We are on the threshold of one of the most precious holidays of the year—Mother’s Day.  Many songs and poems have been written about mothers, but the very essence of a mother is carried in our hearts. Mothers are the heart of a home; the glue that holds the home together.  When a mother is gone, by death or any other cause, a vital part of the home is missing.

My mother has gone to a better place, but I realize that there is a hole in my heart that will always be there until I am reunited with her. Although she has been gone now for several years, I think about her every day; indeed, many times a day. There are things I would like to tell her, questions I want to ask her, and the need just to tell her how much I love her.

It seems that when you are growing up, you tend to take your mother for granted. It was only when I gave birth to my first child that I really appreciated my mother. I began to understand what motherhood was all about, and to realize the sacrifices my mother had made for me.

No one loves and cares for you like a mother. Fathers do love and care deeply for you, but a mother really feels your pain. They never stop mothering, either. I’ve had my mother to tell me to put on a jacket, that it was cold outside. Once in a grocery store, she straightened my coat collar, to the amusement of the onlookers. After all, I was a grandmother! I wouldn’t have been surprised to have had her spit on a hankie and wash my face, like she did when I was a kid. Once a mother, always a mother.

Good mothers are a gift from God. God has given us a promise when he gave the commandment, “Honor they father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” (Exodus 20:12) This is not only a Biblical admonition, but it is also good sound advice. We can see what happens to rebellious children who grow up to be rebellious adults and have their lives cut short.

I’m so thankful for godly parents who not only taught us the way of the Lord, but by their example of everyday living showed us their faith in God. To my sorrow, when I was a young, foolish teenager, I strayed from this way. Like the prodigal son, I had to be brought low in order to see my condition. Thanks be to my faithful parents and their prayers, I knew the way back home.

What a merciful Father to forgive my sins and take me back into His fold! How I would like to tell my mother how sorry I am that I ever caused her grief! How I would like to wipe away every tear that she shed for me!

My mother seemed to always be working—with seven children born in the space of 12 years, she had her hands more than full. We lived in an old Jenny Lind house, without any indoor plumbing and the proverbial “little house out back.” Water had to be carried from a hand pump down in the Virginia office yard, and laundry was done on an old gasoline powered Maytag wringer washer. She milked a cow or two, took care of the milk (which was a monumental job), helped raise a garden and canned hundreds of quarts of vegetables and fruit.

Her hands were never still. The only time I was her sitting was churning the milk, and even then she used her “idle” time to read the Bible. Of course she sat down with a lapful of green beans to string, or a cooker of peas to shell. Even during our evening Bible reading, she would be mending a pair of blue jeans or a basket full of socks.

She had a hard childhood also. She was only 11 when her mother died, and her younger brother was eight, leaving their father to raise a brood of motherless children. Of course, some of the older ones had married and left the home, but there were several left of the eleven children. It was a hard life there on the banks of Big Laurel Creek. They raised most of what they ate; patches of potatoes and other vegetables, corn to grind for meal and cane for molasses. Chickens provided meat and eggs, and milk cows were kept for milk, butter and cottage cheese.

Everyone had to pitch in with backbreaking labor, hoeing corn, picking berries and carrying firewood and water. Looking back,it seems that Mom had it rough most of her life. Even after she and Daddy were married, times were still hard. The nation was in the throes of the Great Depression, and work was as scarce as money. Yet they survived, although the following winter the temperature dropped to 29 degrees below zero.

In later years, Daddy built a new brick house up on the hill from the old one, and that should have been Mom’s easiest time. The children had all married and left home, and they were settling down to enjoy life. Then Daddy had a massive stroke, and we cared for him at home as long as we could. She lost 30 pounds during that period, as he constantly called for her. After he had to be admitted to a nursing home, she worried and fretted the entire time.

It was only after he passed away that she had some leisure time to read and rest. Then she felt guilty because she had so much time to read! I told her that if anyone had earned the time to read, it was she. She had worked her entire life, and didn’t know how to stop!

My mother was a good example of the virtuous woman we read about in Proverbs 31. Verse 30 says, “Favor is  deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a women that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.” Thank the Lord for mothers who are raising families in these troubled times—may God strengthen and bless them abundantly.

My dear friend, “Mad Max” (former coach at South Parkersburg High) sent me a Mother’s Day card with this sentiment, “The love God shared when He created mothers . . .”