the pastor's story file
a resource file for pastors/teachers/speakers
THEME: Mother Number 19 — May / 1986
I think it was a girlish hand,
Unlined, well-tended, when it held
At first, my clinging baby hand
In gentle grasps by love impelled.
I think it was a youthful face
That bent above me as I lay Asleep, and bright the eyes that watched
My rest, in that forgotten day.
I think it was a slender form
That bore my weight on tiring arm,
And swift young feet that watched my steps To guide them from the ways of harm.
But years and cares have changed that form
And face and hand; have streaked with gray
The hair; yet is the heart as full
Of love as in that other day.
And she has her reward; not fame,
Or baubles bought in any mart,
But motherhood's brave crown, the love
And homage of her own child's heart. Submitted by Bob Vallier, Turlock, California. **
"I don't want to hear another word!" I hear my daughter scold.
"Dear me!" I think, "She's awfully strict For a playful three-year-old!"
She rolls her big eyes heavenward
And sighs with great disdain
"What am I going to do with you?"
Her dolls hear her complain.
"Sit down! Be Still! Hold out your hands!
Do you have to walk so slow? Pick up your toys! Go brush your teeth!
Eat all your carrots! Blow!"
I start to tell her how gentle
A mother ought to be When blushingly, I realize She's imitating ME! Submitted by Bob Vallier, Turlock, California. **
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THE MOTHERING EXPERIENCE My thirteen-year-old daughter is perhaps having more trouble than some teens "discovering who she is" because she is adopted from South Korea and we have no idea who her birth mother might be.
Recently Amy received braces on her teeth and she was more and more uncomfortable as the day wore on. By bedtime she was miserable. I gave her some medication and invited her to snuggle up with me for awhile. Soon she became more comfortable and drowsy. In a small voice that gradually tapered off to sleep she said, "Mom, I know who my real mom is, it is the one who takes away the hurting." I was reminded of Mark 3:33-35. I also know who my "real parent" is.
Margaret H. Cobb, pastor of the United Methodist Church of Alto, Michigan. **
Alexander the Great's Mothers "How many times do I have to tell you — you can't have everything you want in this world."
Franz Schubert's mother: "Take my advice, son. Never start anything you can't finish."
Achilles' mother: "Stop imagining things. There's nothing wrong with your heel."
Sigmund Freud's mother: "Stop pestering me! I've told you a hundred times the stork brought you!"
Boy George's mother: "Do you enjoy being different? Why can't you be like Nancy, your brother?"
Submitted by Steve Schoept, Baptist Church, Storden, Minnesota. **
TEENAGE AWARENESS First mother of a teenager: "My daughter doesn't tell me anything. I'm a nervous wreck!" Second mother of a teenager: "My daughter tells me everything, and I'm a nervous wreck!"
Submitted by Dick Underdahl-Pierce, Cottage Grove, Minnesota.
MATERNAL CONVERSIONS Spanish proverb: An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy. Submitted by Dick Underdahl-Pierce, Cottage Grove, Minnesota.
BEAUTY OF MOTHER It was mid-October, and the trees along the Blue Ridge Parkway were ablaze with color. At an overlook, we stood next to a woman who was showing the view to her elderly mother. "Isn't it wonderful of God to take something just before it dies and make it so beautiful?" the daughter commented as she gazed at some falling leaves.
"Wouldn't it be nice if he did that with people?" the mother mused. The younger woman looked at the stooped, white-haired figure beside her.
"Sometimes he does,' she answered so softly that she thought no one heard. B. G. White, Jacksonville, Florida **
** Indicates the five top winners in our contest on "Mother."
The Pastor's Story File (Copyright 1986) (ISSN 0882-3545) (USPS 738-650) is published monthly for $24.95 per year by Saratoga Press, 14200 Victor Place, Saratoga, California 95070. Second-Class Postage paid at Saratoga, California. Postmaster: Send address changes to THE PASTOR'S STORY FILE, c/o Saratoga Press, 14200 Victor Place, Saratoga, California 95070. To foreign countries — subscription rate is $30.95 in US$ or currency of equivalent value. Phone: (408) 867-4211
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RECIPE FOR MOTHERS Preheat oven . . . check for rubber balls or plastic "He-Men," which might be lurking inside. Clear counter of wooden blocks and "Key-Cars." Grease pan. Crack nuts. Measure flour . . . remove Johnny's hands from flour. Re-measure flour. Crack more nuts to replace those Johnny ate.
Sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Get broom and dustpan. Sweep up pieces of bowl Johnny knocked on floor (accidently). Find a second bowl. Answer doorbell.
Return to kitchen. Remove Johnny's hands from bowl. Wash Johnny. Answer telephone. Return. Remove one-half inch of salt from greased pan. Call for Johnny. Look for Johnny. Give up on search. Grease another pan. Answer phone.
Return to kitchen and find Johnny. Remove Johnny's hands from bowl. Remove layer of nut shells from greased pan. Sternly turn to Johnny . . . who knocks second bowl off counter while running away from you. Wash kitchen floor and counter and dishes . . . and walls. Final scene: Call bakery. Place order. Take two aspirin. Lie down.
Submitted by Steve Schoept, Sturden Baptist Church, Storden, Minnesota.
MOTHER'S HARD TASK TO LOVE Gibran, in The Prophet, expresses well the hard task of a mother to love completely and deeply and yet always with the task of letting go. "You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you, for life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. You are the books from which your children as living arrows are sent forth."
Submitted by Dick Underdahl-Pierce, Cottage Grove, Minnesota.
MOMMA The cartoon strip MOMMA has the son running up and saying, "Hi, Momma! Can you sew on this button, in a hurry? And iron these slacks? And give me a cold glass of water? Thanks, Momma. Got to run." Momma looks at him leaving and sighs, "In the 'Indy 500' of life, mothers are the pit stops."
Submitted by Dick Under dab. 1-Pierce , Cottage Grove, Minnesota.
WHILE MY MOTHER SLEEPS We were watching T.V. one night . . . Mom, Dad and myself. The story was without interest, but it served at least to gather us together in the warmth of our living room. Quietly we enjoyed one another's presence, not bothering really to say much, but just being happy together. Each was lost in his or her own thoughts, and the long day's weariness began to take hold.
On impulse, I looked towards my father and noticed him gazing lovingly at my mother. Her head was bowed in sleep and her glasses rested precariously on the tip of her nose. The years, though kind to her, still had left their mark, and her fresh beauty that I marveled at when I was a boy, now lingered on, more as a loving memory, than a living reality. She seemed so fragile to me . . . more of heaven than of earth . . . more of spirit than of substance.
Dad never took his eyes from her and I asked him what he was thinking. Slowly he turned toward me and said in a voice that only old lovers use, "Look at your mother, son. Isn't she beautiful? Really beautiful!" "Yes, Dad," I answered. "You're right, she is really beautiful!" At that moment I felt like an intruder. What right had I to share this moment of profound intimacy between this man and the only woman in his life? The look of love, tinged with just a trace of sadness, that he directed towards her, mirrored years of living together ... of whispers and shouts ... of certainty and doubts . . . all mingling and becoming one in the crucible we call love. She would always be beautiful to him because now, through the prism of the years, he could see only her soul, and a lover's soul, as everyone knows, never grows old . . . only more beautiful.
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After a few moments, he rose from his chair, lowered the T.V. , hugged me warmly, and then went over to his wife. He touched her cheek ever so gently and tenderly kissed her goodnight. At that moment, I became overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude towards God, who chose me to be born of such a love. And I am certain, when the time comes to present his bride, and my mother, to God on Judgment Day, my father's words will be: "Here is my wife, dear God. Isn't she beautiful . . . really beautiful?" And of course, God will agree.
By Richard Delisle, suubmitted by Robert Campbell, Our Lady of the Cape,
FAVORITE CHILD Every mother has a favorite child. She cannot help it. She is only human. I have mine, the child for whom I feel a special closeness, with whom I share a love that no one else could possibly understand.
My favorite child is the one who was too sick to eat ice cream at his birthday party . . . who had measles at Christmas . . . who wore leg braces to bed because he toed in. Who had a fever in the middle of the night, the asthma attack, the child in my arms at the emergency ward.
My favorite child spent Christmas alone away from the family, was stranded after the game with a gas tank on E, lost the money for his class ring.
My favorite child is the one who messed up the piano recital, misspelled "committee" in a spelling bee, ran the wrong way with the football and had his bike stolen because he was careless.
My favorite child is the one I punished for lying, grounded for insensitivity to other people's feelings, and informed he was a royal pain to the entire family.
My favorite child slammed doors in frustration, cried when she didn't think I saw her, withdrew and said she could not talk tc me.
My favorite child always needed a haircut, had hair that wouldn't curl, had no date for Saturday night and a car that cost $600 to fix. My favorite child was selfish, immature, bad-tempered and self-centered. He was vulnerable, lonely, unsure of what he was doing in this world — and quite wonderful.
All mothers have their favorite child. It is always the same one: the one who needs you at the moment. Who needs you for whatever reason — to cling to, to shout at, to hurt, to hug, to flatter, to reverse charges to, to unload on — but mostly just to be there.
Erma Bornbeck, Field Newspaper Syndicate, Irvine, California, submitted by Janet
Macgregor, Irvington, New Jersey.
"Because she understood me better far Than I myself could understand; Because her faith in me, like a guiding star, Steadied my feet, and strengthened heart and hand. Because her cheer and tender sympathy Were strewn along the stony path she trod; Because of her underlying love for me, I better comprehend the love of God." Author unknown, submitted by Dick Underdahl-Pierce, Cottage Grove, Minnesota.
WHAT DO YOU DO? Too many times women are made to feel that they should apologize for being mothers and housewives. In reality, such roles can be noble callings. When I was on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, there were gatherings from time
The Pastor's Story File / May, 1986 "Mother" Page 5 /19.5
to time to which faculty members brought their spouses. Inevitably, some woman lawyer or sociologist would confront my wife with the question, "And what is it that you do, my dear?" My wife who is one of the most brilliantly articulate individuals I know, had a great response: "I am socializing two homo sapiens in the dominant values of the Judeo-Christian tradition in order that they might be instruments for the transformation of the social order into the teleologically prescribed Utopia inherent in the eschaton," When she followed that with, "And what is it that you do?" the other person's "A lawyer," just wasn't that overpowering.
From The Power Delusion by Anthony Campolo, pp. 30-31 (Victor Books). Submitted by John Bristol, First Presbyterian Church of Milpitas, California.
INFLUENCE A generous giver was asked how it happened that he gave so much to missions. He said, "It did not just happen. I had a missionary mother." By Haggard, submitted by John Bristol.
THE BEST Every night when the mother tucked her daughter in bed, the little girl said, "Mommy, your hair is beautiful. I love your hair. Mommy, your eyes are beautiful. I love your hair. Mommy, your eyes are beautiful, I love your eyes. Mommy, your face is beautiful. I love your face. But Mommy, your arms are ugly. I cannot love your arms.
One night when the mother was tucking in the little girl, she told her daughter that once when the daughter had been a tiny baby, there had been a fire and the mother had reached through the flames to lift and deliver the little girl to safety.
The little girl was quiet for a minute. Then she said, "Mommy, your hair is beautiful. I love it. Mommy, your eyes and your face are beautiful. I love them. But Mommy, your arms are the most beautiful of them all and I love them the best."
Submitted by Deanna Brown, Pastor of Skyridge Church of the Brethren, Kalamazoo,
NOTES TO MOTHER
Dear Mother: I am going to make dinner for you for Mother's Day. It's going to be a surprise. Your daughter, Angie H., 8, Seattle. P.S. I hope you like pizza and popcorn.
Dear Mom: I got you a turtle for Mother's Day. I hope you like the turtle I got you this year for Mother's Day better than the snake I got you for Mother's Day last year. Your son, Robert H., 8, Portland, Maine
Dear Mother: I wish Mother's Day wasn't always on Sunday. It would be better if it was on Monday so we wouldn't have to go to school. Love, Aileen W. 9, Baltimore,
Dear Mother: I hope you like the flowers I got you for Mother's Day. I picked them myself when Mr. Smith wasn't looking. Your daughter, Diane P. 8, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Dear Mom: Arthur and I promise not to fight all day for Mother's Day. Your son, Billy G., 9, Dallas, Texas.
Dear Mother: Here is the box of candy I bought you for Mother's Day. It is very good candy because I already ate three of the pieces. Love, Marcy C., 8, Washington.
Dear Mother: Here are two aspirins. Have a happy Mother's Day. Love Carole H., 8, Los Angeles, California.
From Quote magazine, compiled by Bill Adler, submitted by Tim Purcell,
Strathavon Wesleyan Church, Rapid City, South Dakota.
The Pastor's Story File / May, 1986 "Mother" Page 6 /19.6
THE SOUNDS OF MOTHER'S DAY On Mother's Day all over the country, grateful moms are pushed back into their pillows, the flower on their bird-of-paradise plant (which blooms every other year for 15 minutes) is snipped and put in a shot glass, and a strange assortment of food comes out of a kitchen destined to take the sight from a good eye.
A mixer whirs, out of control, then stops abruptly as a voice cries, "I'm telling." A dog barks and another voice says, "Get his paws out of there. Mom has to eat that!"
Minutes pass and finally, "Dad! Where's the chili sauce?" Then, "Don't you dare bleed on Mom's breakfast!"
The rest is a blur of banging doors, running x^ater, rapid footsteps and a high pitched, "YOU started the fire! YOU put it out!"
The breakfast is fairly standard: a water tumbler of juice, five pieces of black bacon that snap in half when you breathe on them, a mound of eggs that would feed a Marine division, and four pieces of cold toast.
The kids line up by the bed to watch you eat and from time to time ask why you're not drinking your Kool-Aid or touching the cantaloupe with black olives on top spelling M-O-M.
Later in the day, after you have decided it's easier to move to a new house than clean the kitchen, you return to your bed where, if you're wise, you'll reflect on this day. For the first time, your children have given instead of received. They have offered up to you the sincerest form of flattery: trying to emulate what you do for them. And they have presented you with the greatest gift people can give: themselves.
There will be other Mother's Days and other gifts that will astound and amaze you. But not one of them will ever measure up to the sound of your children in the kitchen on Mother's Day whispering, "Don't you dare bleed on Mom's breakfast!"
Condensed from Motherhood: The Second Oldest Profession. Submitted by Rich
Hardison, Tabernacle Church of Norfolk, Virginia.
NOT TOO FAR FROM WRONG It was a Rally Day program at the church and a little girl was to recite the Scripture which she had memorized for the occasion. When she got in front of the crowd, the sight of hundreds of eyes peering at her, caused her to forget her memory work.
Every line that she had so carefully rehearsed faded from her mind and she stood there unable to utter a single word. In the front row, her mother was almost as frantic as the little girl. The mother gestured, moved her lips, trying to form the words for the girl, but it did no good.
Finally, the mother, in desperation, whispered the opening phrase of the memorized Scripture: "I am the light of the world."
Immediately the child's face lit up and relaxed and a smile appeared on it as she said with supreme confidence: "My mother is the light of the world!"
Of course, everybody smiled and some laughed out loud. Then they soberly reflected that the girl, in some ways, was not far from wrong. For the mother 2_s_ the light of the child's world.
Submitted by Arnold Nelson, First Presbyterian Church, Salinas, California.
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POWERFUL EVIDENCE UNREFUTED When Robert Ingersoll, the notorious skeptic, was in his heyday, two college students went to hear him lecture. As they walked down the street after the lecture, one said to the other, "Well, I guess he knocked the props out from under Christianity, didn't he?"
The other said, "No, I don't think he did. Ingersoll did not explain ray mother's life, and until he can explain my mother's life I will stand by my mother's God."
• • •
Someone has said: "The world has enough women who know how to hold their cocktails, who have lost all their illusions and their faith. The world has enough women who know how to be smart. It needs women who are willing to be simple. The world has enough women who know how to be brilliant. It needs some who will be brave. We need women, and men too, who would rather be morally right than socially correct. The twentieth century challenge to motherhood . . . when it is all boiled down ... is that mothers will have an experience with God ... a reality which they can pass on to their children."
From The Lutheran Journal, Vol. 51:#1, submitted by Norman Porath, Garland,
MOTHER KNOWS A small boy sat with his mother in church, listening to a sermon titled, "What is a Christian?" The minister punctuated his talk at several key intervals by asking, "What is a Christian?" Each time, he pounded his fist on the pulpit for emphasis.
At one point, the lad whispered to his mother, "Momma, do you know? Do you know what a Christian is?"
"Yes, dear," the mother replied, "Now try to sit still and listen."
As the minister was wrapping up the sermon, once again he thundered, "What is a Christian?" and pounded especially hard on the pulpit. At that, the boy jumped up and cried, "Tell him, Momma, tell him!"
From Wright's Secrets of Successful Humor, submitted by Don Cheadle, Blatchly,
THE QUESTIONS MOTHERS DEAL WITH Our little girl was fascinated by the pictures of dinosaurs in the encyclopedia. Her little mind just couldn't comprehend how the scientists were able to put all of those bones together to show us what the skeletons of these huge creatures were like. After looking at these for some time, she turned to me and said, "Mom, when we die, are they going to take all of our bones out of us, too?"
Submitted by Naomi Breedlove, Belle, West Virginia.
THE DOMINATION OF LOVE It was early morning before breakfast when a youngster walks onto a newly cleaned floor with muddy feet, hands behind his back. Just as mother, who stayed up last night to clean was about to get angry the boy brings his hands from behind his back with a bunch of wildflowers he just picked, saying "It's your birthday, Mommy, Happy Birthday!"
Now, how many mothers would say "What's the big idea tracking dirt onto my clean floor!" Not many. It would be more like "Thank you for remembering that, sweetheart," and then CARRY him out of the room! That's what perfect love is all about. God isn't looking down saying "Ah-ha, a bit of mud on the shoe there I see!" No, God's love dominates us — sure we make mistakes, but does it really matter, if we're dominated by the love of God?
Told by Dr. Donald English, British Methodist Pastor and scholar. Submitted by Larry Kilbourn, Trinity U. Methodist Church, Bradenton, Florida.
The Pastor's Story File / May, 1986 "Mother" Page 8 /19.8
LEGACY When the will of Henry J. Heinz, wealthy distributor of the famous "57 Varieties" line, was read, it was found to contain the following confession:
Looking forward to the time when my earthly career will end, I desire to set forth at the very beginning of this will, as the most important item in it, a confession of my faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I also desire to bear witness to the fact that throughout my life, in which there were unusual joys and sorrows, I have been wonderfully sustained by my faith in God through Jesus Christ. This legacy was left me by my consecrated mother, a woman of strong faith, and to it I attribute any success I have attained."
From Paul Tan's Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations, submitted by Mario DeLa
Garza, Placentia, California.
THANKS FOR THE HELP Friends of a young mother, who had just given birth to her third child, were surprised when they received the following 'Thank you' note: "Many thanks for the play pen. It is being used every day. From 2-3 p.m. I get in to read and the children can't get near me."
Submitted by Bart Conner, Church of Christ Our King, Mt. Pleasant, South
Summing It Up ... On Mother's Day a minister gave this perfect tribute: "My mother practices what I preach."
From Capper's Weekly, submitted by Mario De La Garza, Placentia, California.
The Way It Is ... I called my Mom on Mother's Day. I just loved the excitement in her voice as she accepted the charges.
Nothing But Winners, Williams and Hussar (Trimark, Wilmington, DE).
Grown Up Now ... I finally found a Mother's Day card that expressed my feelings for my mother in real terms. It said, "Now that we have a mature, adult relationship, there's something I'd like to tell you. You're still the first person I think of when I fall down and go boom!"
Nothing But Winners, Williams and Hussar.