Valuable lessons from Mum — Marian Fitz-Gibbon

Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it. — Proverbs 22:6

Perhaps you come from an era where the above verse was cited in a stern voice by your mum as you were marched off to the bathroom for an encounter with ‘Rodney’ the wooden spoon and after one whack and a loud wail you confessed your sins and promised to change your behaviour.

On becoming a mum many years later, the day came when one of our children needed discipline. I phoned my husband to get the right perspective on an incident. He was clear as a bell in principle, ‘apply the rod’ but phone your mum to ask how to apply such discipline in a Godly manner.  Crying desperately, I phoned my mum, she consoled me that the child would be unharmed, and I should proceed but end with a great big hug. After all was settled, she then reminded me of the different ways in which training up a child in a Godly lifestyle takes time, effort and creativity.  I recall some of the Godly principles she so lovingly wove into our every day.

One highly valuable lesson which stood the test of time began over a deep discussion on aspects of The Lord’s Prayer. Mum and I were making sandwiches. I was moved by the encouragement of Jesus to his disciples on prayer saying, ‘Our Father’ which suggested an inclusiveness. Mum and I discussed the possibilities of how to share the ‘bread of life’ to different tribes and tongues: just as bread is staple in every country, so too could the bread of life be shared wherever bread was served.  

We continued with the next verse, Our Father, who art in Heaven….. at that the atmosphere changed. Mum had a way about her when it got too much. She would go all quiet and adopt a very still composure. In this instance she was remembering her mother, sisters and brothers even though she knew without a shadow of a doubt they were in Heaven, it still tugged at her heart.  A good cuppa tea gave the much-needed pause before we hollered out a 60’s version of Our Father and might I add we had tear-stained cheeks!  Surprise, when the Holy Spirit touched either Mum or I the tears would run. It’s no different for me now.

Back to the power of a praying mother, Mum prayed daily for all of us that the Lord would have His way in our hearts. Her prayers were answered in His way and Heaven came down and touched all 10 of us. For some of us it was a neat and tidy story, for others it was a forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us while the world watched on. Every story of salvation is one where someone prayed, it may well have been your mum or grandmother if you were fortunate enough. Today many families don’t have the privilege of a praying parent, but they can call on the Lord to raise up someone to stand in the gap.

Mum and I had many discussions as to what we both believed. ‘Thy will be done’ over a cuppa tea and a slice of milk tart and not just sandwiches. As the years went by our discussions changed into reflections and reflections soon became glorious moments of Kingdom preparation. Mum phased in and out of this world as she prepared to meet her King of all Kings, Jesus Christ, not at her home but at ours. Mum looked forward to her daily slice of Heavenly bread till the day came when she knew that He was beckoning her home.

One day with her beautiful Irish blue eyes, as she looked deep into my soul, she said; “I want to stay here with you and the family, but the Lord is calling me home and I am going to answer His voice. It’s your turn to train up your children in the way they should go, and when they are old, they will not depart from it. Teach your children to love the Lord with all their hearts and to hear His voice .……….” We hugged and kissed knowing this was the last hug here on earth. I turned to leave the room and we looked at each other knowing we would one day be together forever.

As a mum the greatest gift I’ve given my children is not so much a fine education, reputation, wealth, or the ever-changing fashions and fads, but  introducing them to a real-life relationship with Jesus Christ in the most un-religious manner, which has taken them on an adventure of sheer delight. He has established them, loved them and blessed them and set them up to be known at the city gates and no religious dogmatist can ever hold them back.

To all the women who play a role in mothering. Have a blessed Mothers Day.

Love, Marian

Song:  Our Father – Bethel Music & Jenn Johnson. 

Album: For the sake of the world

The Lord’s Prayer: Mathew 6:9-13

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