Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Son of Your Maid-Servant

Last month, Suzanne and I were able to take a few days to go visit some very special women in my life: my mother and grandmother. They are both godly women who represent an important part of our spiritual heritage, and that of our children.

My “Granny” is an evangelist. In 1940, she and her husband Garrette were commissioned to itinerant ministry and for the next 25 years served in the Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama, preaching the Gospel and teaching the Bible. You can read more about their ministry together here. They were also involved in Jewish evangelism along the way, and Granny taught many “Good News” clubs for children. Garrette passed away in 1965, but Granny continued on with her ministry, passing out gospel tracts, singing at churches (she once sang “Amazing Grace” on stage with Dino Kartsonakis, but that’s another story) and working with various ministries for young women. Today she is 97, and doing well, living in her little apartment in Spartanburg, SC. She has taken on her apartment complex as her parish, and she regularly reaches out to the residents there with friendship, prayer and, of course, gospel tracts. The Lord regularly sends folks by who help her with her various chores and errands, and they end up being blessed as much by her as she is by them. Those who have spoken with her over the phone know that she is likely to sing them a little song or hymn — at 97, she’s still doing music ministry, and is in pretty good voice, too.

My mother is also a strong woman of faith. As the mother of four boys, she showed a lot of patience — and restraint — and later was very gracious to create annual beach retreats for us and our families (all together with thirteen grandchildren — talk about patience!). But we’ve also seen how God has used her in the lives of others to bring reconciliation and blessing. She is active in her church and enjoys the praise and teaching service with the younger crowd. Though the past few years have been very difficult for her, we have seen how she has risen up in her faith to meet the challenges. On our recent trip, she shared with us that one of her favorite Scripture verses is Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” She said it is good to know a few verses by heart for when you wake up in the middle of the night. We cannot tell you how many lives she has touched, and we know that the Lord is going to touch many more through her.

Mom and Granny are heroes to us, and since Mother’s Day is this month, we thought this would be a good time to say it. As I have reflected over the past few years on this wonderful spiritual inheritance, the words of Psalm 116:16 have taken on a deeper meaning for me:
O LORD, truly I am Your servant;
I am Your servant, the son of Your maidservant.
Happy Mother’s Day!