Ask God to guide the decisions of your son/daughter.

Make time to be with your son/daughter in a positive way.

3.   Make some time to be with your adult children in ways that they appreciate and delight in. My sons love that I make an effort to meet them for lunch or dinner from time to time.

They desperately need to hear you say it:

4.   I love you! Often. Meaning it. No conditions.

Be thankful for one another.

5.   You have much to be thankful for in your children. Tell them.

You and I both know of friends who long for even a phone call from a son or daughter who severed the ties. Be it a divorce, a death, ugly words that left the mouth before thinking…..whatever the reason, there is deep hurt and wounds so deep it will take a miracle to salvage. If I’m speaking to you, I’m so sorry for your hurt and will pray that God does a healing work in the life of your adult child as well as in you. The beauty of life in Jesus is forgiveness. Asking God to forgive me for hurting my son set me free to love him more deeply as the young man God created him to be. Our children are flawed. So are their parents! By God’s grace and forgiveness He is the one who set us free from the sin that entangles us and threatens our relationships.

Today if you are estranged from your son or daughter, take steps to ask God to forgive you.

If you sense that your son or daughter is pulling away, take a look at how you are treating him or her and back off a bit and let them come to you. Pray always and give thanks for the relationship you have. Let them know you love them and are giving them their wings to fly!

Lord, help all of us moms to love our children passionately while holding them loosely and allowing you to mold them into Your timeless image. We entrust them to You! In Your name, Amen.

 

What I learned on vacation

mountains

“Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” Psalm 90:2

Mentoring doesn’t take a vacation. It doesn’t happen on “Mary Kay time”–nine to nine.

No, mentoring happens when it’s needed.

This week two moms were in need. One evening I received an epistle on my phone. This mom’s twenty-something son was giving her some grief.  His issues were not going to be solved over texting. One of us, I forget who, punched in the number. I put down my book about the nation of Israel and its rebirth, turned off the music and listened. You know, she told me in a nearly desperate sounding voice, I wish I had someone to sit on the edge of the bed with me and tell me I was doing the right thing with this kid. That kind of support would mean so much.

Thankfully, my Beloved mentors with me through prayer, advice and fix-it skills. In the middle of this week of vacation, he drove up the driveway to vacation with me. After he did a little fishing, he and I had a conversation with this mom, encouraging her decisions and her heart. Before the week was over, she sent me a less long text saying that her son had been offered a job and that the repairs on his truck were not as high as she thought. Though still dealing with some other troubling issues, his mom sees again the working of God in their lives and how He provides faithfully.

Our other mom texted some needs for prayer. Because she was working, her messages came less often. Still my husband and I prayed. Knowing this mom was so anxious about having to be at work and away from her daughter in crisis, I sent her an email, reminding her of how huge God is. He is overseeing her daughter as well as her dad who is with her;

God is over her, mom. I reminded her that when she prays for her daughter, she is really shooting up an AMEN! to God in agreement with His moving and taking care of what she can’t handle.

That’s right. We fix-it moms believe we are responsible for taking care of our children, which means being there for all their needs; intervening in the choices they make; and holding ourselves responsible for their mistakes and poor choices. After all, we believe, it’s our fault for their messes. We gave birth to them so surely we are responsible for every little thing they do.

What, Moms, is God’s purpose! To be aloof? To form the mountains, the oceans, set the sun and moon in motion then go away? To form the child in your womb and let you handle the child from there? What a false belief!

True, we are given these children to raise to the best of our responsibility but not alone!

With or without a husband, we moms would be better off when we live out the truth that God, who formed the mountains as well as that baby in your womb will be a part of your everyday life.

But He is not a God who pushes Himself on any of us! We invite Him into our home and by faith we say, God, take this young man, this young lady, and mold them in to the young people you have designed them to be. Help them through the choices they make. Be there with them when they are hurting and missing a dad, when they are doubting that anyone loves them, that they hurt so deep that they want to hurt themselves. Remind them, God, that they are made for a purpose – to give Him glory. Moms, we must get a hold of the truth that God wants us to let go and let Him take care of our young people.

 Mentors, we are most useful when we do listen to our moms, hearing their torn and broken heart.

We do well to shed a little light on the less perfect road we have traveled in raising our own children, validating to our moms that we are real and have hurt too. Intentionally, and because our moms are yearning to be reminded of what is truth, we share God’s promises with them.

 The daughter’s mom appreciated the fact that I told her I had been in the psych hospital with one son; had waited in the ER while he dried out from an overdose. I knew the pain she was experiencing with a child who hurt so deep that she wanted to hurt herself. And I reminded her that there wasn’t much I could do but pray.

Lean hard in to the truth that Jesus wants so much to bring me His peace.

(John 14:27).

 So I shared with her that as much as you want to fix your young lady, continue to make her aware of the truths from God’s word that she is beautifully made. It’s up to her to own those truths and believe in them and not the lies of the world and the enemy. I reminded mom that when she leans in to the truth that Jesus is her peace, (John 16:33) she can be a better mom when she relaxes in His presence and releases her anxiety and gives her daughter completely to Him.

Easy to do? Surely not. But true? Absolutely. The God of the universe is ready and willing to take care of every detail of our lives.

We need to step away in faith and trust that he is who he says he is and then watch and see what he does with our children!

My son, the one who spent a week or so in the hospital, is working and paying his bills and has a hope in the Lord that He is taking care of him. The son’s mom is again marveling at how God is taking care of an undeserving son – are any of us deserving? That story is for another time.

557Meanwhile, when not texting my moms, I did have a glorious time on vacation!

Heavenly Father, thank you for not giving up on us, your fallen children. Comfort, Lord, our moms; give them your perfect peace and remind them often of how much you love them. In Your precious name, Amen

Resource: Organic Mentoring by Sue Edwards and Barbara Neumann

 

Amid the Stuff……Abide

vine
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” John 15:4
I finally get why some folks like to close down the routine of mid-week church meetings. December gets crammed full of extra stuff!! A lot of extras! It’s overwhelming!  Some even close down Sunday church just so they can go do the other stuff – the stuff that comes only once a year (thank you, God!) and fills our cup for a little while – you know…..those once a year concerts. Those parties. Those family “I-better-show-up-or-my-name-is-mud” gatherings!

I may get why folks want to close down the routine but I don’t agree with it. Personally, I thrive on routine. Keeps me sane. I need church! I need girl-time fellowship! So, as much as some folks’ decisions reign over mine, and that’s clearly okay, I have to let you know how I feel ’cause here is the encouragement:

Whatever you do this season – whether you go to all the stuff or if you choose to stay home and watch Christmas movies (not a bad thing!) – please know that our Lord and Savior is with you! He, God with us, gets the craziness of the month of December. He knows that we will get caught up in it and He is okay with that as long as……..you continue to have some time with Him! Here’s the deal: Abide with Him – spend some amount of prayer/Bible reading time with the Lord and He will abide back with you! Abide means “to remain.” The Lord is with you no matter what, but we are the ones who get mightily distracted. We are the ones who need that time with Him to remind us of who we are in Him and what He desires of us – our love and obedience to Him.

May I suggest you reread slowly and carefully the Christmas story. Start with Matthew 1 and 2. Then go to Luke 1 and 2. Ask the Lord to show you what He wants you to know from the story. Such as, do you see what Jesus’ main purpose is for even being born as a baby? Or look at how Joseph, who isn’t the real father, handles the situation. Or look at Mary and notice how she gives the praise to God for choosing her.
May you continue to hang in there with the Lord – time with Him is so very precious! How He loves to hear from you!

Paul Harvey, a famous radio news broadcaster, shares his rendition of the Christmas story.   Short and poignant. Worth sharing with your children.

https://youtu.be/S_aeYN1CBt4birds-in-snow

Merry Christmas and God’s glorious blessings to each of you!!!

God is your helper

“Oh blessed by GOD! He didn’t go off and leave us!” Psalm 124:6 The Message

It’s Wednesday, December 7th! Pearl Harbor Day where 75 years ago our country was attacked by Japanese who flew bomber planes over Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and killed over 2000 of our country’s navy men. President Roosevelt told the nation over the radio that this day would live in “infamy,” meaning being famous for something not good. In-famous. A blight on our nation’s history. We honor those who served in World War II by remembering the sacrifice they and their families made from 1941-1945.

Dad was a pilot who flew bombers over Europe during WWII. The Germans had invaded Poland in 1939. America did nothing. Germans invaded the Netherlands. They invaded Denmark. Then they flew planes over the English Channel and attacked England. We were angry. We couldn’t sit this war out. Hitler was serious about taking over the free world. By this time we were involved in fighting against Japan in the Pacific.

On one particular mission as he and the crew were headed back over the English Channel from taking fuel to our military in France and part of Germany, they were hit by flack – the Germans were firing at them from the ground. Dad had to make a quick serious decision. Jump or try to land the plane. Dad prayed to the Lord he had trusted in when he was only eleven years old but had wandered away from in his devotion. “Lord,” he said, “if you help me get my crew safely back to land, I’ll serve you the rest of my life.” In the cockpit in front of him flashed a word over and over as a neon sign: “JUMP.” He knew it was a message from the Lord. He ordered his crew to jump and they parachuted down on English soil to safety. The plane crashed in an open field so no lives were lost. My dad did serve the Lord through his church and then in leading Bible studies to men in prison. He was a radiant Godly fun-loving man all his life.

The word this week is God is our helper. Psalm 124 says, “God’s strong name is our help, the same God who made heaven and earth.” The Message.

Praise be to God that you are my help! Even though I cannot see you, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you, God, exist and are walking alongside me all the way through the muck of my everyday life; through the joys, through the hurts and through the pain. You are beside me. I know. He’s invisible. This is where audacious faith comes in! “Faith,” says Eugene H. Peterson in his book The Long Obedience in the Same Direction, “develops out of the most difficult aspects of our existence, not the easiest.”

The other day I had the joy of sitting beside a friend in a school meeting for her child. I never said a word during the meeting. Just prayed. Listened. Heard. It wasn’t necessary that I say a word. It was necessary that my presence was there. And my friend knew it. Was comforted by it. His presence is with you. Be comforted by it.

So, believe and then just KNOW in your spirit He is there. Right beside you. And, like my dad in the hour of his greatest need, you call on Him. He will make His presence known to you in the ways that bring you His peace and comfort.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


	

“Go be her friend,” He said to me.

“Iron sharpens iron, so one man (woman) sharpens another.”Proverbs 27:17

If you would have told me that a slender energetic woman in her late fifties with a shock of short white hair going in every direction, large rimmed glasses with a determined look behind them, carrying an open can of Diet Pepsi in one hand and an oversized white satin purse over her other arm, wearing summer white pants and a colorful blouse was slated to be my Spiritual Mom, I would have laughed out loud! Doris Gleason entered my life in a most innocent and unexpected way as she bounded into the Pastor’s office of West Memorial Baptist Church one hot August morning in 1980. She had heard that as the new Pastor’s secretary, I was asked to plan a women’s retreat that fall and was looking for a keynote speaker.

“Hi! My name is Doris Gleason and I hear you’re planning a retreat and the subject is on prayer. Heavens, people have no idea what prayer is or even where to start.” She sighed heavily.  “Would you like to teach us?” I asked, a bit amused over her straightforwardness, taking no time for platitudes and small talk.
“Who, me? Who said?”

“You come highly recommended,” I replied.

“Let me talk to my husband and I’ll let you know. Bye.” And just like that she was out the door and gone. I didn’t see or hear from her for several days. By the end of the week she let me know she was willing to lead the retreat that was to be held in September. Doris did teach us about the importance of prayer in her gifted and animated way. I had never heard anyone address the Father in the way that Doris did- completely humble before her Lord. I was witnessing an intimate fellowship between a woman and her Savior. That weekend I came away refreshed, more aware of the importance and beauty of prayer, and thankful that God was gifting me with a wonderful quirky new friend.

God used Doris to gently bring me back to the fold, as my marriage had moved into that painful stage of separation. I was brought up in a lovingly thriving two parent God honoring home where church attending was every fiber of our lives but at this time the Lord knew I needed a woman grounded in the Word as well as humor and honesty to lead me back to a richer walk with Him.

I was separated but being involved in the young single’s group I had met someone who wanted to date me. Not really wanting to ever disappoint God again, I had called Doris to ask her to show me the Biblical view of marriage, divorce, and remarriage. She and her husband invited me over one evening and for several hours the three of us looked at scripture from the Old to the New Testaments about this subject and though after seeing the truth of God’s Word would have me not to enter into a serious relationship, I felt so free to know the boundaries and to know what God wanted for my life.

Doris began teaching basic doctrinal truths, using Francis Schaeffer’s Basic Bible Studies to a small group of hungry souls, including my closest friend who was struggling with her marriage at the time. For the next several years, Doris became Spiritual Mom to both my friend Susan and me, as she intentionally kept leading each of us back to the truths in the Word; back to a closer relationship with Jesus, using her sassy sense of humor and straightforward approach.

One evening Doris invited Susan and me out to see the two man play “Greater Tuna” on stage at the Alabama Theater and the three of us laughed till our sides ached!

In July of 1982 my former mother-in-law called to let me know her son had remarried. I invited Doris to come over right away. I had some news! She danced a little jig right there in the den! She said, “Dianne, you’re free to remarry now!” In 1986 the Lord led me to a wonderful man who loves life, the Lord and me and we’ve just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary!

August, 2014.

Five of us middle-aged moms were standing around in the huge room waiting for our first single moms to enter through the door. It was a sweltering August Wednesday evening at our church in Northwest Houston and we were embarking on a new ministry. What would we say, as we looked around at one another for assurance that we were where we needed to be. We would just welcome them. Love on them. Then one by one three women walked in and looked around and saw something to sign, put on a name tag and the Moms@Midweek began.

By January, 2016 the Lord had added over twenty seeking ladies to our group and a new book to study – Fervent by Priscilla Shirer, who emphasized using scripture to fight off the enemy’s thoughts in our minds.

In this past year, as we mentor moms have been led by the Lord, we have begun spending some extra time with each of our ladies as best we could, through lunch, Saturday dinner at home, coffee out, or sitting on a park bench and watching our children play. It has allowed us to learn more about our moms and what their needs are and how they are depending on the Lord.

What is the purpose of our ministry?  I have pondered the relationship between the older woman teaching the younger woman about Godly living as found in Titus 2:3-5. The admonition to encourage the younger women and demonstrate a Godly marriage applies to our Moms@Midweek.  What the older women need to know is this: Yes, single moms need teaching, advice, and at times, criticism, but what they need more than anything else is encouragement. If you are an older woman who knows young women who are doing everything in their power to live for God, grab them, hug them, and tell them you appreciate them and are there for them. Make yourself available for them, and most of all, view moms as souls who sincerely need your help getting to heaven.

Recently I wrote an encouraging email to all the moms on a Wednesday morning since we were not meeting that evening. I wrote of how afraid I am of some of our freeways here in town – those narrow, always-under-construction nightmares. But the Word is so full of the Lord admonishing us to not fear. Do not be afraid. I’m here to take care of you, says Isaiah 41:13. Later that day I had lunch with one of my moms.  We had talked of many issues, one being fear and  control and letting God take care of our children whether with us or out of our home. Toward the end of our two hour lunch I looked at her and asked, “What are you afraid of?”

“Not having enough money,” she responded immediately.  We talked that one through, focusing on His provision and our being content with what we have, not comparing ourselves with others.

The next day, she texted me that her work load was such that she would be working extra hours while her daughter was away with her dad so it would mean extra income.  I texted back. “He is providing. Give Him praise.” So real, these needs. These moms. Bless them.

Not one Wednesday night has gone by that I did not sense the power of the Lord’s Presence, the Holy Spirit all around us and working through each one of us – drawing us individually to Himself in ways only each of us could recognize. It is palpable, so real. It is the very reason I keep coming back Moms @ Mid-week.  Jesus meets us there. No doubt.

We have had no script to follow. We have each just been led by the moving of the Holy Spirit in a very real way. The ladies are real, causing us to be real with them. We’ve been helpless at times, but completely honest enough to say that we didn’t have all the answers. We’ve also been focused on this main premise……to lead the ladies into a deeper commitment and walk with the Lord Jesus Christ by making Him known to them through the Scripture and through the beautiful messy ministry of relationship.

Over the past several months, many of our moms have reached out to one another. They are texting one another and meeting at a nearby park in the early evening, allowing their children to play on the play ground while they sit at the picnic table and catch up with one another. Some  have reached out to one or two of our more marginal moms who have not been regularly coming to the Moms@Midweek  and they have not only encouraged them to come back, but have also reached out to other moms to join us.

Why in the world was I drawn into this ministry when I was not ever a single mom? I was a woman in great need of a spiritual mom at a particularly fragile time in my mid-twenties and the Lord brought Doris into my life. I never went seeking after her. Or anyone like her. But my all knowing Heavenly Father knew I needed her. Right then. Unconventional and brassy funny.   And most assuredly in love with her Savior. Not at all perfect. But most humble and always ready to listen and love me. Just the way I was. Years later it was the Lord Himself who didn’t even have to nudge me. I willingly went upstairs to that vast room filled with middle aged moms, most of whom had been single moms at some point in their lives and I have never looked back. Even after all these years, I remember how much Doris loved me and drew me to the Scriptures and always to her Lord, through actions, speech,  humor, and Bible studies. She never tried to take my mother’s place, nor did Mom ever resent Doris being in my life at that time. She knew I needed someone like Doris and she couldn’t be that person for me. And it was all good.

Doris’ legacy of demonstrating and living out a Christ centered life is carrying on to the next generation of women, both in my church and in my friend Susan’s church as she has been leading a group of women in studying God’s Word.  These are women to whom the Lord has given both of us to care for in our everyday lives and in the Bible Study classes. May the Lord use us mentor moms to minister to these women and over time, may they then be led to other women whose lives they may touch with the good news that Jesus loves them and died for them and wants more than anything fellowship with them every day of their lives.

One day I asked Doris what brought the two of us together? I mean, you were much older than me and knew that I was separated. She looked at me and smiled. “The Lord said to me, go be her friend.” So I did.

 

bill-and-doris
Bill and Doris Gleason

 June 15, 1922 – January 18, 2003