What better way to celebrate Mother’s Day on The Bridge than to feature 8 special women who are examples through every phase of womanhood as a Christian. Their honest, insightful, and collective words of wisdom are meaningful. Their sound advice is worth remembering, and their stories worth sharing.
They encourage us to rise above insecurities and stand up for what is right and good.
Thank you, Sister Jean, Sister Sadie, Sister Virginia, Sister Gill, Sister Marie, Sister Joan, Sister Alice, and Sister Mary for making this life the wonderful journey it is and for reminding the sisters who are following behind you–what’s really important.
MOTHERS AND GRANDMOTHERS
To all the mothers and grandmothers, Happy Mother’s Day! We hope your day is filled with things that bring you joy.
This day is worthy of full out celebration for so many reasons. For those who have been blessed with incredible moms and grandmas, you know what I mean.
How in the world do you thank the woman who brought you into this world, taught you, mothered you, and raised you to be a Christian and decent human being—in just words on a page? Mothers and grandmothers are amazing and we love and owe them so much. The best words fall short.
They deny themselves pleasure to make sure their children have good lives and that everyone else is happy and has what they need. I can never appreciate my mom enough. I know others feel the same way.
BEHIND-THE-SCENES CHARACTER SHAPING
Your mom’s voice—that familiar sound full of warmth and worry. No one can give you a true reality check and knock some sense into you like your mom. Or tell you you’re being ridiculous and pull it together.
Few will ever influence so richly and impress on us to never forget where we came from and how we got here. No matter where they are, a mother’s influence will be with us forever.
It takes a lot to be a woman and even more to be a woman of God.
Time marches on and growing older is beyond our control, but these beautiful women, whose energy and appearances defy the aging process, are each giving us something unforgettable that we can add to our lives to help us run the race.
Maybe it’s true that with wrinkles come wisdom, but let me tell you… there isn’t one wrinkle in their laughter, sense of humor, or heart for others.
Fewer things are more attractive than confidence, and these ladies have it in full bloom. Not the conceited kind, but from relying on God throughout their lives and knowing He will never leave them.
If you can’t see the loveliness and beauty on their faces that comes from living purely, walking in faith, serving cheerfully, laughing freely, and knowing who you are—then you need glasses, or maybe stronger ones.
HONORING MY MOTHER
I grew up having a mother who lived the way a Christian woman should live and she always (always, always) handled herself with such grace.
I’ve heard if we live long enough, we start to look and become those who’ve gone on before us. We become our grandmothers and mothers. For me, that means I hit the jackpot. By the way, this cross-over phenomenon sneaks in around the forties.
We naturally inherit physical characteristics, but we should be grateful heirs for the positive attitude, creativity, and sense of doing the right thing (and whatever qualities we have) that were given to us just for being born to our parents.
WORTH EVERY PENNY
I will never forget the trips I took with my mom. It takes extra effort and planning to get away together, but it’s well worth it. The pictures and memories I have of our times together are irreplaceable. Whether we went shopping in Wilmington or somewhere for a few days—they are highlights of my life.
I won’t be able to repay her for everything she’s taught me and how she raised me. The only thing I can do is to try to be the person she raised me to be.
NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT
As our parents get older, we get older, and our kids grow (in the blink of an eye), we do the math and realize we should be savoring our days, minutes, and seconds. There’s nothing we can do to slow down or stop the steady sound, ticktock.
If we’re going to serve God, do the work He called us to do, live our life to the fullest, and love each other, we need to start now, today. Not tomorrow. Not later.
Life is unpredictable. We don’t know when it ends or how long it will last.
We have our “special” things that other family members better not touch, use, or mess up. We’re saving them—you know, for a more important time.
Use the nice towels, burn the candles, lay on the fancy throw pillows, use the nice silverware—don’t save them for a special occasion.
Today is special.
FLOWERS FOR GRANDMA
I remember being in the back seat of my mom’s car and hearing Grandma comment on pretty flowers in a yard we passed. She did this frequently, but today her tone was a little different, as if it were the first time she ever noticed them. I barely looked out the window. We drove by that house so many times. What was so special today?
It didn’t dawn on me that she was in the second half of life that cruelly reminds us time is limited. When we realize all the pressing matters of work and keeping up material things have less urgency, our focus shifts to people and appreciating what God made. When it’s all said and done, that’s what matters. She left so much of herself with me and my family. I miss her every day.
THE 3:00 A.M. WORRIES
If you’re a woman, you’ve probably experienced waking up in the middle of the night so that you can lie in the dark and worry. It’s usually about the same handful of things, aaand… in case that isn’t enough, you throw in some what if scenarios of everything that could possibly go wrong. Sometimes they’re awful fears, but after agonizing you realize you should have been praying. My mom always told me if I woke at night worrying to start praying. After talking to the Lord, a calm wave of sleep passes over and fears evaporate.
HONORING THE MOTHER OF OUR ASSEMBLY
Sister Jean is the spiritual mother of our assembly. So many have been touched by her.
I’ve watched her make sacrifice after sacrifice on top of the normal demands of life that all women have—all while standing strong and true by her husband, our Apostle, and working faithfully to help the people of God anytime and any hour they needed her.
A part of almost every day growing up, I saw her patient spirit and heard her compassionate and encouraging voice talking on the phone to saints who were going through situations or just needed advice. She stopped whatever she was doing to be there for everyone and did her best to help them in any way she could. There weren’t mobile phones then–she couldn’t multi-task as we all do today while talking on the phone, or send a text when it was more convenient. There was a cord that kept her in that one spot for as long as it took.
From her I learned when you give, give with a pure heart. Just give.
NOT ROCKET SCIENCE
Life can get hard. Our tomorrows don’t always deliver what we planned or hoped they would. We get disappointed and discouraged. But today, we get to meet women who are telling every generation of us that giving up is not an answer.
Lasting and enduring might look like the trickiest codes to crack, but maybe the key is as simple as… some days, you just put one foot in front of the other. That’s it. You keep going.
These eight women have truly been mentors—loving and supportive to so many.
Sister Hannah, Sister Tiffany, and I had the honor and privilege of gathering their writings, doing the photo shoot (they had us laughing the whole time–we had so much fun), and putting it all here for you.
Warning: These ladies have just as much charm as they do wisdom.
THE ONE WHO NEVER LETS YOU DOWN
If you know them, you won’t be surprised that they mention how important God is in all they do.
They have seen a lot of change—some good, and some not so good. They’ve probably watched every fashion trend come into style, go out of style, and come back. Life is going to change. There’s nothing we can do about that. We do have a choice in how much we change with it.
Next time we want to crawl into a hole and hide, remember women before us who were strong and determined because they counted on the Lord to be their helper. It takes courage and faith to hang in there and wait to see what the next day brings, and the next, and the next.
Above all else, God is there helping them, and He will us.
With God first, a little tenacity, and a lot of hard work, we can follow in their footsteps and become women laborers for God and better daughters, wives, mothers, and sisters.
DON’T LET THESE LESSONS PASS YOU BY
It’s a chance to get our priorities straight and ignore distractions pushed on us by T.V. and social media where it appears that everyone is more successful and more beautiful with perfect families, perfect lives, and fabulous careers. It’s a trap.
Real life is humbling. You’re on top of the world, but then it turns and someone else gets a turn. Our lives are far from perfect, especially by the world’s standards, and we need God’s mercy every single day.
Listen to women of God. Remember these pearls of wisdom and stay the course.
It’s advice that we’d all be better for observing.
1) SISTER JEAN LAFLEUR
My parents loved their three children–me, my sister, Helen, and my brother, Donnie. The things they taught us have made me who I am today.
- Work is honorable (also required!).
- Take time every day to laugh, have fun, and enjoy each other.
- Respect your elders and never call them by their first name.
- Respect all races of people.
- Apologize when you’ve hurt someone.
- Be honest. Do not take anything from anyone that is not yours.
- Live within your means–don’t buy something you can’t afford. Save for emergencies.
- Respect God and anything sacred.
These are just a few of the values my parents instilled in me, and I instilled them in our children.
My husband always wanted me to stay at home and raise our children. I am so thankful for him loving us and supporting us, even in bad health through the years. My desire was to be a homemaker and take care of my husband, children, and family and give them a happy and peaceful place to come home to. God allowed me to do that.
I wish I could have done some things better, but God was always with us and there to see us through no matter what came our way.
Raise your children right as God’s Word teaches us to do. I’ve learned that sometimes after we pray and pray, it’s time to turn everything over to God and let Him work. We never want to see our children suffer, and we can’t always fix things, but we know that God, in His great love for us, can heal broken lives and fix everything–and He has done that time and time again!
My childhood wasn’t perfect and neither was our children’s perfect, but we sure had enough good times and memories to store away and enjoy for the rest of our lives together.
My advice to mothers raising children is to relax and enjoy the trip. It’s over way too soon.
I know the weight of jobs, homework, activities, and balancing it all is never ending. You have to carve out some “me” time and recharge your own batteries every chance you get. Teach your children the ways of the Lord and encourage them daily in their walk with God. Show them how much they need Him in every aspect of their lives.
As a proud grandmother of six wonderful grandchildren, I get to stand back and watch as my children parent their children. I can appreciate their struggles to raise their children right, love them when they make mistakes, and be there to help them get back on the right track.
2) SISTER SADIE
I have trust in God knowing that God can handle any situation you may face in this world today.
Respect yourself and others also.
3) SISTER VIRGINIA
As I look back over my life, I am struck by a deep sense of thanksgiving. I have never known a time in which I didn’t long to know the Lord, going back to my earliest memories.
From the loving Christian home I grew up in, the Lord laid the foundation of faith on which my husband and I built our marriage and raised our children.
It was not always easy, but always worth it.
The most important important lesson I learned as a wife was not only to love my husband, but also to respect him as well. At every important decision, we learned to stop and pray for guidance.
The Lord richly blessed our 66 years together.
4) SISTER MARIE
My advise to anyone is to come and see how God can bless you and your family.
The best day of my life was when I came to the Body of Christ. I have been through a lot in my life. In our Church, we have an understanding ministry. Our apostle has also gone through a lot in his lifetime, yet he has never let his health hold him back.
We have a wonderful family here. I am very blessed. I’m thankful that my son is a minister who loves God’s Word and His people. He works closely with our apostle.
I am a widow. Under this ministry, my husband was able to move out a live soul to be with the Lord seven years ago, and I hope to move out a live soul also. I have been under this ministry for 41 years and I am still working on my life.
I find out every day more things that I need to overcome. My advice to anyone is come and see what God can do.
5) SISTER ALICE
To keep things running smoothly, I always had a schedule. This helped ensure a good dinner was served to my sons.
A clean home is an important necessity, even if that meant I helped them clean their rooms.
I made sure to teach manners, because you will need them throughout life.
I tried to set a good example in serving the Lord by attending church and working for God, so that my actions matched my words.
6) SISTER MARY
The number one thing I am so glad I did was to move back to North Carolina to be with the people of God.
Don’t forget where the Lord brought you from.
Always make sure you tell your family that you love them.
7) SISTER JOAN
I would have wanted to leave a better legacy. Praise the Lord our children love God. Not that we were good parents, but God is good and faithful to give us blessings through our children.
Dee said she learned from me to do a task, “just do it”. My father always told me to, “Finish what you start.” Sounds similar?
I would want to live to show Christ is real and a daily personal and careful relationship with Him is vital for here and in eternity.
Prayer, as conversation with God, should be as natural as talking to one another. It should include praise and thankfulness as well as needs, requests, and humble acknowledging of need for forgiveness and understanding of self.
I would want to demonstrate He is truly Lord of my life, and that all He has graciously given and entrusted as things only on loan.
The Bible, as His Word is true and can be depended upon for guidance and correction. I study it as the “living word” applied to me personally and my circumstances.
The way to live is close to Him following His plan for me as an individual and having these qualities:
- Purity=thoughts clean of bitterness
- Honesty=upright, straightforward, with no hidden agenda
- Love=toward God, having a thankful heart
- Faith=looking on the positive that God gives
- Faithfulness=accountable, keeping promises
- Charity=goodness toward others, concern for their needs
8) SISTER GILL
Sister Gill is a woman of God who is dear to us all and has touched our lives more times than she even knows.
Her life has been dedicated to serving the Lord and His people. If you’ve met her children, you see love that comes from having a wonderful mother. She always has a hug, a smile, and encouragement if you need it. She’s a true example for mothers and wives of being a Christian woman and keeping the faith. We love her to the moon!
We love and appreciate you all for being remarkable Christian women and showing the rest of us there is no better life than serving Christ.
GOD BLESS YOU!!