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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...




Reflections on a Mother’s Love

Ask someone to describe “love,” and there’s a good chance they’ll point to the affection and care of a mother for her child. As people of faith, we rightly identify the love of God as the fullest definition of love, but Scripture repeatedly upholds the example of a mother as wonderfully expressive of our Heavenly Father’s heart for His children.

Hannah nurtured the boy Samuel. The writer of Proverbs praised his mother’s caring influence. The Gospel narratives give us Mary as a mother of deep love and devout faith.

Whose love are you celebrating today? Whom might you thank for her years of selfless generosity?

Three members of the Pentecostal Evangel editorial team offer their reflections to inspire your own.


Mom’s Priority

It was 1972, and life was hard. Three years earlier, abandoned by her husband, Nola Meredith began a new life as a single mom of 3-year-old James and 1-year-old Jason. Lacking a high school diploma, she took business classes, worked odd jobs, and lived with her parents. But as her boys neared school age, she needed to set down permanent roots.

Mom moved us to a small town not far from my grandparents’ farm that summer. She rented a small house and found a secretarial job at the local school.

Jason and I loved the new surroundings: a house to ourselves, new friends, and Grandma and Grandpa close by. But for Mom, challenges began to accumulate. She recalls feeling overwhelmed by her circumstances. The financial burden of raising two kids alone formed a heavy load.

Add to that the pain of a broken marriage. Issues of rejection and abandonment loomed large.

Complicating matters was the spiritual struggle within her. While Mom’s own mother had recently found a dynamic experience with God, Mom was, in her own words, floundering spiritually. Put bluntly, the situation was a perfect recipe for a life of dysfunction and spiritual tragedy.

But then Mom did something wonderful … something God-led. Despite her own questions, she recognized that her sons needed a godly upbringing. And she began to look for a way to meet that need.

There’s a little Assemblies of God church on the edge of that town. Mom knew it to be a place where we would hear God’s Word and experience His presence. So she made sure we were in that church — every week, every service. No matter the personal battles she was facing, Mom made sure her boys would know what it means to walk with God.

Four decades have passed since those pivotal days. And God has blessed our family ever since. The people in that church became my spiritual mentors. Jason and I are both active in ministry. Over the years, Mom developed a vibrant relationship with the God who never left her in the storm. And we even reunited with my father, who became a zealous follower of Christ before his death in 2007.

Yet I can’t help but recall the decision of a single mother who — despite her own hurts and struggles — remembered to give God priority in her sons’ lives. On this Mother’s Day, I am thankful for Mom, and her courage to look beyond herself and care for my greatest need.

JAMES MEREDITH is technical editor of the Pentecostal Evangel.


The Owl Incident

As a young woman, my mother was an energetic, fun-loving socialite. Besides parties and social activities, she traveled widely, delighting in such adventures as climbing Mount Rainier, sailing through the Panama Canal, and visiting Cuba.

Beginning in her teens, she kept the books and had other roles in her father’s Chevrolet and Ford dealerships. She was incredibly active and outgoing.

When my parents married, the local newspaper’s Society section titled an article, “Popular Couple Wed Saturday.” She was a social climber.

But when she became a mother — first to my two sisters, much later to me — she transformed into a devoted homemaker, without, it seemed, a hint of regret.

Eventually, my mother’s symbol became an owl. Throughout her life people gave her owl figurines, owl cards, stuffed owls — all because of one event I was too young to remember. I only recall it from the frequent family recitations of what came to be known as “The Owl Incident.”

We lived near an old barn, and, one night, a sick barn owl took up residence in our backyard. It refused to be shooed away. With my dad away, my mother wasn’t quite sure what to do. She called the police.

“There’s an owl in our backyard,” she said. “What should I do?”

The officer’s response was destined to find a permanent place in Horn family lore.

“Hoot at it,” he said.

This, as you might imagine, did not make my mother any too pleased. In fact, it left her in an unusually surly mood. It was a good thing (for local law enforcement) that an officer finally came and removed the feathered offender.

But, like it or not, my mother was stuck with the owl as her life symbol.

There are other things that stuck to my mother — like the fact that she was a devoted parent who put the welfare of her children above her own. And she always seemed to know when something was wrong — and how to make it at least a little better.

My mother’s been gone for two decades, but still, every Mother’s Day, I am reminded of what a blessing I had in her. So today, once again I pause to say, “Thank You, God, for blessing me with a wonderful mother.”

KEN HORN is editor of the Pentecostal Evangel.


A Mother Is Born

It is said that the moment a child is born, so is a mother. For years, I rejected this idea, offended at the thought that until you have a child, you have no motherly instincts. The way I saw it, I was born a mom. Nurturing, caretaking and a love of kids were all second nature to me from a very young age.

So when I found that I was pregnant in November 2010, I was confused by the trepidation I felt. After all, I was born to do this. I was already a mom. I told myself I was fully prepared to have a baby and to ignore the anxiety I felt.

Then, as the due date approached, a blind panic began to force its way to the forefront of my mind. What was I thinking? I couldn’t do this! I was entirely too selfish to have another human dependent on me. I realized how much I enjoyed being lazy, and making spontaneous plans, and sleeping — oh, how I loved sleeping.

Then I started to worry about how I would feel about my baby. I didn’t know anything about this person, this child growing inside of me. How could I love this stranger? I didn’t trust my own ability to love to transcend my selfishness; I doubted I could care for this child beyond my own needs and desires. I was not ready. I was not a mom.

Nevertheless, it was too late to change my mind. On July 9, 2011, at 11:36 a.m., my son, Riley, came screaming into this world. In that moment, I was transformed. As I held in my arms the most perfect child I’d ever seen, I finally understood that old saying — the mother in me was born the same day as my son.

I was ready.

I was Riley’s mom.

The following months contained great challenges, but despite the colic, sleep-deprivation and complete hormonal upheaval, God has used Riley to teach me things I may never have learned otherwise — things about selflessness, sacrifice and unconditional love.

Now, after all I’ve learned, it seems silly that I worried about my ability to love Riley. I love him from the pit of my being, beyond places in my heart that I ever dared to dream existed. I try to remember each day, and especially on Mother’s Day, to thank the Lord that, despite my fears, He allowed a mother to be born.

EMILY THARP is editorial assistant of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Email your comments to pe@ag.org.