Despite her busy schedule
tending to family matters, Musgrave became involved in the community.
She always found time to extravagantly decorate their church sanctuary
during Easter and Christmas, according to Ben Baughman, pastor of
The Sanctuary, the Assemblies of God church in Fort Morgan, a community
of 11,000 people.
She led a county right-to-life
group, encouraging women with unplanned pregnancies to keep their
babies rather than abort.
Her first taste of political
involvement resulted from her election to the Fort Morgan school
board in 1990. She had been active as a homeroom volunteer mother
and earlier as a substitute teacher. The lack of classroom discipline,
declining academic standards and lack of values in the sex-education
curriculum led to her decision to seek the board seat.
Four years later, social
and cultural issues also spurred her to seek state office. She served
four years in the Colorado House and four in the Senate. Musgrave
led a successful drive to prohibit same-sex marriage and co-sponsored
bills restricting partial-birth abortion and requiring parental
notification before a minor can obtain an abortion.
run for the state legislature until her younger son turned 14. Although
still able to drive home from the statehouse every night, her stint
as a Colorado lawmaker 120 days a year meant a childrearing shift.
Steve took over the primary parenting role.
Steve says he encouraged
his wife to pursue a career once the children began to mature. “She
supported me in my occupation,” he says. “It’s
my responsibility to help her follow what God’s purpose is
for her life.”
The nest at the Musgrave
home slowly emptied, with each child moving out to pursue higher
education. Musgrave remembers with a tinge of sadness going into
her older son’s room as he packed his bags for college.
“As I walked down
that hallway I thought, Whoa, I didn’t do enough.
I wish I’d been a better mom,”
Musgrave says. “The realization hit me that my parenting of
my son was over.”
Pastor Baughman has known
Musgrave as a politician, friend and congregant for the past dozen
years. Baughman and his wife, Brenda, have prayed for and with Musgrave
since her school board election days.
“Marilyn has always
sought God on the moves she’s made,” says Baughman,
54. “Our church supports her in prayer because she’s
The Musgraves themselves
remain a close-knit family. The children actively campaigned for
her U.S. congressional election, and continue to be at her side
on occasion during public appearances.
Grandparenting has afforded
Musgrave the opportunity to create precious memories again. She
has five grandchildren, all age 5 or under. She already has an array
of fond experiences with the grandchildren: seeing facial expressions
that remind her of her own children; listening to their prayers
when blessing the food; worshiping along with a Michael W. Smith
compact disc; hearing them call upon the name of the Lord when in
These days Steve is an
insurance agent, unbothered that his wife is the frequent focus
of media attention. It does perturb him that Marilyn is the frequent
target of vitriolic e-mails. While consoling her, he helps put it
centuries have been the recipients of a lot of hate for standing
up for what’s right,” Steve says. “Why should
we be any different?”
Musgrave takes being
the center of attention in a high-stakes culture war in stride.
She finds the best way to keep a balance is to talk to and play
with her grandchildren.
Women need to enjoy whatever
stage of life they are in, according to Musgrave.
“The Lord wants
us to be fulfilled and to use our talents and abilities,”
she says. “As Christians we have the responsibility to impact
our culture. Politics is something I was drawn to, although it’s
not for everyone.”
Once parenting responsibilities
are finished, she says, it doesn’t mean it’s time to
“Women who are
reaching middle age need to find what will give meaning to their
lives and make a contribution to society in accordance with their
spiritual gifts,” Musgrave says. “While many women in
their 40s and 50s may shed tears for kids who have gone out on their
own, it’s also the time when the Lord can provide incredible
years of ministry. What a great thing it is for adult children to
see their mother pursue a new dream and fulfill a new role.”
Meanwhile, Musgrave is
daily making the point that biblical marriage is important for the
sake of raising godly children.
The Federal Marriage
Amendment is gradually gaining support. When Musgrave introduced
the measure a year ago it had only five other backers. The Assemblies
of God Executive Presbytery endorsed the amendment last September.
President Bush backed her amendment in February, and now the proposal
has garnered 117 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives.
When Musgrave is able
to return to Fort Morgan during legislative recesses, her pastor
doesn’t sense that she is consumed with politics.
grandmothering are what she loves more than anything in life,”
Baughman says. “Her grandchildren adore her.”
mind if her grown children still lived under her roof, but it’s
a consolation that three of them live in the area and visit frequently
(her younger son is in the U.S. Navy). The most joyful times in
her life continue to be at family gatherings.
“The best job I’ve
ever had was being a full-time wife and mother,” Musgrave
told Today’s Pentecostal Evangel.
“I cherish the years I had raising my kids and enjoying their
lives. If I had to do it all over again, I would try to be a better
mother by cherishing each moment even more.”
John W. Kennedy is news
editor of Today’s Pentecostal Evangel.
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