Inspired by Mom
By Anina Swan
My mother was raised on a farm with 5 brothers and 10 sisters. One day she and I reminisced about what it was like for her to grow up in such a large family. She described her favorite memories were the mornings she got up early with her mother to bake bread, cake, and prepare soup for her brothers and Dad, who were out tending to the farm while her sisters collected eggs, churned butter and milked the cows. Mom recalled how she pushed a stool up to the counter in order to reach. Her mother had already placed the bowls, utensils, and ingredients needed to bake whatever they were making that day on the counter. Her mother stood nearby and instructed Mom on how much of what ingredient to use and when to pour, stir, whisk, or whip. Mom laughed and said to me, “And I’m still baking and cooking today.”
Mom is in her 80’s now and is known as the best cake-maker and bread-baker in the Sierra Nevadas and she shares it with others by baking and cooking for people God puts in her path. She bakes cinnamon wreaths at Christmas, soup when someone in the community is sick, and on birthdays she bakes whatever is requested. Sometimes its Texas Sheet Cake, other times Coconut Cake or Orange Cream Cheese Rolls.
One morning I was home sick when Mom came to visit. She said, “I can make chicken noodle soup for you.” As she spoke, I noticed she looked extra tired and one side of her face drooped. I ask her if she was feeling okay. She said, “Yes, but hadn’t slept all night.” By the end of that day I learned Mom suffered a stroke. Even though the doctors diagnosed it as mild, it left typical wounds to the brain: memory loss, mobility loss, and fatigue. Mom didn’t let the stroke slow her down. She still bakes for people in our community and this year on my birthday she made chocolate chip cookies. Her baking ministry inspires me to use my gifts to minister to others and not give up when I’m challenged. Although I’ve been called to minister through writing rather than baking, we both serve the same God, Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior.
Mother’s Day is here and it reminds me to think about my mother and how grateful I am to have a Mom who taught me to cook, modeled for me her perseverance, laughed a lot, and introduced me to Jesus. However, not all of us were raised with a wonderful mother. Some of you may have been raised by a step mother or Dad’s girlfriend. Other’s by grandma, sister, or aunt, and some with no mother at all. Many mother-figures are inspirational models and some—not. How then, can you be inspired as women if you weren’t raised by a wonderful mother?
In the book of Jeremiah you will read about how God inspired and equipped a man who wasn’t prepared for the call God had for him. It describes how God inspires Jeremiah as he interacts and instructs him. As I read this, a visual formed in my mind’s eye of my grandmother helping my mom in the kitchen when she was a little girl. Grandma didn’t say, “Here’s the stuff, now figure it out.” She prepared and guided Mom. God does the same for each of us. He prepares and guides us for His purpose and plan for our lives.
- First God calls with omniscient authority and gives us a task to live out that reveals his Glory as author of life. Jeremiah’s call was to prophecy. In Jeremiah 1:4, God says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you…” We are invited to respond to God’s call. Jeremiah’s response reveals that he is insecure and feels unequipped to move forward. Chapter 1:6, says, “Alas, Lord God! I do not know how to speak because I am just a youth.”
- God then assures us as he did in Jeremiah 1:7-8, The Lord said, “Do not say, ‘I am a youth.’ because everywhere I send you, you shall go and all that I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid for I will deliver you.” Declares the Lord.
- Then God equips and prepares us. Verse 9 reads, The Lord stretched out his hand and touched Jeremiah’s mouth and the Lord said, behold, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have appointed you this day…”
- Then God stands by us, interacts with us and guides us. Verses 11-19 describes God and Jeremiah talking within the context of Jeremiah’s being a Biblical prophet. “What do you see Jeremiah?” Jeremiah responds to God and God responds pleased, stating that God is watching over His word to perform it through Jeremiah’s obedient actions.
- Then God encourages with great care and passion. Verse 17, “Get ready! Stand up and say whatever I command you. Do not be terrified…I am with you…”
Mother’s day is a reminder that each of us is born on this earth with different family circumstances that bring unique challenges. But according to scripture our personal circumstances do NOT have to discourage us or limit us from the call on our lives God inspires us to pursue. Scripture says God will inspire us, provide and prepare us, to all those who believe and walk in faith. God inspires one on one and through others. We don’t have to live life to fend for ourselves alone. As a result, we will experience the love of God who has a clear and good purpose for each of us. When He calls us, He inspires us and stands alongside us, interact with us, and encourages us as His purpose is fulfilled through us, for his glory.