Celebrating the Beauty of Motherhood
With the coming of May each spring, the grey days of winter have faded from memory as sprigs of green and bursts of bright colors emerge to delight our senses. At the peak of all this loveliness, Mother’s Day arrives and presents us with the opportunity to once again celebrate the beauty of motherhood and the influential, godly women who have touched our lives.
In this issue, our team wanted to do something special to commemorate this holiday and honor our mothers. So, we’ve each gathered meaningful blossoms of wisdom and grace that have been gleaned from the faithful example of their lives.
As you course through the following pages, we encourage you to remember that in you, God is shaping a woman of influence … a woman who touches the lives of others with the light, life, and love of Jesus — just as the women we honor here have touched ours. Through Christ, each and every day holds grace to walk in His Spirit and live our daily life as an investment in eternity. There is no limit to what God can do through a life given wholly to Him!
May these simple words, offered by our Set Apart Girl Team, serve to remind us of the ongoing influence of lives lived faithfully unto Jesus — and, with His help, may we live to that end.
My mom has always had a special knack for creating order and beauty in her living space, making her home into a place that her family and friends truly feel joyfully peaceful. Even when her children were little and her household budget was tight, she found ways to make our house into an orderly, lovely, refreshing place to be. Sometimes when visiting friends’ homes I would notice the contrast, and always enjoyed coming home to the beautiful, orderly environment my mom created for us.
From the time my siblings and I can remember, our mom would use every opportunity — birthdays, holidays, significant events — to cultivate special, lifelong memories for our family. Camping trips were turned into unforgettable adventures through my mom’s energy and efforts, complete with roasting marshmallows around the campfire and telling funny stories. Birthday parties were memorable and creative — and usually she would spend several days preparing special food and unique games for them. Holidays were truly magical because of the many special touches she brought to them. I’ve been inspired afresh by her example in this area now that I am raising my own family.
Dress with Dignity
Maybe it’s because she grew up in the south, but my mom has always dressed with a sense of dignity and style. Even during the years when she was a busy homemaker and homeschool mom, she never looked haggard, frumpy, or frazzled. (Now that I am a mother of six, I realize what a challenge this can be!) Even during the busiest seasons, she has always put effort into her appearance, not in a selfish or showy way, but in a purposed and dignified way that showcases the value she places on her role as a wife, mother, and homemaker.
Courage & Confidence are Found in Jesus
She led a 350 voice choir, spoke to women’s groups large and small, was always the one warmly reaching out to others, and could lovingly confront sin like no one else! She was seen as confident, courageous, bold, and outgoing, but her source was Jesus. She had no less insecurities than you or I, but it was her love for Christ and her love for others that equipped her, making her one of the most courageous, beautiful souls I’ve ever known.
Remembering & Celebrating Others
People often said Mum had “the gift of cards.” With a well-marked calendar and a little extra effort, Mum was continually mailing out notes of love, encouragement, and Bible verses whenever there was a birthday or holiday, or simply that “little nudge” from the Lord prompting her to reach out to someone. Motivated by a desire to make God’s love and truth known to others, the impact she had through these small, thoughtful gestures still resounds in the lives of those who were on the receiving end.
Pray about Everything
From finding lost keys to asking God for a home when we lost our own — Mum would say that nothing is too small to bring to God in prayer and nothing is too great for Him to do! By my Mum’s faith-filled, lifelong example, I had a front row seat to the power of prayer and learned about the intimate, loving involvement of our Heavenly Father within every detail of our lives.
One Christmas, my mom created a recipe book for my sister, sister-in-law, and I that shared our family recipes and her best kitchen advice. She included notes like, “Use healthier substitutes.” and “Incorporate fresh vegetables — raw with every meal!” From the dinner table to the treadmill, I’ve gleaned many healthful tips from my mom over the years and am forever grateful that she instilled an enthusiasm for healthy living in my life from a young age!
If you sat next to my mom on an airplane, you’d find yourself next to someone very interested in you and what makes you tick. As one who is always learning, my mom is continually gleaning from others to sharpen her own life and help those around her. Showing a genuine interest in others and having the humility to continually learn, grow, and change is a truly beautiful thing — her example inspires me to learn new things from others and not settle in my own ways!
My mom is a detail-oriented woman who expertly wields this strength to love others in a beautiful, life-giving way — like preparing an amazing meal that caters to each of her guest’s dietary needs or simply remembering a distant friend’s needs in prayer. Whether it is displayed on a special occasion or on some quiet day in-between, my mom’s example of observing others, absorbing details, and proactively loving is admirable!
The Power of Prayer
Through her faithful example, I have gleaned that one secret to a child’s success is found in the prayer lives of our parents. My step-mom has a series of humble composition books wrapped in brown paper, much as you would a textbook, that hold the evidence that her life has long been lived out on her knees. Her growing legacy of prayer stirs me to pray without ceasing for my future family, ministry, and legacy.
My step-mom is an avid supporter of using fine china on weeknights, loves a good tea party in the middle of the work day, and reminds me that a life well-lived is a life well-loved. She brings sparkle to just about everything she touches as a result, and inspires me to break out those linen napkins, even if I’m only cooking for one — because every moment of life is to be enjoyed with Jesus.
An Overcoming Spirit
You would never know it if you passed her on the street, but this dear woman has walked through a variety of “valley seasons.” Heavy trials within and without have weighed upon her heart at times and yet, because of Christ, she has risen with an overcoming spirit and victorious outlook that enables her to minister to others with the biblical perspective she received from the Spirit of God during her own times of need. To me she is a picture of what it means to be a victor rather than a victim, and it challenges me to maintain a focus upon Jesus when my own patches of “hard” come along.
Fun + Adventure
With true “homeschool-mom” gusto, my mom was always dreaming up exciting ways for us to spend time as a family. She would set goals for us — such as climbing a mountain or going on a 70-mile bike trip — and then make them happen! So many fond family memories come from these times and I love my mom for organizing these activities.
“If only…” I started to complain, when my mom gave me a firm reminder that nothing good will come out of dwelling on the “ifs.” This timely truth is still a key reminder not to mull over the things that have “gone wrong” and instead choose to be thankful in the present.
A Worshipful Heart
Though my mom has always tended toward the practical side of life, she continually makes time for worship — specifically worshiping the Lord through dance. Many times I have poured out my heart to the Lord through dance and I deeply appreciate my mom for cultivating this in my life.
“Life’s Not Fair”
“It’s not fair!” I would cry. “Yes, life’s not fair,” my mom would calmly state. Rather than coddling my desire for things to go my way, she knew this often was not the way life unfolded and that it would be full of heartbreaks, disappointments, injustices, and misunderstandings. Ultimately, I know that her desire was to point me to an eternal perspective: Yes, life on this earth might not go according to my plan — but the greatest “unfairness” had been suffered by Jesus, when He went to the Cross for my sin.
The Gift of Time
During some of my most tumultuous teen years — after my mom had worked a full day, put supper on the table, and attended to the needs of all of her children — she would sometimes spend hours with me, long into the night. She would stay up late with me — listening, giving wisdom, hugging me, and investing the most immeasurable gift of all into me … her time. Nothing spoke of her love for me more than that.
My Dad says, “Your mom has more integrity in her pinky finger than most people have in their entire being,” and it’s true. My mom was — and is — a woman of action. Throughout my life, her words were powerful, but her actions even more so. All that she does is marked by excellence, honesty, and diligence!
“My whole day feels off when I don’t get to spend time with the Lord.” This isn’t something my mom just says, she actually makes spending time at the feet of Jesus a priority at the very beginning of her day … and has, for as long as I can remember.
Embracing Family Life
I remember my mom telling me several times, “When people ask me what I enjoy spending my time doing, I tell them my favorite thing is spending time with my family.” And it’s true! My mom gave me a vision for beautiful, joyful wifehood and motherhood because of how she embraced it as a good gift from the Lord.
Faithfully Following Christ
My mom has always displayed that living for Jesus is better than following your own dreams for your life. In high school and college, she would have never guessed her life would look how it does now, but her life has proven how good God’s perfect plan is by obeying His leading in every area.
To all our mothers…
For Your loving sacrifice, sleepless nights, steady encouragement, championing cheers, endless laundry, healthy meals, managing the details, creative projects, patient instruction, anticipating needs, listening ears, Keeping house, life organization, photo taking, Birthday parties, nighttime cuddles, ready courage, hours of prayer, persevering hope, calm discipline, quality time, godly counsel, phone calls, love notes, Christlike example, faithful surrender, all in Jesus’ name…