Thanks, Mom!

I don’t like people telling me what to do. Ask my mom, Georgia Johnson; she’ll confirm the truth of this statement. On this Mother’s Day, I thank God for a mom who, with ordinary faithfulness, showed me a wise way to live in relationship to Him and others. I’m also grateful for His commission of motherhood.

Intercessory Prayer

God created mankind distinctly male and female (Genesis 1:27). Throughout Scripture we find roles and responsibilities connected with women. After the Fall, God told the woman that she would labor painfully but would have the privilege of bringing forth life (Genesis 3:16, 20). This is most assuredly a physical reality, but I also see a spiritual parallel.

My mother prayed fervently that I would come to know and love Jesus at an early age. She labored in prayer and played a significant role in bringing forth the spiritual life that was given to me when I believed. Even today my mother continues to bring forth life in me through her faithful prayers.

Thanks, Mom, for your labor of intercessory prayer.

Grace and Honor

The author, Jen Vogel (center), with her sister Cindy (left) and mom, Georgia (right)

In Scripture’s summary statements of the kings of Judah and Israel, the mother’s name is cited for most of the kings of Judah. Also, five mothers are mentioned in the lineage of Christ (Matthew 1).

A mother has influence on future leaders. Influence can occur through direct or indirect teaching (Proverbs 1:8, 2 Timothy 1:5).

I’ve already admitted I dislike being told what to do. Gratefully, I have a mother who influenced me greatly through a life lived with wisdom and grace. My mom has been consistently fair to those who came before, steadfastly faithful to her peers, and commendably flexible with those who came after her.

Mom does not idealize the past. She can make a fair assessment of the ministries and ministers that influenced her in the past. Her ability to look back with clarity and without bitterness brings wisdom.

Thanks, Mom, for showing me how to extend both grace and honor to those who have gone before.

Steadfast Faithfulness

Mom has demonstrated extraordinary faithfulness to her generation. She maintains friendships. She is dependable. She remains positive. When others tend to leave, criticize, or complain, Mom stays and serves.

In her 76 years of life, Mom has attended two churches: the Riverview Independent Tabernacle, the church her father founded in Pine River, Minnesota, and Dover Avenue Alliance Church in Orange City, Iowa. We all know the ups and downs that come with church life. Mom stays and serves.

Thanks, Mom, for showing me how to be steadfast, trustworthy, and dependable.

Looking Outside Ourselves

Mom’s loyalty to her generation has taught me a valuable lesson. When my husband, Doug, and I moved back to Orange City after an 18-year absence, Mom insisted that I attend the monthly Alliance Women meeting. She told me outright it wouldn’t be my cup of tea but that it would be good for me and it was the right thing to do. Classic mother-daughter moment, yes?

Mom was right. It wasn’t my cup of tea. I showed up. I listened. I prayed for missionaries. I was a good daughter. But something valuable happened through my reluctant participation. I began to embrace the heritage of this women’s ministry. I began to marvel at all God was doing throughout the world through Alliance workers. I began to understand and own the power that God releases through the prayers of His people. What began as something outside my preference has become my passion.

Thanks, Mom, for insisting I not look to my own interests but to the interests of others.

Teaching Younger Women

Mom is finishing strong. She has shown a remarkable flexibility to those who have come after her in ministry.

About five years ago, our local women’s ministry initiated something we called Biblical Friendship. Three women were assigned to each other for three months. Each triad would decide the frequency and discussion material for their time together. My mom has been a rock star in this ministry. She has hosted the most triads—one had representation from three generations. Younger women are impressed with Mom’s availability, her candor, and her wisdom.

Thanks, Mom, for embracing the opportunity to influence multiple generations of women.

Authentic and Transparent

The source of success and strength in my mom’s lifegiving influence is her commitment to stay fresh in spiritual practices.

This past Thanksgiving, during our church’s annual Prayer and Praise event, my mom came forward, spoke into the microphone, and said, “I am thankful for the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in my life.” She confessed that her devotional life had become resource-heavy and Scripture-lean. She testified that the Holy Spirit prompted her with a conviction to get back into God’s Word as her primary source of inspiration and instruction. She then proclaimed the refreshment that resulted from her renewed commitment to Scripture alone.

Thanks, Mom, for living an authentic, transparent life of faith.

On this Mother’s Day, I celebrate the lifegiving influence of women. One does not need to be a mother to live out this call. Look at the people God has placed around you, look to Him for what you need, and bring forth life.

Jen Vogel

Jen served as national director for Alliance Women from 2015-2023; she serves in a variety of ministry capacities, including on the President's Cabinet for The Alliance. She enjoys reading, travel, and completing the New York Times crossword puzzle daily. Jen and her husband, Doug, attend Dover Avenue Alliance Church in Orange City, Iowa.

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