Out of curiosity, I googled Biblical references to mothers. I came upon a page that lists, “Top 40 scripture passages for Mother’s Day.” One of the passages it listed was 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. This passage describes how many mothers use their gifts.
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses. (NRSV)
When I think of mothers, many have so many gifts they share: mothers cook, they nurse family members when sick, they mend wounded knees, they comfort when you need lifting up, and they are wise. My mother was all of these things. Her faith kept her strong, and she used her gifts of love, patience, caring, and kindness with her family, friends, and within the church at many levels.
My mother loved to cook, especially experimenting with new recipes which always turned out to perfection. When my nieces and nephews were young, she had them help her make tea biscuits. Our house was always full with the smells of something cooking in the oven. Being a first generation Canadian, family was important to my mother and she tried to be there for us.
A friend reminded me that my mother was like a mother to her and I am sure to some of my other friends too. This same friend reminded me that whenever she came to our house or my grandmother’s house, she felt the warmth of love. She also remembered the cookies that were being baked and removed from the oven just as we walked in the door. The cookies my grandmother made were sugar cookies, cooked in an old wood stove and were always so delicious.
I recently came across a piece of paper with my mother’s handwriting on it, which contained the verse, “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13). She perhaps used that verse at a WMS meeting or read that verse to herself to help sustain her through the day. She was a woman of strong faith and prayed constantly for her family and friends. I would arrive home after driving or travelling somewhere and call her to say I am home. She would respond by saying she was praying that I would arrive home safely. My mother also had a collection of affirmations she tried to pass down to me, but I can never remember them. (Thankfully, I know I have them written down on a piece of paper somewhere in my collection of writings.) She also served her church with dedication using her spiritual gifts in whatever she was involved with.
Another gift my mother had was music. She sang contralto/alto and was in choirs most of her life. She often sang solos in church. Whenever I hear some of the pieces she use to sing, the memories flood back. She was about to audition for the Mendelssohn choir when she moved to Stayner from Toronto where she began a new journey in her life. I think she always felt disappointed at missing out on that opportunity. Whenever we came to Toronto, I was introduced to live theatre, especially opera, and movies because she wanted someone to experience that culture with her. Perhaps that is why I grew to appreciate the arts.
In her latter years, I decided that I would do whatever I could to make sure she was happy. When I would visit her in Stayner, I took her to Tim Hortons for hot chocolate and a donut or Dairy Queen in the summer, which we sometimes took to the park to eat. We would shop and stock up on chocolate bars and Werther’s candies until my next visit.
Memories are something that we can choose to keep or erase. But this year, as we celebrate Mother’s Day, think of a story that will remind you of some of some faithful servant, our mothers.
Photo: Author, Katherine Allen’s mother, Maureen Allen and her great granddaughter, Livvy. Maureen Allen loved having children around, especially spending time with her grandchildren.