The history of Mother’s Day goes back to ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. But the official date of the U.S. holiday is just over 100 years old.
Anna Jarvis is recognized as the Founder of Mother’s Day. Jarvis never married or had children, but wanted to honor her own mother, Mrs. Anna Marie Jarvis, an activist and social worker. Mrs. Jarvis desired that someday, someone must honor all mothers, living and dead, and pay tribute to the contributions made by them. On May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a Joint Resolution designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
Being a mother is an awesome responsibility. Most have no prior training in this endeavor. We learn by actually “mothering.” Christian mothers depend on prayer and guidance from God to help mold and shape their children.
I’ve asked some Kentucky Baptist to provide their thoughts on how their mother made a difference in their lives. The Scripture, “Her children rise up and bless her” (Proverbs 31:28, NIV), reflects on their thoughts.
Ricky Clark, minister of music at First Baptist Church of Bowling Green, pays this tribute:
“My mother, Doris Clark, demonstrated what a Christian mother should be. There are many things that remind me of Mom, but these three stands out in my mind. She continually gave of herself through personal sacrifice. She, and my father, Paul, had a great love of the church and the congregation. And she provided a love of music in our home.
“This love of music, not only affected the lives of her four children, but it allowed us to share this passion with others. However, it didn’t stop there — grandchildren and great-grandchildren continue to be influence of our godly Mom.”
Ken Goforth, minister to senior adults at Scottsville Baptist Church in Scottsville, says:
“I’ve often said, ‘My mom, Verna Goforth, took me to church nine months before I was born.’ Working in the church nursery, she was always at Sunday School. Mom was a major influence in our lives and made our house a home.
“On Sunday, we never asked, ‘Are we going to church?’ Her Christian influence made a difference in her sons, as to the adults we have become. In comparison to some people, she never did anything great. But she was faithful, prayed for her children and husband, and loved little ones. There is no way to count the number of children and families she touched by being a faithful Sunday school worker.”
Todd Deaton, editor of the Western Recorder, recalls lessons learned from his mom:
“Mothers shape our lives in so many ways. Through their godly example, we learn about love, joy, patience, goodness, perseverance, encouragement and hope. My mom, Phyllis Deaton, possesses a deep commitment to her faith, the church and her family which exudes a steady, powerful influence on others.
“Some time ago, I found her red, well-worn leather Bible sitting on a table. Inside, on page after page were underlined verses and notes scribbled in the margin. It dawned on me that I wasn’t just looking at a Bible, but at her testament to her Lord.
“Scripture says the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective — so, too, are the prayers of a godly mother.”
Linda Cooper, national president of WMU and member of Forest Park Baptist Church in Bowling Green, remembers her mother:
“Dixie Belle Carter, my mother, now deceased, is in heaven with her Savior. There are so many things I remember about Mom. My three siblings never asked, ‘Are we going to church today?’ She led me to the Lord at age 12.
“Doing housework or washing dishes mom would sing gospel songs, such as ‘Victory in Jesus’ and ‘Some Glad Morning.’ On the way home from church, our parents talked about the pastor’s sermon and encouraged us to ask questions. I am thankful for my Christian heritage and how I was raised. I feel very blessed and thankful to have loving parents who knew the Lord.” (WR)
Carolyn Tomlin writes for the Christian market and teaches the Boot Camp for Christian Writers. She is the co-author of The Secret Holocaust Diaries: The Untold Story of Nonna Bannister (Tyndale Pub.)