Wednesday, August 20, 2014

We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby.....or Have We?

by Sandy Jackson

In an age where we can heat up a meal in minutes, transport ourselves across town in a flash, pop up any recipe on the internet, read countless articles at our finger tips about fostering happy marriages and raising “kids we want to keep,” why are America’s mothers and wives feeling ill-equipped to fulfill their duties in these roles. Do not be mistaken, I am thankful for the microwave that popped our popcorn last night in two minutes, our mini-van that embodies the smell of sweaty ballplayers, the ease of googling while I shop the ingredients for the chicken dish I will make for supper, and all the wonderful marital and parental advice I can read on blogs of faithful Christians. But with all the technological advances and modern conveniences women have today, why do we still fall short of getting the important things in life done. Please notice, I did not say the urgent things done. There is a difference.  

I have been reading the Autobiography of G.C. Brewer and was intrigued by one of the chapters titled “Grandpappy and Grandmammy.” The few pages of chapter ten tell of the couple, Mr and Mrs. E.G. Hall, Brewer’s parents-in-law and the events that lead to “Grandpappy” becoming a New Testament Christian. Most of the words are dedicated to describing ‘Miss Betty” aka “Grandmammy.” Her humble servitude was quite remarkable. She birthed eleven children, eight of whom grew into adulthood and seven of those outlived her. Read what the author penned as one of the joys of his mother-in-law’s life.  

The Hall home was the preacher’s home, and many of the older brethren now living, and many more of those who have passed on, enjoyed its hospitality. Better meals no preacher ever ate than those that were cooked by “Grandmammy.” With a houseful of children and without servants, she could “keep” the preacher and attend every service of a meeting. And that was before eugenics, gymnastics, athletics, and swimming had come to make our women strong and robust! (Brewer, p. 52).

G.C. Brewer wrote these words about his mother-in-law from his wife’s childhood recollections and what he himself witnessed as he lived in their home shortly after his marriage to their daughter.  

Here are some points that hit me like a brick as I read the tender words about this “spiritually robust” lady living 79 years before passing from this life in September, 1931.

1.  Leading her family toward heaven was forefront in her mind and heart all the days of her life.  

When she married E.G. Hall, he was not a New Testament Christian. Her husband was exposed to faithful preaching of God’s word as he attended the services of the church along side his wife. Soon he became aware that his preconceived ideas of the church and his salvation did not match the simple teaching of the Bible. Her determination to live a Christian life before her husband and teach him the way of the Lord eventually brought saving results described as, “Grandpappy and Grandmammy were not only one flesh, but they were of one faith” by Mr. Hall believing the truths of the Bible and obeying. (Brewer, p.51.)

Mrs. Hall is described to have loved her children immensely, caring for their every need. It was said her “whole joy in life was seeing her children well and happy and whose daily prayer was that they might be faithful in the service of the Lord. (Brewer, p. 50.) She found joy in what matters most; the same thing John talked about in III John 1:4. Just like every mother that has ever walked on this earth, she was not perfect and made many mistakes, but her concern for her family’s eternal spiritual rewards out weighed any reward they would receive at work, on the ball field, or in the classroom. 

2.  She made no excuses nor complained about the Christian service set before her.

Anyone would understand her fatigue and weariness in caring for a large household, yet she hosted many meals for preachers and other Christians in her home. She didn’t have the conveniences of ordering take-out, or popping a meal in the microwave, or even dashing quickly to the store to pick up last minute items for dinner. She served with what she had with a cheerful disposition. I can imagine her house a little dusty with children running around at foot but a home welcoming to guests when the opportunities afforded her. She taught her children the blessing in giving without a word needing to be spoken....her actions spoke for themselves. 

And just as the psalmist expressed, she experienced “joy in the presence of God.” Psalm 16:11. Brewer writes of his mother-in law recalling her journeys to church services in a wagon pulled by an ox, yet never remembered being late. As mothers, are we well prepared and enthusiastic about worshipping Jehovah every time the saints are gathered together?

3. She saw the bigger picture and made it her purpose in life. 

She did not have a “career,” in the popular acceptation of that term; she did not belong to any clubs; she never sought prominence in public affairs; she never attained either fame or fortune" (Brewer, p. 50). Today, the opportunities for advancement for women are immeasurable, yet the women who hold titles of CEO, PTO presidents and other “prestigious positions” are saying they feel unfulfilled and their families are spiraling down out of control. I’m not saying stay at home moms always have it all together with the perkiest attitudes either. God knew it best when he urged us through Matthew, an inspired writer, to place the kingdom of God and emulating Christ-like ways at the top of our to do list. He promises all of our physical needs will be taken care of. I want to trust and follow the One who has a perfect record of keeping his promises.  

Many Christian women in the 21st century are doing exactly what “Grandmammy” Hall did, living their lives for the Lord, serving their families and encouraging those around them with what state of the art resources they have been blessed with; and each of us has many! These modern day ladies may never have words penned in a biography about their faithful service, but their names are being written in the Book of Life (Revelation 20:12). I’ll admit I enjoy reading about the days gone by and do not intentionally diminish any of the hardships and struggles that people encountered that, honestly, few of us will ever experience in our lifetimes. But I do long for the determined focus that faithful Christians had even just a couple of generations ago. The fact remains that discomforts, toils, afflictions, and difficulty will encompass each generation; but at the time of our departure from this life let it be said of us,“she did what she could” to further the cause of Christ.

Brewer, G.C.  Autobiography of G.C. Brewer. Murfreesboro, Tennessee: Dehoff Publications,1957. 

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