(photo of Ruth Turner, daughter Donna faughn, Granddaughter Amber tatum, and great-granddaughter lyssabeth tatum, taken about 2008)
“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck” (Proverbs 1:8-9). So said the wise man Solomon.
Many of us were raised in homes where our fathers and mothers loved and cared for us. They provided for our needs and taught us much about how to live in this world. Some were blessed to have both parents as faithful Christians, and some of us were not. This was the case in my home. My father was not a faithful Christian while I was growing up. He had been baptized as a young person but left the church early in his marriage to my mother. My mother, on the other hand, remained faithful to God and taught me much about serving Him and living for Him.
When my mother was in the last few weeks of her life, I visited with her often at the assisted living home where she lived. On one particular day when I arrived she was asleep on her bed. I knew she hadn’t been feeling well so I didn’t want to disturb her.
I pulled a chair quietly to the side of the bed and just watched her sleep. I sat there and made what I called “mental snapshots” of the beauty of this woman who had raised me to be the woman I am.
Let me share with you a few of those thoughts:
- She was a loving mother. I never doubted for a single minute as a child her love for me and my brother. She saw to our needs to the best of her ability. I can recall to mind so easily the clothes she made for me, often after working a long hard day at the hospital. She was that Titus 2 woman. She loved us and she loved God.
- She was disciplined and she disciplined us. In every aspect of her life, she was self-controlled. Days were planned with what must be done and what could be done. There was no “sleeping in” for her children (unless you were sick) because she had plans for your day too! Along with that, she disciplined us to behave like she wanted us to and God wanted us to. I have picked many switches from trees in order for her to teach me a lesson. I learned quickly!
- She was a hard worker. I don’t recall much time when she just sat down and rested. She kept an immaculate house and served great meals. The yard and flowers in the yard were beautiful and cared for. Spare time was something she didn’t know much about. Like the Proverbs 31 woman, idleness was not part of her life.
- She was a nurse. Being a young woman during World War II, she felt it her calling to enter the army where she was trained and became a nurse in the armed forces. Caring for others made up much of who she was. She didn’t think much about herself, but most often focused on what she could do for others.
- She was committed. While serving in a hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, a young man was shipped from Europe back to the states with a horrible injury from battle and she became his nurse. She later married him and nursed him for the next sixty years. Many of those sixty years were not happy years for her because of his lifestyle after leaving the church, but she had taken vows before God to stay together for life. She lived up to that commitment we read about in Matthew 19:6. In the last years of their marriage, he returned to God and the church in part, I believe, because of her example in life. (1 Peter 3:1-2)
- She was beautiful. Oh, she was a beautiful woman on the outside, but more importantly, she was beautiful on the inside. She had a heart that always sought to do what was right in God’s eyes, while others around her were doing wrong. She spoke with wisdom and showed compassion to others.
I was blessed with a wonderful mother. She wasn’t perfect, but she was close in my eyes. I often look at her picture on my desk and when our eyes meet, I stop and say a prayer of thanksgiving for the mother with which God blessed me.
“Her children rise up and call her blessed;” (Prov. 31:28)
“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (Prov. 31:30)
AUTHOR: Donna Faughn