“Mother’s Day Tribute”
Reverend Erwin Douglas Ray
3-Time Descendant of Kentucky Pioneers
Ebenezer Park (1747-1839) & TabithaMills (1752-1826)
My wife, Jean (Ora Jean Miller) and I were both born andraised in Garrard County Kentucky. I was born in the house in which Ispent my entire preteen and teen years while growing up on Wolftrail. Jeanspent all of her years before going to Union College in Barbourville, Kentuckyin 1953 in the Hackley Community of Garrard County Kentucky. Jean has atwin sister, Dora Dean Miller Carmack, who is a retired school teacher as isJean Miller Ray. In 1953 I learned that this is a big old world. Thatwas the year that I traveled all the way to Knoxville, Tennessee where Ienrolled in Johnson Bible College in preparation for the ChristianMinistry. Going to Bible College did not make a minister. But thetraining I received there helped me to be better able to do the work I wascalled to do. I was born and raised on Wolftrail in GarrardCounty Kentucky. That was my world at the time. There were ten ofus children who were born to Elmer Teater Ray and Leola Mae Stone Ray. Hard work was the order of every day. We all worked and workedtogether to help put bread on the table for our family. We did not havemuch of this world's goods but we had what counts the most: a loving ChristianHome. My father became a Christian Minister in 1944 which left much ofthe farm work for us boys to do. Perhaps many people feel this way, but mymother was the best mother in the world. As a child I always wondered whyshe never liked chicken breasts, thighs and legs. She always seemed to likebony backs, wings and necks better. Now I know why. Love for herchildren always put us first.
Since Sunday is a dayto remember our mothers in a special way, I would like to pay this honor andtribute to my mother who is now deceased. This is rather lengthily andmay not have a place in your purpose for most of the rest of this material. Iwould like to just express to you, Doug, if to no one else these my feelingsabout my mother, on this Mothers Day, the day that has been set aside in andfor her honor. Many great things have been said about the mothers of theworld.
1. Olive Schrinersaid: "THERE WAS NO GREAT MAN WHO DID NOT HAVE A GREAT MOTHER."
2. Napoleon said: "LET FRANCE HAVE GOOD MOTHERS AND SHE WILL HAVEGREAT SONS."
3. An old Indian proverb says: "AN ARROW WARPED IN MAKING WILL NEVERBE STRAIGHT IN ITS FLIGHT."
4. Alexander Pope was saying the same thing when he said: "AS THE TWIG ISBENT SO GROWS THE TREE."
5. Beecher said: "THE MOTHER'S HEART IS THE CHILD'S FIRST SCHOOLROOM."
6. John Quency Adams said: "ALL I AM MY MOTHER MADE ME."
7. Thomas Edison said: "MY MOTHER WAS THE MAKING OF ME. THE MEMORYOF HER WILL ALWAYS BE A BLESSING."
Dwight L. Moody said: "ALL THAT I AM, OR EVER HOPE TO BE, I OWE TOMY ANGEL MOTHER." J.C. Penny held and expressed the sameconviction as did D.L. Moody.
A Judge once said: "IF THE WOMEN OF THIS COUNTRY, THE MOTHERS, WOULDTEACH THE LESSONS OF GOD AS PRESCRIBED IN HIS BOOK TO THEIR CHILDREN, WE COULDDISPENSE WITH MORE THAN 1/2 OF OUR JAILS."
Solomon also tells us this: Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in theway he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
We have also heard the expression: "BACK OF EVERY SUCCESSFUL MANTHERE IS A SUCCESSFUL WOMAN."
That women have played an important role in the life of our country cannot bedenied. Truly: "THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE RULES THEWORLD."
Perhaps these mothers were influenced by Bible mothers.
In proverbs a man ofgreat wisdom honors our mothers in a way that most of us would like to think ofour mothers. I want to share all of the verses in this scripture andplace special emphases on verses 10, 11, 12, 28, 29, 30 and 31.
Proverbs 31:10-31 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price [is] far aboverubies. 11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shallhave no need of spoil. 12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of herlife. 13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. 14She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. 15 Sheriseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and aportion to her maidens. 16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with thefruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. 17 She girdeth her loins withstrength, and strengtheneth her arms. 18 She perceiveth that her merchandise[is] good: her candle goeth not out by night. 19 She layeth her hands to thespindle, and her hands hold the distaff. 20 She stretcheth out her hand to thepoor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid ofthe snow for her household: for all her household [are] clothed with scarlet.22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing [is] silk and purple.23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of theland. 24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth [it]; and delivereth girdles untothe merchant. 25 Strength and honour [are] her clothing; and she shall rejoicein time to come. 26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue [is]the law of kindness. 27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, andeateth not the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise up, and call herblessed; her husband [also], and he praiseth her. 29 Many daughters have donevirtuously, but thou excellest them all. 30 Favour [is] deceitful, and beauty[is] vain: [but] a woman [that] feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. 31 Giveher of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
Temple Bailey wrotethis parable on motherhood. I would like to share it with you, Doug.
How true, how verytrue of Christian mothers.
Temple Bailey's PARABLE OF MOTHERHOOD
A young mother set her feet on the path of life. "Is the waylong?" she asked. And her guide said, "Yes, and the way ishard. And you will be old before you reach the end of it. But theend will be better than the beginning." But the young mother washappy and she would not believe that anything could be better than these years. So she played with her children and gathered flowers for them along theway and bathed with them in the clear streams; and the sun shone on them andlife was good, and the young mother cried, "Nothing will ever be morelovely than this."
Then night came, and storms, and the path was dark and the children shook withfear and cold, and the mother drew them close and covered them with her mantleand the children said, "O mother, we are not afraid, for your are near,and no harm can come," and the mother said, "This is betterthan the brightness of day, for I have taught my children courage."
And the morning came, and there was a hill ahead and the children climbed andgrew weary, and the mother was weary, but at all times she said to thechildren, "A little patience and we are there." So the childrenclimbed and when they reached the top, they said, "We could not have doneit without you, mother." And the mother, when she lay down thatnight, looked up at the stars and said, "This is a better day than thelast, for my children have learned fortitude in the face of hardness. Yesterday I gave them courage, today I have given them strength."
And the next day came strange clouds which darkened the earth --- clouds of warand hate and evil --- and the children groped and stumbled and the mother said,"Look up. Lift yours eyes to the light." And the childrenlooked and saw above the clouds an Everlasting Glory, and it guided them andbrought them beyond the darkness. And that night the mother said,"This is the best day of all, for I have shown my children God."
TempleBailey's PARABLE OF MOTHERHOOD Cont.-
And the days went on, and the weeks and the months and theyears, and the mother grew old, and she was little and bent. But herchildren were tall and strong and walked with courage. And when the waywas rough they lifted her, for she was as light as a feather; and at last theycame to a hill, and beyond the hill they could see a shining road and goldengates flung wide.
And the mother said, "I have reached the end of my journey. And nowI know that the end is better than the beginning, for my children can walkalone, and their children after them."
And the children said, "You will always walk with us, Mother, even whenyou have gone through the gates."
And they stood and watched her as she went on alone, and the gates closed afterher. And they said, "We cannot see her, but she is with us still. A mother like ours is more than a memory. She is a livingpresence."
- Rev.Erwin Douglas Ray (6 May 2003)