My Mother – A Giant of Faith
By Rev. Clayton Elder | May 8, 2019
I can see it in my mind…the worn chair, the reading lamp, and the end table with Bible and Forward Day By Day stacked neatly on top. The Bible is well worked, with tabs almost worn off from thumbing pages, and the ribbon bookmarks that are faded and frayed from daily use.
Her reading glasses are set on top, and nearby, a book on prayer, and copy of New Testament Scholar and Bishop N.T. Wright’s latest book on Paul sits to supplement her readings from time to time. The chair cushion has just the slightest imprint from her small frame, but the fabric shows the wear of the years of daily study, scripture, and prayer that it has been blessed to host.
Oh, how I can see it so clearly. Oh, how my heart swells to think of her. Oh, what a blessed gift I have had to have such a giant of faith in the small frame of my mother.
Out of all the wonderful memories of my mother, too many to count, and of all the things she has said and done to love and nurture me throughout my life, this image, this moment of her daily time with the Lord, defines her more and affects me greater than any of them.
You see, in addition to her own study, for every day of my childhood my mother sat with me at the breakfast table and reread the scripture and devotion for the day. From age seven to eighteen, my mother poured her faith into me one scripture, one simple life illustration at a time. Some days I cared. Some days I didn’t. But always we did it…together.
One day, as an impatient eighth-grader, who was too cool and grown up for these shared moments with the Lord, I hurriedly rushed through the devotional and quickly grabbed my bags to rush out the door to carpool. As I reached for the doorknob, my mother called my name, and looking back at her, she said, “Clayton, I know that sometimes you don’t want to do this and that you don’t think anything will come of our time, but I can assure you, God is working on you…day by day, he is doing something great in you.”
Thirty-three years later, as I celebrate ten years of ordained ministry, I think of that chair, that Bible, those moments, and that giant of the faith in that small package I call my mother, and I am blessed to say…Praise God, and Thank You Mom…you were right…it really did work! Happy Mother’s Day!
As we approach Mother’s Day, I pray that my story may ignite sweet memories of your own mothers and how you have been blessed by them. However, for those whose mothers have fallen short of the fullness of love that God had in store for them and you, and for those who mourn either the broken relationships that exist between them, or the loss of life that separates them, I pray that the comfort of the Holy Spirit surrounds you, the forgiveness of Christ washes over you, and the healing power of God may redeem and create new life within you, all for love’s sake. Amen.