Monthly Archives: May 2013

Remembering My Mom

What’s the most special thing about your mom? Do you share a common faith in the Lord Jesus? I’d like to share with you about my mom.

My birth mother was an overwhelmed mom. She was an adopted only-child who married young (age 16) to my dad who was 21. She birthed 7 children – two girls and five boys, of which I am child number four and the youngest daughter. (That’s me and my mom in this photo – I was about 2 years old.)

When my mom and dad were first married, she knew nothing  about house-keeping, cooking, etc. Their beginning reminds me of Loretta Lynn’s story in the movie Coal Miner’s Daughter, except my mom did not learn to play the guitar and her father was a carpenter not a coal miner. She did have a good voice however, and was blessed with that exceptional gift of perfect pitch. I’m sure she was influenced musically by my Grandpa, who played the fiddle and accordion – but she didn’t pursue music after the kids came along.

Not enough time. Just keeping up with the laundry without automatic washer/dryer – washing by hand, later by wringer-washer, and hanging clothes on a clothesline to dry. Scrubbing out stains on a washboard, not having all the amazing stain removers we now have.

My mom’s beginnings are vague – she was born to a single woman whom I only knew by the name of Minnie. Her birth mom visited our home only once that I recall when I was age 12. My oldest brother attempted to trace my mom’s genealogy after her death, but he could find no birth certificate or adoption papers in our state or county birth records.

My mom was a nice person and never said a bad word about anyone, or repeated gossip. She was fair-minded: when I complained about something one of my brothers did to me, like punch me, or about mean treatment from a playmate, she would ask, “And what did you do first?” (Of course, it was never “my fault”.)

My mother did not go beyond 10th grade, but she was very intelligent and an avid reader. I remember her reading to me when I was little and helping me to follow the words on the page – I learned to read very early. She cut out paper dolls with me and had a small collection of porcelain dolls.

My mother was also a good listener. She would spend time listening to me recite passages of Scripture that I had to memorize for a Bible quiz team that I was on in high school, insisting that I get it word-for-word, by saying, “Now sunshine, (her nickname for me), that wasn’t quite accurate. Let’s try again.”

Other things I remember about my mom were her frequent headaches, a very messy house, her perfectionism (which I believe hindered her housekeeping), her nervousness over finances (there was always a struggle to make ends meet), and her sadness. I believe she suffered from periodic depression, though I didn’t comprehend that until I was grown and she was gone.

We were not a “huggy” family, but the day I left for college in Philadelphia, having seldom traveled farther than my home state of Virginia, I remember giving my mom a hug which she eagerly reciprocated. From then on it was hugs upon arriving home and hugs when leaving.

Though I often shared my faith in Christ with my mom, in my college freshman year I felt compelled to write a letter to her about her need for salvation. When she next forwarded my mail to me, she wrote a note saying, “I’m not sure how to respond to your letter.”

I prayed very hard, before going home for Thanksgiving break, for an opportunity to share with my mom regarding God’s call on her life. One day we were alone in the kitchen doing dishes together and I knew this was the moment God had prepared. I asked my mom if she had thought about my letter and she said, “A little. I don’t know what to think about it.”

I then asked her if she knew where she would go when she died. She answered, “I would hope heaven, but you can’t know that until you die.”

I then shared with her 1 John 5:11-13 which says,

“And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.  I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.”

I asked Mom if she had ever prayed to ask Jesus to come into her life and forgive her sins. She responded, “No.” I asked if I could lead her in a prayer. You could have knocked me over with a feather when she said, “Yes.”

After we prayed, my mom (who was 5’ tall) looked up at me and said with tears streaming down her face, “I feel so clean inside.” It was a very special moment in my life to bring my mom to Jesus. My mother died 1 ½ years later at age 47.

I thank God for my mom’s influence in my life, but mostly I thank God that I will see her again one day.

How about you? Will you share eternity with your mom in the presence of our Savior? If she is still alive and doesn’t know Christ, ask God to give you the opportunity and courage to lead her to saving faith in Jesus.

©2012, Marcy Alves

Dancing in the Light

lightdancer2A couple years ago a friend gifted me with a small plastic penguin with a solar panel on its stomach. When the penguin was placed in the light, it danced. A few weeks ago I noticed that even though the penguin had not been moved from its place in front of the south-facing window in my kitchen, it was no longer dancing.

I was reflecting today on the events of the past few weeks in the Boston area – the bombs that were planted at the end of the Boston Marathon route; the resulting devastation; the destruction of life and limbs. The trauma and amazement created by reports of the catastrophe on TV. Daily words of the on-going investigation; the car chase, the shoot-out; one suspect dead and the other on the run, then found hiding in a boat in someone’s back yard; the continuing revelation of a larger ring behind the bombing event.

Most of us by Tuesday after the bombing , had already stopped dancing.

Truly we are living in dark times. But, is there more wickedness now than in times past, or simply more exposure of the darkness, due to mass media and social net-working? Hasn’t the darkness been spreading since the first violation of God’s love in the Garden of Eden – Satan’s first attempt at achieving “godhead” and destroying life as the Creator intended it to be?

In such times of cultural darkness, I am reminded of a passage of Scripture found in the Gospel according to John, chapter one:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. . .  In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:1-5  EST)

In an earlier post I shared that a certain brand of tea which I prefer has pithy sayings on the teabag tags.  One of my tags recently said, “walk in the light, take in the light, reflect the light, be the light.”

Good advice. Which I believe is what these dark times call for from followers of Christ.

  • “Walk in the light”

Expose yourself to as much of the light of the Lord as you can. Get into the Scriptures. Memorize the promises of God. Study how God has always been there for His people.

Be in a place of fellowship with other believers – share problems, prayers, victories.

Keep yourself in a place of blessing from God by spending time in prayer and meditation on Scriptures; learn what they reveal about the character of God.

 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7 

  •  “Take in the light”

Let the light of God’s creation saturate your spirit; the beauty of His awesome designs in flowering plants, colorful birds, ocean waves, towering mountains, glorious sunsets, starlight and moonlight.

Find a private space where you spend time before the throne of God, allowing the light of His presence to penetrate your spirit.

Let the light drive out all darkness from your spirit, washing away stains, and dispelling shadows of fear, doubt and disappointment.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6

  • “Reflect the light”

It has been observed that a married couple who live together for many years, spending time together face to face, begin to look like each other – to reflect what they have observed in each other’s faces, whether peace and joy, or doom and gloom.

Keep looking at Jesus.  Keep your life clean by observing His life and obeying His teachings and commands, so that your face can reflect His light.

  • “Be the light”

 Jesus said:

You are the light of the world.  . . . let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.  Matt. 5:14,16

“. . . for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light  . . .” Ephesians 5:8-9

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world . . .”  Phil. 2:14-15

­­­­Back to my penguin in the window; I picked it up, intending to toss it into my recycle bin, when I noticed that the solar panel had a coat of dust on it. I wiped off the dust and placed the penguin back in the sunlight and it began dancing. It has been dancing ever since.

Sometimes the dust of our lives coats our solar panel and blocks out the “Son-light”. Sickness, disappointment, failed dreams, unanswered prayer, unfulfilled expectations, and tiredness, all leave their particles of dust on our spirit’s solar panel.

Jesus said to his followers: “You are already clean by the word that I have spoken to you.” John 15:3

If you find that you’ve stopped dancing, take the cloth of God’s Word (His promises), dust your solar panel, and believing Him, allow the light of the Lord to re-energize you. And, just like my little plastic penguin, you’ll find yourself once again “dancing in the light”.

PS I just checked on my plastic penguin, he wasn’t dancing. I dusted him off and immediately he began dancing. Keep yourself well dusted. 

©2013, Marcy Alves

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