Monday, May 7, 2007

Answering the Call of Proverbs 31: Learning from Our Mothers

“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” –
-Proverbs 31:28

Once upon a time, motherhood was a desired profession. Little girls considered motherhood to be their calling, and even lived and prepared toward that end. In the wake of feminism, and now living in post-feminist America, motherhood is seen to be repulsive, and much to our shame—subhuman.

It seems a little ironic, doesn’t it, that we have an entire day devoted to the very thing that is seen to be so belittling to our own gender? I am convinced that one of the primary ways we can lift high the beauty of biblical womanhood is to praise our mothers, and learn from their strengths, and weaknesses.

So, all this week, in honor of Mother’s Day on Sunday, I am going to devote my posts to my mom, and end the week by lifting high the glory of biblical mothering in a post-modern, feminist culture.

My mom, Deb Tarter, was born to Richard and Joan Garrett on July 23, 1955 in Algonac, Michigan. For those inquiring minds out there, Algonac is located at the bottom of the thumb (because Michigan is shaped like a glove, that’s how I was taught it at least). She became a Christian at a young age, as a result of hearing the Gospel, having grown up in a Christian home and church. After a brief stint at Detroit Bible College, she went on to Liberty Baptist College (now Liberty University), where she met my dad. They were married in August of 1980.

For my mom, there was never anything that she desired more than motherhood. Though she never completed her college education, you would never hear her complain. Her greatest joy has been raising four children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, and it is evidenced by her continued self-sacrifice even with most of her children out of the house. In a culture that encouraged a mass-exodus from the home, my mom spent her summers swimming at the YWCA and going to the library, all the while singing the Beach Boys and Jackson 5 in a mini-van with her children. To this day, every time I hear "Help Me Rhonda" and "I Want You Back" I am brought back to the fun of my childhood.

Now, don’t think that just because she didn’t finish college that she is somehow illiterate. That is hardly the case with my mom. Reading characterizes her life, and now mine because of her influence on me. And not just any reading, she reads anything from the Puritans, to Tozer, to David Wells, to John Piper. Her love for her Savior is shown in her consistent feeding of her own soul through reading.

She took her role as a mother very seriously, and for as long as I can remember, we were always going to the library on Fridays. Micah went to story time, Zach checked out sports books, Jeremy checked out Charlotte’s Web (every week), and I loaded up on as many books as possible. To this very day, my love for reading is a result of her first teaching me to read, and then teaching me to read about my Savior.

There is much to be said about my mom. I have been so shaped by her leading, teaching, and unconditional, tough love of me (through the many times I did not deserve it). She did not adapt to the cultural norms of raising children. And from the beginning of their marriage until now, my parents resolved to live according to the Scriptures no matter what the evangelical culture was adhering to. Through many storms, this philosophy has shaped an entire family to desire Christ above all things.

To be continued…

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