Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "When Mothers Of Salem"1 (Lyrics)
Proverbs 22:6 – Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. (NIV 2011)
We are not a conventional family, but we are blessed by the gifts that our mother, Rose DeShaw, delivered to us as children. With not a lot of money, we received gifts that helped us to transcend the material world and connect us to our faith — gifts that we walk with to this day.
One gift was devotion to the printed word in all its forms. We were early readers, and one childhood treat involved our mother's devotion to books. Once or twice a year, we might be lucky enough to be freed from family conversation at dinner and be granted the wish of a "reading dinner". We could bring our books and tuck in. As avid library users, one of our presents on key occasions might be that our mother would pay off our library fines so that we could return to good standing. As a result, as adults, we are not just readers, but writers and tutors of the written word.
Reading was also a key component in our introduction to faith, as Mom read us Bible stories and led us every night in the recitation of the Lord's Prayer.
Mom's love of music was another way of sharing her faith with us. When we kids were little, our family was living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and that meant taking the public transit system to get anywhere. This also meant a lot of standing around and waiting. The easiest way to keep us occupied was to sing. It must have been something for commuters to hear our group, in full voice, belting out a song like "Swing low, sweet chariot!" on a Yonge Street subway platform! Mom not only taught us the words to the songs, but explained the spiritual message behind the words, so that we became connected to our faith.
The legacy that she passed down to us has carried on, as my sister Rell and I have sung in many church and community choirs. We both realized the power of music to lift us, soothe us, and create space for reflection.
Now that we are older, in a world often focused on material goods and daily struggles, we are grateful for moments to savour these gifts. My sister and I realize how blessed we are to have received these gifts from our mother, Rose. She shared her passions as our teacher and created a door to the spiritual world through print and music.
Let's think back on the gifts that God has provided us by the presence of the people in our lives, and remind them — and God — of how grateful we are!
Prayer: Dear Holy Spirit, we thank You for the gift of our mothers and for the wisdom and guidance that they have passed on to us. We ask that we might never fail to be grateful for the lessons that they have taught us and for the love that You have shown us by placing them in our lives. Amen.