A Mother in Israel

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A Mother in Israel

Copyright © May 6, 2011 Douglas W. Jerving.
All Rights Reserved.

As a child I knew nothing about Christianity except for the influence of my Mom. My father's parents were (I think), Presbyterian. I still have in my library a commentary that I got from my paternal grandfather, but it is very liberal and almost useless to me. My earliest memories are dreams of dying on a cross in Dixieland. Whatever that means!

My grandfather on Dad's side was a Sunday school teacher white collar guy. I think he was a teacher by profession. (I should ask my aunt who is a godly woman.)

My mother grew up in an agnostic home. The poetry of the Romantics Shelly, Keats and Byron were closer to them than was Scripture. I learned poetry from my grandmother, and studied art from my grandfather on my mother's side of the family.

I think my Mother learned about Christianity from my Dad's side of the family, however beguiled by liberal "orthodoxy" that may have been. The first church I remember going to was Presbyterian, and my mother took us there, and my father never went to Church that I recall. After the Presby Church, we went to a Lutheran Church that gave me a bad taste in my mouth even as a child not yet 10 years old. But that was just because of a bad Sunday school teacher.

When my parents divorced, after I was ten, we went to another Lutheran church where the pastor really loved God. He counseled and helped us much. That was the first pastor I remember by name: Pastor Kruck (spelling not sure). This guy really loved and cared for us. Coming into that church was directly my mother's doing.

Pastor Kruck's lifelong memory and influence in my life was the direct result of my mother's confidence in him. He helped us in our family's darkest hour. After my Mom went into the hospital we had a housekeeper appointed by the state who wanted to get us out of her hair. She sent me, my brother and my two sisters off on the Salvation Army bus to a church on Villard Ave.

The Salvation Army Church was where I first heard the Gospel preached and the need for repentance from sin and receiving Jesus as my Savior. I resisted the altar call. But the night that my Mother went to church with us, I could resist God no longer. I went forward, knelt at the altar and gave my life to Jesus Christ, my Lord and my God.

I was afraid of my mother's opinion of me walking the aisle, but she said nothing contrary. She was always on my side. I knew that she prayed and read the Bible early in the morning before we were awake. She supported my later efforts as a new believer. She never criticized me. I started attending the Assemblies of God church down the block. On my own, I began regular street witnessing in front of Open Pantry (the convenience store) on Villard where the kids my age stopped for soda and treats.

I was about twelve years old at that time and knew very little, but I read my Bible cover to cover probably ten times a year. I learned the old and new testaments like the back of my hand. But religiousness grew strong as well. My mother was quiet, never condemning or condoning. She was never a religious person.

When I was in junior high school, I traded my heart towards God for Esau's pottage, and fell into a worldly lifestyle, from age 14 or 15 until I was 19. Pot and drugs and girls were more a result of disillusion with the religiosity I had seen in church than with my family life. Yet my mother never criticized or condoned. I think she just quietly prayed.

From the years 15 to 19 my Mom silently stood in the gap for her oldest child. But God was working in my heart to deliver me. At one point, David Wilkerson, at a rally, actually pulled me aside and asked “Are you really serious this time?” I could not shake The Hound of Heaven who sought me “down the nights and down the days;” and pursued me “down the arches of the years;" (see the poem by that title). At nineteen, I was fully aware of the futility of a life outside of Christ.

I returned in faith to the AG church, and publicly renounced the darkness of those backslidden years. I repented with terribly hard tears, and returned with all my heart to my first love Jesus. Soon after that I met my wife of all these wonderful years (32 this month), and we received my Mother's blessing. It was the happiest I had ever seen her. My mother loved Patty as her own daughter. She went to church with us when her health allowed, and began to believe God for her healing from the many afflictions that hurt her.

She continued as an intercessor for the rest of her children for that next year before she went on to meet her Beloved and Eternal Savior and Husband in faith, Jesus. She held her first grandchild, my daughter, in her arms one week before she went on to meet the Lord. Her prayers to this day are affecting her children and their children.

My sisters both know the Lord, and will one day kneel with me in Glory. My brother is a man of faith and prayer with power before God. And I continue in the fellowship of the saints worshiping the God my mother's prayers of intercession brought us before daily.

Moses commanded Israel to recount their history annually; to remember their Patriarchs, and their place in the history that is eternal by remembering what their parents did for them in faithful selfless trust that God would save even them. We remember them as Fathers in the faith and as Mothers in Israel.

Our parents who loved God while quietly burdening their prayers for us were placed in our lives by a God Who loves us at least as much as they did. How much more does he love us compared to parents who were not so perfect a picture of His Abiding (hesed in Hebrew) Love?

On this Mother's Day, I for one, honor my Mother and my Father, and revere what things they have instilled in me. They quietly allowed me to grow into a man who seeks God's face on his own ground, and ascends Jacob's ladder to heaven because of God's personal dealings with me alone in the face of eternity. They were not afraid that they could entrust me to Him.

My parents now behold the Face of Him I long to see. His glory overwhelms the troubles that this life swoons over my shallow years on earth. Soon I will stand or prostrate myself with them before His beauty. But it is my Mom's effectual fervent and righteous prayers that have made me what I am. By me this day she is honored as a Mother in Israel.


Doug Jerving is the publisher of the NewEdisonGazette.com. You may contact him at dje@newedisongazette.com.


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