Why I Appreciate My Husband's Mother

There's something extra special about being born on Mother's Day. Can you imagine a mother's delight? This was the case for my husband and his mother on May 9, 1949 ~ Mother's Day. In honor of both my husband Bob ~ whose birthday is today ~ and his incredible mother, I want to share some special insights that will hopefully encourage any young moms who read my blog ... especially mothers of sons. (Though this is personal, I believe it will bless and encourage others.)

I asked my husband's mother, Adele Wilson, to answer some questions for me. She graciously agreed. When she responded with a precious email titled "Raising Bobby," she began by saying Bob was her first Mother's Day gift ~ a gift from God. She noted that I have now lived with Bob for twice as long as she and Bob's dad (also named Bob) and that I probably love him "twice as much." I doubt that. There's something intense and precious about a mother's love.

And what a mother to have. My "mother-in-love" is a godly, wise lady ~ the epitome of the Proverbs 31 Woman, but never in a "stuffy" way. She adopted me into her family from the start, and I have always felt loved and accepted. She is every daughter-in-law's dream.

When I think of Mom, the scripture that comes to mind is Proverbs 14:1a ~ "A wise woman builds her house." Perhaps the best way to honor her is simply to share her answers to my questions. I will simply call her "Mom," here, because I've always considered her as another mom ~ never a challenge to my relationship with my birth mother (who I also dearly love).

I first asked Mom, "What did you do to help instill a desire for spiritual things in Bob's life?"

Mom is a book lover, and she replied that, besides taking Bob and his siblings to the library and using the Child Craft encyclopedia, she also purchased devotional books to use over and over again. "There were questions at the end of each devotional, geared to establishing godly character," she said. "We also had all the children in Sunday School programs, and enrolled Bobby in a Christian school beginning in the second semester of first grade."

I asked her what she prayed about for her son as he grew up. She and Dad prayed for Bob's health, because he had some medical issues in his early years, and they also prayed for "godliness and loving kindness," although, she said, "these came naturally it seemed" to him. "He was a handsome boy from day one and adjusted to family circumstances easily," she said. "He loved to be around people, and as he grew, he liked to help others, almost to his own detriment."

When Bob's mother told me about his demeanor years ago, I thought she was just being prejudiced as a mom; but I have discovered that all she said was true. Bob is an easy-going servant of God with a big, loving heart. He is incredibly patient, kind, and a natural peace-keeper.

"What surprised you most about being a mother in general," I asked Mom, "since he was your firstborn?"

"I was surprised at how much love came in and went out to such a tiny human package," she said. Circumstances for the family were tough at the time, and "this new little life became more important than any other challenges we had before or after our precious baby came," she said. "God used our baby to direct our paths from then on."

When I asked about her hopes for her firstborn, Mom's answer was quick and simple: "Love the Lord and be an honorable and godly man." But I'm sure that those hopes were challenged many times as her son grew to manhood. Every mother knows the struggles of getting a boy to manhood. When I asked her how she dealt with him or encouraged him when he didn't seem so motivated by spiritual things, she had many thoughts.

"It's not just one thing," she said, "but certainly prayer and consistently living a godly life in front of your children is what I feel is the key to a happy home ~ that and surrounding him with healthy friendships and activities;" and then she listed some of the many life-building activities Bob and his father enjoyed.

She also mentioned that "a mother's willingness to sacrifice personal time to meet the needs of husband and children has to be a priority. Add a great deal of patience and unconditional love to this mix," she said, "and I think everyone would agree that it takes a family team effort."

Mom said Bob had "a heart for spiritual things" early on. He was first called to live for God in high school. Then, as he attended LeTourneu College in Texas, "he wrote home," Mom said, "telling us he had gone to the altar to dedicate himself for full-time Christian service. We thanked the Lord and we were so blessed to know that often when you think they are not paying attention, God is speaking to their hearts."

Mom and Dad Wilson were intent on instilling important character qualities in their son's life ~ faithfulness, responsibility, integrity, and a work ethic. "But I wanted home to be a safe place," Mom said, "a loving-kindness kind of place. I remember asking the children to leave the world outside the doors of our home and be a part of this team we call a 'family.' We had a hospitality kind of home where, many times, an extra place was at the dinner table... we had missionaries over for dinner, and a home open to others who needed a temporary place to stay.

"I suspect," she added, "these were good influences for Bobby's future." Indeed they were, Mom ... good training for ministry! And you are still building into his life.

Tears filled my eyes this past Easter as I watched (and snapped a photo) of Mom listening to her "Bobby" talk about his ministry overseas. She was intensely engaged, encouraging her son as she listened to his stories and asked questions.

(continued) When I asked Mom whether she thinks it is easier or harder to raise godly children today, she grew philosophical. "I think every generation has felt it is harder than the one before that," she said. "Because of technology today and the peer pressure they feel, this brings the world into the home so early in life. It looks to me like a daunting task to have a Christian home with all that stimulation thrown in ~ that and the anti-Christian culture that permeates society today."

Mom says she wanted her home to be "the one we never had growing up." Both she and Dad grew up as teenagers in the Masonic Home for Children. She loved working outside the home and was always career-bent, but, she says, "I thank the Lord that I listened to Him about being a mother first!" Though she was blessed with lots of energy and could manage a career, she was "grateful," she said, that she could "be what is now called a stay-at-home mother" during her children's formative years.

Church was an integral part of family life ~ a spiritual training ground as well as the family's social activity center; and she feels having the children in a private Christian school was also "a fairly safe harbor for building good friendships as well as getting a good education."

Mom's love for books carried over into her family interactions. She loved to read Kenneth Taylor's Stories for the Children's Hour to them. They also used The Family Altar at the dinner table.

"Speaking of the dinner hour," she said, "I think it's so important to make that a special family time. We had a lot of fun, and important discussions often took place at the dinner table." Yet, because children's after-school activities often take them out of the home earlier and earlier, that special dinner time is almost a thing of the past, she said.

She laments, "Children, it would seem, are rushed to grow up too fast."

Motherhood wasn't all fun and games, of course, but knowing the Lord made all the difference. "We certainly can think of mistakes we made," Mom said, "but God steps in where we lack wisdom."

Mom, I am so grateful for the little boy you raised so well to be my husband. Proverbs 31:28 says, "Her children rise up and call her blessed." I'm glad I get to be one of your adopted daughters so I can "bless you," too. I know that I can speak for all of your children and their spouses and your grandchildren ... you have touched all of our lives in beautiful ways.

1 comment:

Sandra McLeod Humphrey said...

Hi, Dawn
Congratulations on winning one of my books during our John 3:16 Blog Hop! Please let me know your mailing address and also which of my books you’ve selected. I’d also like the first name of the person to whom you’d like it autographed and whether the autographee is an adult or a child.

Again, Congratulations!

Sandy Humphrey(Sandra305@aol.com)