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Mother Would Have Loved This!

September 27, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Following the Sunday morning worship service in which James preached his last sermon as Bethel’s senior pastor and before our retirement party that evening, my dad, James and I went out to a restaurant together for a little family celebration of our own.  After we had ordered our entrees, we began to reflect on the morning worship service.  The sanctuary had been crowded because, while we normally have three separate worship times, on this day, everyone had come to the main campus for the 10:45 service.  The worship pastor led the congregation in some of James’ favorite hymns and contemporary music, and the choir sang a beautiful anthem of Psalm 103, James’ favorite chapter in the Psalms.  There were presentations made to both James and I during the worship service and just before the benediction was given.  All of our emotions were on overdrive.  Tears seem to come and go at will.

As our family talked about all of this during our dinner, one of us said, “Mother would have loved this.”  My mother, who passed away in March of this year, was a woman who loved times of celebration.  Her children learned very early in their lives that birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, or sometimes even just an ordinary Friday night, should be occasions for much fanfare.  It was required during those times to have lots of food, special gifts and, most of all, the family should be together. 

Then, when James and I stood in a receiving line during our retirement reception last Sunday evening, a dear lady who had come to know my mother very well in the few months Mother had lived in Norman, remarked to me, “Oh, your mother would have loved all of this.”  I choked back tears and just nodded, as she went on to say, “She just loved being a part of our Bethel family.”

Yes, that’s the reason my mother would have loved all the activities during this special day in our lives. While all the requirements of a party were present–plenty of food and special gifts, it was most of all a celebration of a family.  It was a coming together of a people who are our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters, our mothers and our fathers and in the midst of sharing a love for one another , we were also enjoying our love for Christ. As Jesus taught in Luke 18:29-30, “There is no one who has left house or wife or brothers[or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

Mother would have loved our retirement party because it was a family celebration, and that’s why James and I will always cherish our time at Bethel, it was time spent with our family.

  1. September 29, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Congratulations on your retirement. Your mom story made me cry. I was reading while my students were working on research papers and they thought Mrs. Shaw had gone “weird” on them. I hope you two get to spend many mornings together reading and drinking your coffee together. May God bless you during this and continue to let James minister to many other families.

    Joy Shaw


  2. September 29, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Joy, thanks for your comment. Maybe it’s not a bad thing for your students to think you are “weird”–it keeps you mysterious. Yes, James and I are looking forward to the next phase in our lives as we see what the Lord has designed especially for us. As much as we love Bethel and as hard as it was, we knew He said it was time for Bethel to move forward without us. I love reading your posts on Facebook, and it gives me an opportunity to pray for you and your family. You too have been a part of our Bethel family even though you’ve been away from us.


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