"Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children." Titus 2:3-4 (NIV)
Mothers-in-law are often the source of unflattering jokes. But my mother-in-law, Catherine, was the furthest thing from a punch line.
Catherine was a spiritual giant wrapped up in a tiny 4-foot-10-inch bundle of sunshine. Down-to-earth, kind, and unpretentious. She modeled the woman we are urged to be in Titus 2.
When you entered her home you were greeted with warm hugs and the aroma of her latest creation wafting from her tiny kitchen. She was one of the best cooks I ever met. Preparing food never seemed arduous or tedious for Catherine.
She took great pleasure in feeding her family, spending days preparing a sumptuous dinner just to have it consumed in moments. Empty plates and platters were her delight. Sending home leftovers were her bliss. Before the meal we all would bow our heads to hear her words of blessing and gratitude.
Catherine's spiritual life was a lot like those meals. It was satisfying and full of nourishment. She poured the Word of God into our lives as easily as she filled our glasses with sweet tea.
Toward the end of her life, she broke her wrist and needed personal care. It was my privilege to assist her with bathing and dressing each morning. After I feed her breakfast, I'd sit on the floor at her feet while she fed me from Scripture. My mother-in-law recited her favorite verses from memory and read to me from her daily devotion book. Her prayers were like honey, sweet with remembrances of God's goodness and faithfulness to her. Those prayers were infused with gratitude for His enduring strength and perfumed with her love for Jesus.
The angels surely paused long enough to add an amen!
I used to wonder how she managed to turn out delectable meals from her small kitchen and how she became a professional at serving up God's Word to her family.
She told me, "Honey, it all begins on your knees. If you spend enough time with my Jesus, He will teach you everything you need to know about feeding your family."
Not long after Catherine went to be with Jesus, I found this "recipe for life" in her belongings.
Begin with a case of Joy
Add a heaping spoonful of Gratitude
Fold in a large dollop of Kindness
Stir in a handful of Forgiveness
Sprinkle liberally with Love and cover with Peace
Always serve with a large side of Faith
Warm angel biscuits and sweet tea aren't the only things I miss about my mother-in-law. I miss the fresh servings of prayer she whispered while feeding her family and the filling scriptures she served in our conversations around her table.
Yes, her kitchen now sits quiet and dark, but her family is feasting on her spiritual legacy of love for God and His Word.
Dear Lord, help me to be a wife and mom who feeds her family from the kitchen and from Your Word. May I leave a legacy for those You've entrusted in my care. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Taste and see the Lord is good by reading His Word! Sit down with Proverbs 31 Ministries' devotion writing team as they serve up devotions that teach from the new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women.
Introduce your family to Bible stories with the fun-to-play Bible Brainstorm Game.
Reflect and Respond:
Try the "saltshaker encouragement" over dinner tonight. Each member of the family takes a turn at holding the saltshaker. Every other person at the table should share one thing they will pray for the person holding the saltshaker.
1 Peter 2:2-3, "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good." (NIV)
© 2013 by Zoe Elmore. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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Matthews, NC 28105