The Apostle Paul’s disciple, Timothy, was powerfully impacted by his Mom and Grandma’s way of life and faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The same is true of me. And since it happens to be my sweet Mother’s birthday (Happy Birthday Mom!!), I thought that I would share a few things that I love in particular about my Mom.
First, she loves Jesus Christ, his Word, and his Gospel. It doesn’t take long for kids to figure out a fake. That’s probably why a lot of kids who grow up in “Christian” homes “walk away” from the faith. Those kids can see that the only difference between their “Christian” parents and their friends non-Christian parents is Sunday morning church attendance. If there really is no difference, then why inconvenience yourself Sunday morning? Fortunately for us Coppenger kids, it was clear that Mom had a deep devotion to Jesus Christ, his Word, and his gospel. Whether memorizing Scripture on the long road trips to church in Indianapolis, discussing whether life was fair in Franklin, or talking about the sermon on the way home in El Dorado, Mom’s consistent application of the spiritual disciplines for the Christian car ride made King Jesus’s Gospel lucid and compelling. I never detected a “we are doing this because that’s they people have done it in the past” attitude. It was a privilege, like riding with her.
Secondly, Mom’s devotion to Christ means faithful Church participation. With Dad away periodically, sacrificing family time for the advancement of Christ’s kingdom, Mom was taking us to church and other church events alone. Having observed many other situations like this throughout my life in other families, I knew that this was the perfect opportunity to skip church or to grumble. Not Mom. I remember the same sense of joy, excitement, privilege, and gravity that was present on the best Sunday, present on the loneliest of Sundays. Unfortunately, I didn’t love the church like Mom did when I was growing up. But by the grace of God, her example of love and faith planted a seed of love for the church in my young heart that blossomed immediately at my conversion.
Third, Mom is flexible. Whether this meant volunteering at the school of her most troublesome child (yes, me), preparing dinner for 3 additional guests at the last minute (yes, usually my friends), housing a student for a semester or two because of unfortunate circumstances, or moving the family to another location, Mom’s competence and willingness to adapt to whatever crazy situation came her way was unbelievable. In an age of entitlement and sensitivities, where Mom’s across the land are buying into the worldview that mandates whining and pouting every time something causes them to adjust their plans (I know, guys are buying into this too), Mom’s delightfulness and excitement were even more amazing.
Fourth, she is interesting. She is a blast to be around. One of the unfortunate aspects of this age of technological advancement is that people are far better with a remote control, ipod, or video game than they are with a person in a conversation. Not so with our mom. It didn’t matter if she was asking someone sitting next to her on a plane the reasons why church attendance is important (people always say church attendance is important in these conversations…mom simply asked why), catching up on the families latest news (while swaying back and forth, no doubt), or walking with her husband, Mom always seemed ready to redeem the time by engaging in a good conversation.
Lastly, Mom is submissive to our Dad. I never had a problem understanding that the Bible’s call for male headship didn’t mean that a woman was any less capable long before I even knew there was such a discussion. While many folks think that this kind of thing suppresses a woman’s gifts, mom joyfully used her seemingly endless giftings to support and propel the course Dad set for the family. Whether leading wives from church in the ways of the gospel, praising Dad to us kids, or preparing a meal that would have Emril’s mouth salivating, Mom followed (and follows) Dad’s leadership with excellence.
These are just a very few things that I love about my Mom. If I had time (and didn’t think it would embarrass her too much) I could talk about the way she encourages almost everybody she comes in contact with, her evangelistic zeal that expresses itself wherever God plants her, her love for her children’s spouses and their children, or the glorious screams that I used to hear through everybody as she rooted me on at almost every basketball game. Mom, you’re great.
I bet Timothy thought the same thing about his Mom (and his Gagee!). I hope in the future, Josiah will acknowledge the many great things about his beautiful Mom. Little eyes lead to big memories and if my memory serves me right, I should be one of the happiest boys on this most happiest of birthdays. I love you Mom.