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Posts Tagged ‘Godly Character’

(Steve and I are enjoying time with family this week.  I’ll return soon with  new posts.  Meanwhile, I’ll reblog previous ones.  Hopefully you’ll find them meaningful again, or perhaps for the first time.  The following post was first published September 13, 2013.)

Women's Bible Study

“I know we have to persevere and not give up on what we sense God wants us to do,” Melissa shared at Bible study.  “And from the lives of Joseph, Moses, Daniel, and others in the Bible, I know God rarely smooths out  the path perfectly.  But what I want to know is how to proceed.  I’d like steps to follow!”

Heads nodded around the table, mine included.  Wouldn’t it be nice if God laid out for us to see ahead of time step one, step two, and so on toward his perfect plan?

That idea has been circulating in my brain for nearly a week now.  Here are some observations.

1. God values our growth in faith more than our comfort in a revealed plan.   

If it was best for us to know his plan in advance, then that’s what God would provide.  Instead, he allows our faith to be tested, in order to build our character.  That is important to him:

“The Lord detests men of perverse heart but he delights in those whose ways are blameless” (Proverbs 11:20).

2.  God values the process of spiritual growth, not just the final outcome of a purpose fulfilled.

Times of challenge give us opportunity to develop maturity more readily than times of ease.  What might that development include?

  • Self-discipline–when we tackle difficult tasks.  Granted, the Holy Spirit empowers us (Galatians 5:22-23), but we must give ourselves over to him.  How?  Through frequent prayer, offered throughout the day, consistently asking for his guidance and help.
  • Self-denial–by doing without.  However, the attentive person will soon discover much to celebrate that may have been missed otherwise:  the stunning display of God’s creation, the joy of love and laughter with family and friends, the peace and strength from frequent communion with God.  Suddenly, gratitude flourishes in the heart, and what has been given up doesn’t seem so important anymore.
  • The full meaning of love–when given opportunity to respond in kind ways to difficult people.

None of these valuable traits of discipline, selflessness, and love would fully develop without lessons of experience.

3.  God values the development of our prayer lives–not for his benefit, but for ours.

Jean Nicolas Grou, a Jesuit priest of the 1700s, described healthy prayer as humble, reverent, loving, confident, and persevering.  As we practice those traits in our prayer lives, surely they will overflow into our character, in our actions and reactions.

Patient pursuit, then, is best applied to God’s ways, and then to God’s plan.

(photo credit:  http://www.st-tims-church.org )

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 (Photo from http://www.trulia.com.)

“There it is, Mom, “ Steve remarked, as he pointed to a little white house in the middle of a city block. “That’s where we lived when I was growing up.”

“Oh, yes,” she replied. But did Mom really remember?

We were on an excursion through Columbus, Ohio, taking Steve’s mother past the landmarks of her life. Alzheimer’s disease had already stolen away much of her vibrancy and warmth, and, of course, her memory.

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Steve drove by West High School and continued his commentary. “That’s where we all went to school, you, Dad, Karen, and me. You were the very first homecoming queen.  How about that?  No wonder Dad asked you out.”

She murmured assent to Steve’s comments, but added nothing of her own.

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We drove past the brick ranch they built out in the country in 1966. Horses used to reside beyond the back fence. Just a few houses had dotted the area back then. By this time, however, they had been swallowed up by dozens more. The saplings Mom and Dad had planted were now tall shade trees.  And the glorious flower beds and window boxes that Mom had tended were gone. She registered no recollection.

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But when we approached her childhood home, a white Dutch Colonial on a quiet street, all of a sudden she perked up.  Pointing to a second-story window, Mom stated firmly, “That was my room, right up there.”

In the midst of the fog that is Alzheimer’s, one memory–one glimmer of light–shone through that morning. Steve and I almost gasped at the wonder of the moment. Mom remembered!

And the rarity of her memories pointed to the preciousness of this ability. Memory is a gift to be treasured. The older I grow, the more I appreciate the miraculous power of the brain to store millions of memories—with astounding detail–and yet access a particular one in a mille-second.

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Not only do sights trigger memories, but also smells. Researchers say this sense is the most powerful memory-inducer. For me, the aroma of fresh-baked bread always takes me back to my grandmother’s kitchen.

Sounds trigger memories as well—particularly music. Tastes and textures work the same phenomenon.

But surely God had more purpose in mind for giving us memory than the pleasant pastime of reminiscing.

Indeed.

Memories foster gratitude, as we contemplate God’s goodness to us in the past:

  • His countless blessings (even when we haven’t been a blessing to him).
  • Those times he led us through the shadow of death, so that we might experience more completely the glory of his light.
  • Moments when we almost gave up hope, and God surprised us with his creative, abundant provision.
  • Leaving behind what we once were and celebrating what we have become, solely because of his Son, Jesus.

Memories foster faith, as we remember how God has met our needs in the past. See if each phrase from Psalm 103 doesn’t trigger a memory in your mind, and a song of praise in your heart:

“Oh, my soul, bless God,

Don’t forget a single blessing!

He forgives your sins—every one.

He heals your diseases—every one.

He redeems you from hell—saves your life!

He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.

He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal…

…God makes everything come out right.

He puts victims back on their feet…

…God is sheer mercy and grace;

Not easily angered, he’s rich in love.

He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve,

Nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.

(Psalm 103:2-10, The Message)

Memories inform the present and provide hope for the future. As we meditate on all those times God has wrapped us in his goodness (v. 5), we are strengthened for what we face today. As we consider the many times he made everything come out right (v. 6), we can trust he will continue to make our paths straight.

Of course, there are some memories we would like to erase—those that generate sadness, hurt, or regret. How do we deal with those? Here are a few suggestions I’ve collected over the years:

  1. We must resist self-pity—even in our thought life. Nowhere in scripture do we read that rehashing the negative is therapeutic. God’s way is to focus on the positive (Philippians 4:8).

Phil-4-8

 

  1. We can follow Paul’s example. He forgot what was in his past and pressed on to what lay ahead (Philippians 3:13). Not that amnesia had set in. Paul simply did not allow past failures to cripple his relationship with God and his service for God. God had forgiven and forgotten; Paul did too. No doubt he applied Philippians 4:8, not only to self-pity, but also to guilt. 
  1. We can leave the past in God’s hands. Oswald Chambers said it so well:

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(“Leave the irreparable Past in His hands, and step out into the Irresistible Future with Him”

–My Utmost for His Highest, Dec. 31.)

 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *    *     *    

Father, I do thank you for the gift of memories—the ability to remember with joy and appreciation the people, places, and experiences of the past. I even thank you for the not-so-good memories, knowing that you use every difficult situation for the development of my maturity (James 1:2-3). And may I take advantage of the wisdom gained in the past to guide me in the present, and lead me into the Irresistible Future with you.

 

Art & Photo credits:  www.trulia.com; http://www.westhighalumni.com; Steve’s photo collection; http://www.allrecipes.com; http://www.god.com; http://www.pinterest.com.

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tired_treadmill_workout_exercise_run

 

Nearly every morning I make myself exercise. I hate it.  All that huffing and puffing, and muscles crying out, “Stop! You’re hurting me!” Add to that the boredom factor.

What I do like are the results. My body feels strong. I can still hop up the stairs, lift our toddler granddaughter with relative ease, and get up from a squat without leverage.

I like the increased energy, and the elevated metabolism, too.

But one benefit I never considered until recently: improved balance.

When our muscles are strong, our bodies have an easier time maintaining balance. That means we can reduce the possibility of sprains, injured joints and back, or broken bones.

Three factors contribute to good balance: Stability, strength, and flexibility.

However, it’s not just our bodies that require those three factors. Our spirits need those same characteristics:

  • Stability to handle disappointment and frustration,
  • Strength to endure loss and pain,
  • Flexibility to manage unpleasant surprises.

But how do we create balance in the abstract world of our spirits?

Just as there are many exercises to improve physical balance, there are numerous strategies that contribute to spiritual balance. For example:

  1. Stability can be enhanced by spending time with stable people. Get in the middle of a Christian support group, and allow them to hold you up with their prayer, concern, encouragement, and counsel. Look for members who demonstrate spiritual maturity and follow their example. 

Stability also grows as we spend time in God’s Word. Just as daily physical exercise is important to the body, so is daily reading and contemplation of the Bible. God’s truths and promises, His encouragement and direction, all contribute to our steadfastness of faith.

  1. Strength can be developed through praise and gratitude. Look for the positive things in your life, and you’ll find yourself experiencing joy.  Joy fosters strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

Another strategy for building spiritual strength is to affirm God’s character.   He is sovereign, all-knowing, and all-powerful. Our Heavenly Father is trustworthy, good and loving. We can stand firm with such a God at our side and in the strength of his mighty power (Ephesians 6:10).

  1. Flexibility is needed when circumstances don’t meet our expectations. We have a choice when life takes a sudden turn down an unexpected pathway: 1) Fuss, fume, and balk or 2) Go with the flow and see where the pathway leads.

Kaye Arthur suggests: “Change the D of Disappointment to an H, and you have His Appointment.”* Such an attitude can relax the tension in our spirits, and prepare us to be flexible, to embrace the unknown.

Several years ago, I heard about an elderly resident of a senior citizen facility.  She was being transferred from the assisted-living apartments to the full-care center.

As the nurse wheeled her through the corridors, the senior saint said, “I just know I’m going to love it.”

The nurse exclaimed, “But Mrs. __________, how do you know? You’ve never seen the full-care section.”

The woman’s profound answer: “I’ve already decided I’m going to love it.”

Such an example of:

Stability—maintaining her emotional equilibrium in spite of circumstances.

Strength—determining ahead of time to look for the positive.

Flexibility—going with the flow to see where the pathway might lead.

Surely, such an attitude reflects trust in a gracious and powerful God, knowledge and application of God’s Word, and a positive attitude of contentment (Philippians 4:11).

If the spiritual stability, strength, and flexibility demonstrated by that elderly woman were transferred into physical traits, she’d be able to balance on one toe.  With her eyes closed.

I want to be like that woman in my spirit.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

What strategies help you maintain spiritual balance?  Please add your experience and insight to the conversation below!

 

*His Imprint, My Expression, by Kay Arthur, p. 96.

Photo credit:  www.sparkpeople.com.

 

 

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No Christmas season would be complete without the reading of the second chapter of Luke—the account of Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem, presiding over the birth of Jesus in a stable or cave, and receiving shepherd-guests.

Toward the end of the account, as those shepherds were spreading the word of Jesus’ birth, Luke wrote, “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (v. 19).

Indeed. She had much to process:

  • Her baby was the Messiah, the Promised One, who would save his people from their sin. I wonder if she studied him, looking for signs that he was different from other infants.
  • This was the Prince of Peace cradled in her arms. Yet he had been born to a common village girl in very primitive conditions.  Did that seem strange to her?
  • The shepherds had learned of his birth when angels visited them, just as the angel, Gabriel, had visited Mary and then Joseph.  Gabriel had also visited Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. Four angel visitations in a matter of months. Never had that happened before.

I find myself pondering, too—pondering Mary herself–this dear, young girl who carried a tremendous burden for a long time.

Dear means beloved and valued. Mary is certainly that for numerous reasons.

  • She embraced Gabriel’s announcement with great faith. “May it be to me as you have said,” (Luke 1:38). She put herself in the care of God in spite of incomprehensible circumstances.
  • Her prayer, the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), gives indication of a heart fully committed to God.
  • She endured much: shame for her pregnancy, a long, uncomfortable journey to Bethlehem, and crude circumstances for the birth of her Son.

Mary was young—perhaps between thirteen and fifteen years of age. That was the typical age for a girl to be married in Bible times.

Yet, young as Mary was, Gabriel praised her for being “endued with grace” (v. 28, AMP). In addition, Mary demonstrated stamina, maturity, and gentleness beyond her years, in dire circumstances. No doubt God graced her with these traits. But I have to believe Mary also had freedom of choice, as we all do, to embrace God’s way for her.

But what I ponder most about Mary is the fact she carried a tremendous burden, given to her by an elderly man, Simeon, eight days after Jesus was born.

You undoubtedly remember the story. Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the temple at Jerusalem to be circumcised. There they met the righteous and devout Simeon who had been waiting decades for the Messiah. The Holy Spirit had revealed to him he would not die until he had seen the Lord Christ.

Immediately upon seeing the child, Simeon knew this was the One. He praised God for keeping his promise, blessed Mary and Joseph, and then spoke particularly to Mary, saying Jesus would cause some to rise and some to fall, and the thoughts of many hearts would be revealed.

Simeon’s last words must have caused Mary’s eyes to grow wide and her heart to skip a beat: “And a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2:21-35).

What?! Wasn’t the worst behind her? Surely Mary wanted to ask Simeon, “What do you mean?” Scripture gives us no indication that she did so. Perhaps Simeon walked away, leaving the stunned couple to stand speechless there in the temple court.

For thirty-three years those last words of Simeon must have echoed in Mary’s mind again and again. How does a person live with such long-term foreboding? Perhaps her mind turned back to the night of Gabriel’s visitation. Perhaps, for thirty-three years, Mary repeated what she had told the archangel: “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said” (1:38).

Mary may very well have developed the calm assurance that even when God’s ways are baffling, we can rest assured he is orchestrating events to accomplish far more than we could ever imagine (Ephesians 3:20). She had been witness to such orchestration in Bethlehem.

Mary knew that even our personal hardships can fulfill purposes that extend far beyond ourselves.

That’s a lesson for all of us to embrace with calm assurance.

 

(Art credit:  www.seekerville.blogspot.com.)

 

 

 

 

 

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Mayflower_compact

 

They had been at sea for sixty-six days, enduring overcrowded conditions. Storms had caused damage to their ship and sea sickness plagued them all– passengers and crew alike. Meager provisions and no heat on chilly autumn days caused further discomfort.

So on November 9, 1620, when they finally saw the coastline of North America in the distance, the Pilgrims and others aboard the Mayflower must have cheered enthusiastically. Soon they could abandon the cramped, cold, and fetid ship and begin new lives in a new world.

But. All had not been peaceful and congenial among the passengers during the crossing. And when it became apparent the storms had blown them too far off course to land in the Virginia Colony as planned, relations deteriorated further.

Not all of the travelers were Pilgrims. Also aboard were merchants, craftsmen, skilled workers, and indentured servants. The Pilgrims called them “strangers.”

No sooner had the decision been made to anchor off Cape Cod, than an argument ensued. Several of the “strangers” pointed out that, since they were not going to be under the jurisdiction of the Virginia Company, they would “use their own libertie” and do as they pleased. “None had the power to command them, they said.” (Quoted words are from William Bradford’s records. He served as historian for the Pilgrims.)

To avoid anarchy, five men gathered in the cabin of the ship to create a basis for law and order. The result of their efforts: the Mayflower Compact.

The first words of the document give strong indication of the Pilgrims’ hearts.

In the name of God, Amen.

“Everything they did started with God” (The Founders’ Bible, p. 187).

Next, the Pilgrims stated their purpose for coming to America.

We, whose names are underwritten,…by the grace of God,…having undertaken for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our King and country…

Several phrases indicate the Pilgrims’ desires for their new colony:

  • “For the glory of God” would be a guide for all manner of decisions.
  • “Advancement of the Christian faith” would encourage them to remain strong in Christian faith among themselves and to introduce others to Jesus.
  • “Honor of our King and country” indicates their loyalty to native England and its monarch, in spite of his untoward actions that caused their flight to America in the first place.

…[We] do solemnly and mutually in the presence God and of one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic…

The Mayflower Compact expressed their commitment to live together in a civil manner, in the sight of God.

[We] will enact…such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.” 

Note:  there is no mention of a leader who would oversee the colony. The Pilgrims created a democratic, representative form of government, in covenant with one another, rather than by a monarchy or dictatorship.

It was the first document of its kind in the history of the world.

But the Mayflower Compact would only be as good as the commitment of Pilgrims and Strangers alike to abide by its guidelines.

Would the mutinous Strangers sign?

John Carver, church deacon and one of the organizers of the voyage, was the first to affix his signature. Other Pilgrims followed.

One book says there was a long pause. Then Captain Myles Standish stepped forward to sign. Standish had been hired by the Pilgrims to be their military captain; he was with them, but not one of them.

Soon other Strangers followed Standish’s example.  In total, forty-one signatures appeared on the document. One freeman, two hired men and seven servants declined.

At long last, Pilgrims, Strangers, and crew were able to disembark. And what did they choose to do first?

Pray.

According to Bradford, they “blessed the God of heaven, who had brought them over the fast and furious ocean..and a sea of troubles before.” Then he quoted scripture:

“Let them therefore praise the Lord, because He is good and His mercies endure forever.” (Psalm 106:1).

 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

 

We, too, praise you, Lord, for your goodness and mercy upon America all these years.  As we celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, may we remember the solemn history behind this occasion.  Thank your for the supreme example and sacrifice of our Pilgrim forefathers–strong in faith, commitment, and perseverance.  May we follow their example, not only because you are faithful to the faithful (2 Samuel 22:26), but out of appreciation for what you, our loving God, have already done.

 

(Sources:  By These Words by Paul M. Angle; The Founders’ Bible, The Intellectual Devotional:  American History by David S. Kidder & Noah D. Oppenheim; The Rebirth of America,  http://www.learningtogive.org; http://www.humanities360.com; http://www.crf-usa.org; http://www.americanhistory.about.com; http://www.tparents.org; http://www.mrkash.com; http://www.mayflowerhistory.com; http://www.plimoth.org.)

 

Art credit:  www.washingtonmayflower.org.  

 

 

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mri-scanner

 

My brother had to get an MRI last week. The technician warned him the machine was very loud—similar to a large motorcycle.

“I like motorcycles!” John told her.

Nevertheless she gave him earplugs, to block the noise as much as possible, and a set of headphones, through which he could listen to the music of his choice.

Earplugs and headphones. That’s what I need to drown out the devil’s loud voice.   Sometimes he can be incredibly persistent with his irritating chatter in my spiritual ears, saying things like:

  • “You are past your prime. Why bother trying to accomplish anything?”
  • “Look how blessed your neighbor is. You must have upset God in some way or you’d be blessed like that, too.”
  • “Can you believe how insensitive Ms. __________ is? How can she be so hurtful and not even realize it?

Wouldn’t it be nice if God handed out earplugs and headphones for our spiritual ears?

Maybe God wants us to develop some worthy habits in the process of manufacturing our own auditory devices.

And how might we do that?

Earplugs could be fashioned out of gratitude. We can occupy our minds with continual rejoicing in the blessings of this moment. Then we won’t be able to hear the devil’s negative and critical comments.

Let’s see…I wonder if I could name a blessing for each of the five senses, for what I am experiencing right now?

  • Thank you, Lord, for books and the gift of sight that allows me to read and enjoy them, as well as learn from them.
  • Thank you for soft breezes that create a cheerful rustling of fall leaves.
  • Thank you, Father, for the cozy warmth of my fleece jacket.
  • Thank you for the nutty goodness of hazelnut coffee,
  • And thank you, Lord, for the homey aroma of vanilla, coming from a nearby candle.

 

candleflame

 

Oh! That was fun, and I didn’t have one negative thought during the exercise. No wonder Paul told us to rejoice always.

Alright–earplugs are in place. Now it’s time for the headphones—something worthwhile to pay attention to, that drowns out the noise of negativity and criticism.

And what could be more worthwhile than scripture, where God offers reassurance, encouragement, and strength? The psalms are a perfect place to begin:

  • “Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust” (Psalm 40:4).
  • “I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble” (Psalm 59:16).
  • “Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples” (Psalm 77:13-14).

And one of my favorites:

 

Ps.89.15.16

 

(“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord. They rejoice in your name all day long; they exult in your righteousness. For you are their glory and strength” (Psalm 89:15-17).)

Notice: We are blessed when we acclaim God. Disparaging ourselves or others, bemoaning our circumstances—even just in our thought life—is counter-productive.  It is worship that transforms our minds and spirits.

So let’s insert those earplugs and pop on those headphones! The difference will be remarkable.

 

(Photo and art credits:  www.cancerresearchuk.org; http://www.cozyhearthcandles.com; annemateer.com.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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DSC_7445-X3 (My mom & dad with their great-granddaughter, Sophie, 2011)

 

“What we leave behind

is not what is engraved in stone monuments,

but what is woven into the lives of others.”

— Pericles (495-429, B.C.  Greek statesman, orator, and general of Athens)

I love that word, woven. It speaks eloquently of the way my mother, Geraldine Claire  (November 5, 1928-October 9, 2014), influenced my life. Woven into the fabric of my being are memories of Mom’s words and example that still have impact to this day.

Many of those memories involve Mom and Dad because they were such an inseparable team. They even wallpapered together.

Now marriage experts will tell you that completing home improvement projects with your spouse can be detrimental to your relationship. But that was not the case for Mom and Dad. Amidst the measuring, pasting, and hanging, my brother, John, and I saw cooperation and patience in action.

Once the wallpaper was hung in the three homes of our growing-up years, Mom was ready to entertain. Hospitality was definitely one of her gifts. In fact, the last dining room table Mother and Dad purchased could seat fourteen people.

Mom became adept at organizing large gatherings by writing lists, doing everything she could ahead of time, even labeling the serving ware so each item on the menu would have an appropriate bowl or plate. Little did I know then how often I’d be following her routine and recipes, as Steve and I began to entertain.

Mom’s legacy included wise advice. One time I was heartsick over a low report card grade in math—my most challenging subject. She quickly gave me perspective for the tragedy, saying, “Just remember: this grade will not matter in ten years.”  And, of course, she was right.

Countless times over the years as disappointments and difficulties have occurred, I’ve heard Mother’s voice reminding me to consider events with a ten-year perspective.

But that doesn’t mean she accepted excuses. Instead, Mom fostered independence and personal responsibility .

I’m remembering the Sunday School Christmas program from second grade. My part was to recite six verses from Luke, chapter two, about the angel visitation to the shepherds. “This is too much to memorize,” I complained.

Mother replied calmly, “Well, just tell Mr. Faircloth that you can’t manage it, and he’ll ask someone else.”

Mom did not take control of the situation; she left it up to me to decide what course of action to take. Wise mother, indeed.

But perhaps the most astounding aspect of her legacy is the way she exhibited all features of the fruit of the Spirit, listed in Galatians 5:22-23.

For example:

LOVE — Mom lavished love on family, friends, and stranger alike. She could strike up a conversation with anyone, and was always ready with a warm hug.

JOY — Mother was a woman of gladness. She laughed easily and often.

PEACE — Mom and Dad created a peaceful, secure home for John and me.

PATIENCE — She exercised great patience, especially when dealing with my fluctuating moods of early adolescence.

KINDNESS — Mother demonstrated kindness in many ways.  I remember one house where the old wallpaper was in process of removal when Mom and Dad took in a missionary who needed a place to stay.  We have home movies of  that missionary, Miss Hunt, standing in front of  the glue-encrusted plaster.  Another time when a different missionary family stayed with us, Mom did all their laundry while they attended to other affairs.

GOODNESS — Mother’s goodness was also expressed in numerous ways.  In my mind’s eye, I can still see Mom at her desk at Scripture Press, where she was executive secretary to the Vice President of Editorial.  (The visualization is easy to conjure; I sat directly across from Mom, most of my seven summers as an editorial assistant.)  Frequently people stopped by her desk to share a need and ask for advice.  We used to tease her about being the psychologist of Scripture Press!   

FAITHFULNESS — Mother’s faithfulnesss to God never wavered for the seventy-five earthly years she knew Jesus as her Savior and Lord.

GENTLENESS — While John and I were growing up, Mom could be plenty firm with us.  Yet, when we were sick, hurt or experiencing trouble, she readily soothed us with comfort and hugs.

SELF-CONTROL — I have to admit:  I provided Mom and Dad with plenty of parenting challenges.  And though Mom did become angry sometimes, she never lost her temper with me.

For these reasons and so many more, John and I “arise and call her blessed” (Proverbs 31:28).  Mother did indeed weave godly integrity, wisdom, and faith into our lives.

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