“I Love Your Mother”

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When I was a girl, I often heard comedians on television. Television was more wholesome then, but we still heard things we shouldn’t and there were certainly better ways to use our time. A common joke theme was mothers-in-law. Those jokes weren’t funny then and now that I’m a mother-in-law myself I’m sure I wouldn’t like to hear them again. A few months ago I heard a disparaging remark about a mother-in-law from a very sweet homeschooling mother, and I felt sad.

I only had a mother-in-law for a short time. Ray’s mother died six months after we got married.  Ray had just had his twenty-third birthday, and I was twenty-one. I miss Joan’s smile and her laugh. I miss the fun she and Wes and Ray and I enjoyed together. Ray’s dad was only sixty when Joan died. After that tragic loss, he and Ray and I were able to continue sharing many wonderful times together. How I loved my precious father-in-law.

Sometimes relationships with in-laws come easy, but many times it takes hard work. It always takes selfless love, self-sacrifice, and persistence. Good in-law relationships are always worth the effort. An older lady at our church who has only one son and no daughters told me that her daughter-in-law is better than a daughter. I’ve met her daughter-in-law; I’m not surprised that she feels that way. The goal in our relationships with every in-law should be to be like daughters, sisters, or mothers. Why should we settle for less than that?

Another older lady at church told me last week that she talks on the phone to her deceased sister’s husband from time to time. I loved hearing that. For her he’s a connection to her sister; for him she’s a connection to his wife. We have so many ways to bless other people. Sometimes we just need to open our own hearts and let our love flow into the hearts of others.

I am sad that my children never got to know Ray’s mother. They missed out on so much. Our parents-in-law are our husband’s parents and our children’s grandparents. When we have good relationships with our them, we bless our husbands and children.

I’m thankful that I got to be with my grandparents so much and with my aunts and uncles, too. I saw my daddy’s father almost every day at his grocery store. One of my mother’s sisters and her children lived with us while her husband served in the military. On his one full day off each week, Daddy sometimes took our family 130 miles one way so that we could spend a few hours with Mother’s other sister and her family. He enjoyed them as much as Mother did.

In many ways Sundays were grandparent days. We went to church with Daddy’s parents in the morning. We drove twenty miles away to see Mother’s parents almost every Sunday afternoon and then stopped by to see Daddy’s on our way back home before Sunday evening services. Sometimes we stopped by to see my parents’ grandparents, too. I’m thankful my parents supported each other’s needs to be with their families.

After we first saw Mother in the hospital on our way home from California, Ray put his hands on my shoulders and said, “I love you. I love your mother. I will do anything I can to help.” There was no question about whether Mother would come to our house to learn to speak again. I’m thankful that Ray loves his mother-in-law.

And they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. Then she said, “Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.”
Ruth 1:14-17, NASB

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  1. I love the stories you share about your family! Unfortunately, I only knew my husband’s parents for a few months before they both passed away. I often wish they were still with us, as I know I am missing a vital part of knowing my husband completely. I am blessed that he genuinely cares for and has a warm relationship with my own mother.

  2. My in-laws are my family – how I love them. I miss my dear brother in law, Stephen, who went to be with the Lord ten years ago – hard to believe he has been gone that long. He was my two oldest daughters favorite uncle. My mother in law is a second mother to me. Through her I learned how Christ loves me. Through her I learned perseverance and unconditional love.

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