….I want to celebrate the incredible blessings that God has given me in my own Mom, Ruth Putney, and in my mother-in-law, Charlotte Carpenter. They have both shaped and influenced my life greatly, and I thank God for them.
One of my earliest memories of my mother is of sitting in her lap, being rocked in a rocking chair, and hearing her humming and singing me to sleep. In fact, I remember hearing my mom hum and sing a lot during my childhood as she cooked delicious, nutritious meals for our family, as she folded laundry, as she mopped the floor…my theory that life should have background music, as my older sister Ruth once put it, clearly comes from my mother (and my dad, let’s not neglect his singing in the car, but that’s a topic for Father's Day) who always seemed to be making music of some kind, whether her own humming, or playing the piano. Oh, yes, the piano! She played for multiple church services on Sundays, for choir practice, she played for us kids to sing along at home, (how can I ever forget our family sing-along Messiah times?) she played Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King” for us to dance around to like total maniacs in the living room—one of my favorite childhood memories—and I remember some nights going to sleep to the sound of my mom’s hymn arrangements floating down the hallway. My lifelong love of the piano and pretty much every kind of music has deep roots in the musical garden that my parents cultivated every day in our home.
Now that I’m forty-something and have three teenagers of my own, I am in awe of my mom and the incredible amounts of work she did daily to keep a household of eight running. I learned cooking and baking from her, and how to shop wisely: my mom organized a collective shopping group with other missionary wives, going to a wholesale warehouse to buy flour, sugar, meat, frozen vegetables, and other staples in large quantities at wholesale prices, in order to stretch the family budget. She cooked wonderful meals at home, taught us how to bake bread, pies, cookies, how to cook, and how to roast a turkey (don’t even get me started on the enormous Thanksgiving dinners at our house with 30+ people on our back porch.) I learned how to sew from my mom, how to mend clothing, how to clean a house, how to do laundry, and in general how to keep a home running. She taught me by example how to nurse a sick child, how to juggle work and home responsibilities, how to manage finances, and how to be loving and yet firm. Does Proverbs 31 pop into mind?
When I got a little older, my mom began teaching at the mission school, Wesleyan Academy. I had the privilege of having my mom as a choir leader and as a teacher in a class for the Seniors called “Personal and Social Development” (think: Sex Ed, Marriage, & Family.) My mom was a wonderful teacher, and I know that my own love for and rapport with high school kids is really just an echo of her ability.
Where did my mom get the strength to do all of this? Well, another thing I learned from my mom is the importance of spending time daily in God’s word, and speaking with Him in prayer. From my earliest childhood I knew that my mom (both parents, actually) placed a high importance on personal and family devotions. I know now that the only way she did everything she had to do each day was through supernatural strength from the Lord.
When I met and later married my husband, Eric, God blessed me for the second time with a mom, this time my mother-in-law. Like my own mother, she is a true Proverbs 31 woman. She is constantly serving others: cooking and serving in the ministry at her church to senior citizens (yes, I know technically she IS a senior citizen, but she is not old in any way,) ministering to the homeless, caring for the flowerbeds at her church, helping me and her own daughter Esther with our kids and homes in pretty much any way we need her, counseling many people through difficult times…and the list could go on. She has helped us move from north (NY) to south (GA,) then halfway north (NC,) and finally all the way around the world from India back to Georgia. For that last move, she did all of the telephone leg-work to find out where we should have Bobby treated, and even set it up so that when we got off the plane, we already had an appointment to see his pediatrician. What would we have done without her?
She has been there for Eric and me through life-threatening medical issues with two different children, through the infancy of two of them, through life’s ups and downs, and we always know we can count on her to help if she can. Like my own mom, she is multi-talented and frugal; she, too, knows how to shop well, how to manage finances, and how to run a household efficiently. She has added to her abilities in the last year by learning how to quilt, and making Mary a beautiful quilt, with plans to make each grandchild one. This inspires me to continue with my own quilting efforts!
As I reflect on motherhood today, I realize that God has given me two of the finest examples of mothers that there could ever be. My mom and my mother-in-law are truly two of my best friends and closest confidants. How many women can say that? Next to Eric, who is my best friend, they are the first ones I think to call in life’s hard times, or if I need Godly advice, or to share a joyous moment. I am blessed beyond compare.
So today I praise God and thank Him for both of my moms. May I continue to grow as He shapes me to be the mother I should be; this would mean becoming more like each of them.