March 3, 2011

Inspiring Women Series - Mom


It seems we all have someone in our life that has made a huge impression on us, someone who has inspired us to be more, someone who has encouraged us through thick and thin.  Inspiring Women. God seems to put just the right person in our path at just the right time.  Inspiring Women help us grow, raise our families, and live our faith out loud.   I know several women who fit that description, and I want to share them with you over the coming weeks each Thursday.

I felt it most appropriate to first introduce you to my Mom.

Mom with two of her four great-grandchildren.

She's had more influence over me than she probably realizes.  It starts all the way back to when I was in grade school.  Mom and Dad attended a couples bible study for many years.  All the kids would tag along and play while the adults met over their bibles and prayer.  I didn't realize at the time that this was something that had a huge effect on my Dad's faith as well.

I asked Mom how that all began:

MOM:  Some women here had a womans Bible class (when you were 3. We had a babysitter in another house). We had a potluck supper for us and our husbands in the basement of the bank. It was there that Bob convinced Paul(Dad) that he was saved. The guys decided they'd like to come to the Bible class. Bob said he would try to teach it. And so it began....it was in several homes over the years. 

So who has had the biggest effect on your faith over the years?

MOM:  Bob and Ruth Draper through those bible studies.

Do you remember when you accepted Christ?

MOM:  I can’t think of a specific time. I attended Sunday School ever since I can remember so I think it was more of a gradual understanding that I accepted what I had been taught. Until my adult years, I didn’t really realize the full impact.  Thinking back....I  think I  always new 'about' Jesus and Him giving his life for me, but I was not aware that I had to "invite" Him in to my heart.....the difference of head knowledge and heart knowledge!  I became aware of this at those morning Bible studies

You were married very young, and at the time, Dad was a Catholic and not a strong believer.  How did you handle the differences in your faiths?  

MOM:  He was a strong believer, he just didn’t know it. He had been taught that he would go to Hell if he left the church. I kept quoting John 3:16 to him. After he had a conversation with the priest, he decided to join my church. At the home Bible studies, he finally realized that he was saved ‘forever’ no matter what church he belonged to.

Many of my readers know that Dad died at a young age of lung cancer.  Of course, that means you were young as well.  How did your faith carry you through this difficult time? 

MOM:  My God was stronger than my faith! We had prayed so hard for Paul to be healed. He had been anointed with oil and we really were claiming that promise. When he died, I was so mad at God that I couldn’t even attend church for several months. When I realized that He still loved me in spite of my anger, and understood my anger, I slowly began to return to church and rekindle my relationship. 

I know you were completely surprised and blessed to fall in love again 25 years later, only to have Ken pass away very suddenly and unexpectedly.  Can you describe how loosing another man you loved affected your faith once again?

MOM:  Again, God was stronger than me. He held me together and kept me from ‘going over the edge’.  I was very confused by this event as our relationship seemed to be perfect in many ways. We thought it was God’s plan for us to be together.  The results? Blessed to have been loved so deeply and sharing love with one who had, himself, been through recent tragedy.  A saying I found that has helped to heal these wounds is, “All that really matters in the end is that you loved.”  And, “Don’t cry because it’s over, laugh because it happened.”

This loss may have been even harder to recover from.  Can you explain?

MOM:  When Paul died, he had been ill for over a year. His health gradually declined so we were prepared for it. When Ken died of a heart attack, it was a shock. And thinking it was meant to be, was heartbreaking. With family and friends praying for me during this time, I’m sure it was their faithfulness that has held me up. I still struggle with this but am trying to accept God’s plan for me, whatever that may be. 

So as you can see, Mom has been through some tough times in her life, but has always relied on God to bring her back to wholeness.  Why do I find her inspiring?
When it became clear that my Dad didn't have much longer to live, Mom performed one of the most incredible acts of love that I have ever seen.  My Dad's favorite place in the world was our family cabin in Canada.  It was all he would talk about for 51 weeks of the year....waiting to go to Canada.  Mom found someone who would loan them a van that could fit my Dad's hospital bed inside so she could drive him 14 hours to the cabin just one more time.  They only spent a few days, and then they drove all the way back.  Dad died a few days later.

Mom now needed a way to support herself, so she decided to pursue getting her GED.  After she this achievement, she worked full time for over 25 years, until just recently retiring.

After Dad died, my life began a downward spiral that ended in a divorce and deep depression 9 years later.  Mom was there for me every step of the way.  She came to stay with me  to help care for D, who was only 4 at the time.  There were some days she literally had to force me help me get out of bed and get dressed.  She never let me forget that God was watching over me and would get me through, that leaning on my faith was the only way out of the darkness.

Mom, I love you.  Thanks for your strength and always standing by me, no matter what, and more importantly, never giving up on God!  You are an Inspiration!

Now it is your turn, dear readers!  Do you have someone you would like to honor with a blog post about how they have inspired you?  Link up below and tell us!



7 comments:

  1. What an amazing story! Your mom sounds like such a strong woman with a solid foundation in her faith. I just found your blog recently, and I've been looking forward to this series.

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  2. wow Cherie - I never had read your upbringing before. Your mom sounds like a fantastic woman!!

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  3. I have been blessed by a great family that has stood by me over the years, holding me up at my weakest moments.
    You have shown one can be am inspiration without knowing it....a good lesson for all.
    Thank you Cherie for your love.

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  4. Thank you for sharing your mom with all of us! I've been looking forward to this series, and I really am excited about reading stories of inspiring women.

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  5. A wonderful start to your series! You have a beautiful mom!

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  6. Nice tribute to mom Cherie!

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  7. Cherie, this was a wonderful tribute to your mother. Your post highlights her strength and devotion to God. She reminds me of my grandmother, who also saw a lot of adversity in her life. Thank you for sharing with us. I look forward to more in this series.

    Love & Blessings

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