Monday, January 15, 2007

A Tribute to a Virtuous Woman

As most of you may know, my mom is due to deliver her fifth child sometime in February. Yesterday, Leslie and I, with the invaluable help of a dear friend, Mrs. Helen, hosted a baby shower for her. Leslie and I, in the course of our planning, considered various baby shower games and activities. Somehow, they all seemed meaningless and trite. What could we do that would make this baby shower special for Mom and do justice to her endless wonderful qualities and remarkable character?

Proverbs 31:28 speaks thus of the virtuous woman, "Her children arise up and call her blessed...." Since we are indeed the children of a virtuous woman, I was thankful for this opportunity to publicly arise up and call my mother blessed.
The following is roughly the "speech" I delivered in tribute to my virtuous mother:

The story of this special baby begins about four years ago, when my parents surrendered a particular area of their lives to the Lord. This was the area of having children. At first, Mom was rather intimidated by this decision and everything it might entail. You see, at forty-two, Mom was past the age that most women would even consider bringing new children into the world. Although she was willing to have more children if the Lord saw fit, she was not particularly eager.

Several years went by, and it seemed evident that our family would forever be a family of six.

In May of 2006, we had the privilege of attending American Vision's Worldview Superconference. The first person we met there was a man by the name of Gene. We started talking with him, and in the course of the conversation we asked how many children he had. Now, he didn't seem like the most serious guy in the world, so his answer of "ten children" left us wondering whether or not we should believe him. We were soon assured of his sincerity and in amazement us kids moved off to unpack and get settled, leaving Mom talking with him and his wife. Mom shared that she and Dad had surrendered the area of childbearing to the Lord, and that she was somewhat surprised she had not had any more children after leaving it in the Lord's hands. At the end of their lengthy conversation, Mr. Gene and his wife prayed with Mom and Dad. Mr. Gene's prayer was not exactly what Mom had expected. She was surprised and a little worried when Mr. Gene prayed that God would actually give her and Dad another baby. This was not quite what she had had in mind. She did not yet truly want another child enough to actually pray for one.

Over the next few days, we were greatly blessed not only by the many lectures, but also by watching how the large families in attendance functioned and the ways that their members interacted. Each of these families left a lasting impression on all of us and were a living testimony of the goodness of God's blessings.

It wasn't until we arrived back home and "got back into the swing of things" that Mom earnestly prayed, "Lord, if You want to send us another child, I'm ready and willing."

I'm reminded of Mary, after the angel told her that she was to be the mother of the Savior. "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word (Luke 1:38)." Mom had the same attitude of surrender, selflessness, and self-sacrifice that Mary had, even in the face of potential difficulties and discomforts.

The Lord had prepared her heart to joyfully accept a very special gift.

One week later, Mom discovered that she was four or five weeks pregnant with a new addition to our family. God's timing is always perfect.

"Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate (Psalm 127:3-5)."

It's been a long process, but my parents have come to realize that children are from the Lord, and that they are a huge blessing. While our culture tells us that children are disruptive, a burden, an unwanted expense, unnecessary trouble, and extra impediments, the Bible tells us that God views children as a tremendous blessing, an asset, bearers of joy, and a wonderful heritage from Himself. [See Children: Blessing or Burden?]

I know that Mom and Dad view this new baby as a blessing. They also realize the huge task awaiting them: to raise this child up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord to be a godly young man or a virtuous young woman.
Hannah, after the Lord gave her Samuel, recognized that her child was given to her by God and she committed Samuel to the Lord. She praised God for the priceless gift He had seen fit to bestow upon her.

"For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him:

Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord.
And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.
There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God (1 Samuel 1:27-28; 2:1-2)."

Mom has completely amazed me throughout her pregnancy. Her attitude has been truly wonderful, and her energy has been impressive. She has continued to minister to the physical needs of her family as usual. In addition to their normal duties, how many 7-month-pregnant women have the desire to host a neighborhood Christmas party or have violin recitals for their 11-year-old daughters in their living rooms?

Proverbs 31:10, 26-27 says, "Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.

She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness."

Most women would probably not view themselves as still needing to "look well to the ways of their households" during pregnancy, and would consider themselves to be completely justified in "eating the bread of idleness." Mom, on the other hand, has kept right up with everything that has been going on. We are always asking her to slow down and to "remember her condition" - a phrase which she has good-humoredly all but banned us from using when speaking to her.

Proverbs goes on to say, "Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised (vs. 28-30)."

I just want to bless and praise my mom today for being a godly, virtuous woman.
I want to thank her for everything she's done and everything she's been to the four of us. She’s been our teacher, our cook, our housekeeper, our sympathizer, our comforter, our encourager, our mentor, our example, such a wonderful mother in so many ways.

Thanks for being there, Mom, always ready to guide and encourage us. May God bless you for being an unparalleled model of virtuous womanhood to Leslie, Shannon, and me. I love you.

Oh, and thank you for the new little brother or sister!

Clockwise from top left: Shannon, me, Leslie, Mom

I love you, Mom!

1 comment:

Ruthanne said...

Lauren, this is a beautiful tribute to your lovely mother! Thank you so much for sharing your parents' story.