Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Celebrating Mom!

“Let’s celebrate together!” Matthew 25:21, 23

Today I’m celebrating the life of a faithful servant.

In Proverbs 31 we read, “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”

Growing up, my home was a place where I always felt secure and loved. Mom used every opportunity to set a godly example to let me see the reality of Christ. No doubt these teachable moments were a direct result of mom’s daily, consistent, personal time with the Lord in prayer and Bible study. As long as I can remember, mom has been rising each morning by 4:00 AM to spend time with her Lord, studying His Word and lifting her family and loved ones to Him in prayer. My memory holds dear, days that began and ended with prayer, as mom would kneel beside my bed each morning, surrendering my day to the Lord, and joining hearts and hands around the dinner table at the close of the day, taking time for Bible reading and family worship.

As I child, I would pray for everything and everyone, often stopping in mid-prayer to ask a question or give a hug, but mom and dad never seemed to mind. I learned early that I could talk to God anytime, anywhere, and He became my best Friend and Saviour while I was still very young.

It was also not uncommon to wake in the middle of the night to find mom kneeling beside my bed yet again. I know her prayers saved me from many hurtful experiences, and also saw the realization of many fulfilled dreams in my life.

During my school days I never left the house without joining hands with mom in the front hall for a quick word of prayer, asking the Lord to be with me. This circle often included a number of school pals who had come by to join my sister and I on the way to school, a witness to them of God’s love - and mom’s! A little dab of perfume on my wrist generally accompanied this prayer time, and was mom’s special way of reminding me of her continued prayers throughout the day. One time, just before writing an exam, a girlfriend inquired about the fragrance I was wearing. I simply answered, “Oh, it’s my mother’s prayers!” To which she replied, “They sure smell nice!” What a practical way for mom to teach the truth of Psalm 141:2, that our prayers rise as a sweet fragrance to the Lord.

Mom is faithful not only in her quiet times, but in all areas of her life. She is a faithful mother, wife, grandma, sister-in-law and friend. Her faithful dedication with her daughters in our musical training, sitting beside us daily through countless hours of piano practice, theory study and exams, led all three of us to receive A.R.C.T.’s from the Royal Conservatory of Music, an achievement that would NEVER have been accomplished without mom’s patience and sheer determination!

Her faithful, daily letter writing is just another example of her commitment to those she loves. It was the “norm” for dad to stop by the post office every morning on his way to work to mail numerous letters, notes, and little words of encouragement to family, friends, and anyone else the Lord happened to lay upon mom’s heart. It’s no wonder my dad began collecting stamps!

As a godly woman, mom’s quiet countenance, gracious nature, open hospitality, discerning spirit and tender heart always made our home a haven, not just for her family, but for all who enter. A knock at the door and in no time, the kettle would be boiling and mom would make time to share a smile or tear over a hot cup of tea. She still provides a listening ear, encouraging word and prayerful support, ministering God’s love. She personifies Philippians 4:8, “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Perhaps one of mom’s favourite past-times would be her love of reading! A good book, a cup of tea, and a cozy place is mom’s personal refuge - when she finds the time! She enjoys quiet evenings, fresh white handkerchiefs (which she then proceeds to leave behind almost everywhere she goes!), "Lawrence Welk" re-runs, and peanut-buttered toast! She is happiest when her family is happy.

She is the founder of “there-there’s”. What is a “there-there”? It’s an unexpected gift, large or small, given simply to say, “I love you.” They can appear in lunch bags or suitcases and have known to be found on pillows or doorsteps! It has become a Dale family tradition, now reaching far beyond our family circle.

Mom, you invested your life in your children, making sacrifices for my sisters and I, and you did it with passion. Thank you for the life-long investment you made training and shaping me. You have provided the colour and shading that brought depth and dimension to my life. It seems like in my growing up years I often found time for everything and everyone but you, yet would anything or anyone else have done for me what you did? I don’t know how many times I could have made you happy by simply saying “I love you, mom.”

After becoming a mother myself, I came to appreciate and love you in a deeper way. I esteem you for the perseverance you continually display in fulfilling daily, the thousands of tasks necessary to ensure that you leave a healthy and godly heritage.

This past year I have seen you rise above so many challenges. Your courage has climbed mountains as you remained a “prisoner of hope”, walking faithfully by dad’s side as he endured months of unexpected health concerns. You held on with grace and determination. You met the uncertainties head on and didn’t waver in your witness. You were hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9) You faced tremendous trials with strength and confidence. You never stopped trusting, but held on to the blessed assurance that God was in control. Again you gave testimony to the Lord’s promise that a bruised reed He will not break and a smouldering wick He will not snuff out. In faithfulness He will bring forth justice. (Isaiah 42:3)

Mom, today as you celebrate your 84th birthday, I pray you will unwrap special gifts from His storehouse of treasures. I pray you will hear Him rejoicing over you. I love you mom...always and forever.

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~Grace and Peace said...

Mrs. Dale,
May I be the first in the bloggy world to wish you a very Happy 84th Birthday! I have only known your daughter through her blog this past few months and I must say your godly influence is all over her. You raised a wonderful, God-fearing, God-pleasing daughter. She is a daily inspiration to many.

As a mother, the longing of my heart is to raise my sons as you have raised your daugters. You are the personification of the Proverbs 31 woman. Your daughters rise up and call you blessed.

I am also praising God that He chose this day to give you the wonderful gift of your husband's homecoming. God certainly knows how to reward His good and faithful servants. Well done, Mrs. Dale.

Have a blessed day.

Marilyn in Mississippi said...

Happy Birthday Mrs. Dale! You have been a great inspiration to me through your sweet Joy! The ways you have loved your daughters, cared for your household, and been a soul mate to your husband are truly a "living out" of a in-the-flesh Proverbs 31 Woman!

May God bless you! Mississippi

Tracy said...

Mrs. Dale,
I hope your day has been wonderful in every way. What a loving and faithful servant you are! I'm awed and humbled by your example. It's little wonder now why Joy is such a woman of faith! I rejoice with you in undoubtedly the most special gift this year...the gift of your husband's return home. What a blessing after such a difficult season.

May God continue to bless you richly as you so faithfully serve Him.

Tracy Klensch

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

A beautiful tribute to a beautiful woman. No wonder you're as lovely as you are, Joy?

Happy Birthday Joy's Momma!