Thank you to Cindy Roley, one of two who tied for third place in our anniversary writing contest, for helping us to see that the faithfulness of her mother is the good fruit born of God’s faithfulness to her in Jesus.
Loraine Lois Engel. Isn’t that a lovely name? And what a beautiful girl she was with a lithe build and green-hazel eyes that emanated light and life! Small wonder that my dad was smitten with her and sought her as his wife and life partner.
I was the first-born of three children into this family, the eldest and the only daughter. How blessed am I to have enjoyed this position throughout my life! I remember my mom singing to me, reading to me, coloring with me. Indeed, often in parenting my own children, my prayer has been that I might be more of the sweet and encouraging mother she was – and remains to this day. Now, those memories continue to encourage me, as I, more and more, have the blessing of helping her.
From her, I learned, not only of my value to her, but also of my value to my Lord and Savior. Whenever trials of illness or accidental injury occurred, my mama’s response was always to comfort me and encourage me with words from my heavenly Father; she read Scripture to me. I learned respect for myself and respect for others from this woman, my mother, who obviously had a special relationship with her father. I know that, not only from witnessing her grief, when he died of cancer at the age of 60, but also, from the relationship she has with her heavenly Father, to whom she has faithfully born witness to her own children and succeeding generations.
Mom has suffered many trials and much heartache, throughout the years – all born with an unwavering faith in the omniscience and omnipotence of her Triune God. Her faith in the faithfulness of her Savior never wavers. The many trials she has endured include the betrayal of friends, one of her children suffering polio, the death of loved ones, her own mother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s, knee replacements, the straying of loved ones from the faith, the stripping away of reason and sensibility in the governing of her beloved country, and the continuing struggle and heartbreak of remaining wife to a man, who no longer is able to faithfully and convincingly respond to her tireless ministrations for his health and comfort. How she grieves not only the day-to-day comfort and security of the love and support afforded her by the physical presence of her husband in their home, but especially the inability to take care of his many needs herself! What a powerful gift she lives out for all around her to see, as she travels almost daily to his place of residence to faithfully serve him, thus demonstrating his continuing value by not only caring for him, but also advocating for him. She bears witness to having respect for the life that our Lord continues to allow and faithfully fulfills her commitment to the vows she made to my dad before the Lord, over sixty-six years ago.
My mom is a servant, a nurturing wife and mother, living out her faith, which is made possible by the Holy Spirit of Jesus that lives in her. She is a blessing to all who witness her faithfulness. I think of her when I ponder Romans 5:1-5, where we read, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (ESV)
Perseverance in faithfulness to my family, my neighbor, and, most importantly, to the Triune God, in response to His abundant mercy in my life, is the most important of what I have learned from my mother. What a great gift she is to me!