By Major Beth Desplancke
It is May – the month that we celebrate Mother’s Day. I am blessed to be called mom by three amazing kids (Ryan, Emily and Sam), and I am even more blessed to be able to call two women mom: My mom, Major Glenda Berko and my mother-in-love, Cathy Desplancke. I need to say thank you to the two moms in my life, because both women have helped shape me into the woman I am today.
My mom, Glenda, instilled in me at a very young age the importance of being in God’s Word daily. As a little girl, even before I could read or truly understand the Bible, my mom made sure that God’s Word was part of our daily lives. As a young child, we always had a “Daily Bread” box on the dining room table – it was shaped like a loaf of bread, and inside where pieces of paper with different verses printed on them. Every night before we prayed for dinner, we would take the time to read one of the verses.
Besides daily verses at dinner, every night she would have devotions with each of us three kids. As a little girl, she would read to me a Bible story book, but when I started to learn to read, mom would use little booklets called “Precious Promises” to do our daily devotions before going to bed. These little booklets had a verse each day, and a short little devotional. I remember those booklets because they had Precious Moment drawings on every page.
At first my mom read to me, and then I slowly sounded out the words and eventually I read them to my mom. After I had reading under my belt, every month in the mail we would each get a copy of “Keys for Kids” a short devotional magazine with a half-page devotion each day, with Scripture, and sometimes there were fun games to do as well. Soon my mom wasn’t there to be with me for by bedtime devotions because she knew I would do them on my own.
One of the practices my mom taught me was instead of making resolutions for a New Year, choose a yearly verse, which was to be my theme for the year. In the front of one of my Bibles, I have the yearly verse I have chosen for myself since 1991 (the year I graduated high school). It is so amazing to see how God used the verse or short passage to guide and direct me through the coming year.
Psalm 119:15-16 says, “I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.” My mom not only lived these verses but taught me to do the same.
I met my mother-in law, Cathy, in 1995. From the minute I met her, I just felt like she was a friend. She was so sweet and kind. Even before I started dating her son, I felt a kinship with her. My husband is 10 years older than me, but from the time my husband was born, Cathy has been praying for the woman that he would marry. That just thrills me to think that 10 years before I was even born, my mother-in-law prayed for me. She is a faithful woman of prayer.
Besides being a prayer warrior, in all these years that I have known and loved my mother-in-law I can honestly say I have never heard her say a hurtful word about anyone. I truly believe she genuinely loves everyone.
Eleven years ago, she fought through breast cancer, and although cancer is no longer in her body, she is left with chronic pain. Despite all she has been through, she never wallows in her situation, doesn’t complain, and doesn’t seem to ever question God with, “Why me, Lord?” She smiles through and endures. Through it all, her faith remains strong and she continues to be a woman of prayer and praise.
Paul writes in Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” These words describe Cathy. Her words are always encouraging, kind and beneficial to those listening. She challenges me to be a woman with gracious words.
There are so many other women who have had impact in my life, but I want to say thanks to my two moms. Mom, thank you for teaching me to be a wise woman of the Word. Cathy, thank you for teaching me to be a wise woman with my words. I pray not only that these two grandmas will similarly impact my three kids’ lives, but that I too will influence my children for eternity.
Whether you are a mom or not, how has your mom or mother-in-law impacted your life? What other women have had an influence on you throughout your life? What women have served as spiritual mothers in your life? How are you spiritually mothering others? Whose lives can you inspire and encourage today? If there are women in your life that have made a difference, perhaps this month take the time to tell them “thank you.”