I just received word this morning (written 9.21.13) that my mom has passed away. You may think it strange that I am writing at this moment, but writing is a way that I am able to express myself, and secondly her death does not come as a surprise. You see my mom lived to the ripe old age of 94 and was very ready to move on to her next life. I hope you won’t think it indulgent, but I would like to tell you a bit of her story and in the process honor her passion for Christian education as well as hopefully encourage your heart.
My mom loved learning – she must have done well in school as she was the valedictorian of her high school class. As a product of her times, college was not an automatic option, at least not for a rural farm girl. However, she managed to save some money and convince her parents to let her attend the closest available college to take business courses for one year. Lacking further financial and parental support, she was unable to continue her education and married my father, a farmer.
Mom continued her education on her own through reading, crossword puzzles, writing the church bulletin and writing family members on a regular basis. Having been denied a college education, she made education a priority for her children. When I dropped out of college my mom was very frustrated with my choice and I know that intensity came from her not wanting history to repeat itself.
My mom came from a family that valued public education highly; her cousin went on to become the local public school superintendent. My parents chose Christian education for their children and my mom took a lot of grief from her family for that decision. However my parents were convinced that this was the best way to fully educate their children about all of life in the ways of the Lord.
My mom backed up this decision with hours of volunteering over the course of her lifetime. One of the major fundraisers for our little local Christian school was the Hunter’s Supper. Hundreds of hunters would descend on our little farming village in November and the ladies would serve them hot mashed potatoes, ham, and home-made desserts. My mom used her excellent leadership skills for years to chair this event which required hours of preparation for an unknown number of hunters. The hunters would line up outside of the church to file into the basement for this wonderful feast of home cooked food.
I saw my parents’ sacrifice for Christian education: sometimes the milk check was small, but the church and Christian education were the first two checks written out, and we lived on whatever was left. That example has shaped my priorities about, and I am grateful to, my Mom for her passion for Christian education and learning!