The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Van Yandell
Guest Columnist 

My Mother, The Perfectionist


Isaiah 66: 13 “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.”

My mother was eighty-three years old at the time. That would have made the year 1994. She was still active; driving, going to church, going to stores and anywhere else she wanted. And to say her mind was in better shape than mine would have been an understatement.

Dad had died 10 years previous. Mom was born in 1911 and would come up out of her grave and have words with me if she knew I told that. She lied about her age to the point she had trouble proving her longevity when applying for Social Security.

There was an old shed building behind her house in the little town where we lived. My dad and I had built it, mostly of scrap and other salvaged materials. We even straightened bent nails. That was in the early 70’s.

Mother parked her car in one side of that shed to keep the snow off. Finally the roof started blowing off every time a wind storm came along. I spent a lot of time re-nailing that roof. Climbing on the roof was really good for my prayer life, with old and rotten wood under me.

I decided she needed a new garage to park her car in. So I approached her with the idea and told her I’d build it and pay for the materials. I intended to build a block building with concrete floor, trusses, and shingle roof, automatic garage door opener and all wiring necessary. For once in her life, she was easy to convince.

Of course she would need more storage than just a garage so the final plan was for a 28’ x 36’ building.

She kept a good eye on me all during the construction process. The block work was well along; I was high enough on the walls to need scaffolds. She would supervise from the ground, asking me at least four times an hour if I needed water. Sometimes I did, but it was usually to thin the mortar in the hot, dry summer of ’94. She was determined to keep me adequately hydrated.

One day she noticed where I’d left a small hole in a mortar joint a few courses down. She said, “Bring your trowel over here and fill this hole.” I said, “I’ll check for those when I finish.” Nothing would do her; the hole had to be filled, RIGHT NOW! So, being a good son, I climbed down and filled the hole.

I had no more than gotten back on the scaffolds, filled my mortar board, when she found another hole. This one was smaller than a pencil lead but she was afraid if she walked away from it, we would never find it again. Paint would have filled the hole, but once again I climbed down and patched it.

Finally, my patience grew thin. After about the fourth hole found by her eagle eyes, I got her a small mortar board, a tuck pointer and striking tool. “You can fill the holes as good as I can. Here!”

I can still see her with her tools, going around the building filling holes. She got a real thrill out of correcting my mistakes. I treasure those days I had with her out there working on her building.

I sure am glad I have God to correct my mistakes. He doesn’t really change the past; he just forgives our mistakes and transgressions.

In Hebrews 8: 12 we are told God will remember our sin no more. We know our omnipotent God (all powerful, infinite power) is capable, but for Him to be able to forget our sins is beyond impressive. I think the Hebrew writer may be telling us that He will cleanse us so clean it will be like those sins never happened.

My mother was a clean person and demanded as a child that I be clean. When I went to the ball park and came home all dirty and grubby, she made me take a bath. If my face wasn’t clean enough to suit her, she got me in a head lock and scrubbed me. In what was apparently her sub-conscious opinion, “if you didn’t bleed, you were not clean.” She never exactly said that but I’m convinced that was her belief. This especially happened on Saturday afternoon because there was no way I could go to church on Sunday morning with even a spec of dirt on me.

I thought I knew what cleansing power was until I read the Bible and saw what God’s cleansing power really is. 1 John 1: 9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Every word in the Bible is important, but that word ‘cleanse’ shows His power to forgive.

Every person’s sin debt is different but that doesn’t matter. All sin is sin against God. King David asked God in Psalm 51: 1-2 “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.”

As God took away David’s sin because of his multitude of sins with Bathsheba, (2 Samuel 11); He will take away our sins. Nothing can clean us as clean as the blood of Jesus.

God used mothers to demonstrate His awesome power in several of our most memorable Bible stories. The story of Bathsheba appeals to our emotions and curiosity in that her first son through King David died. Her second son, however, was empowered by God to become the wisest man that ever lived. Solomon’s wisdom, (1 Kings 3:1-15) is confirmed in many of his actions (1 Kings 3:16–28).

God used Sarah to show the world He could produce a child in a barren womb (Genesis 11: 30). Two-thousand years later, He used the womb of a virgin to provide a Savior for the world (Luke 1: 26-38).

Mothers in the Bible at times are ignored while the values we glean from them are priceless. Women such as Hannah, the mother of Samuel; the mothers of the twelve tribes of Israel (Leah, Rachael, Bilhah and Zilpah) and Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin; and Mary, the mother of our Jesus are points of study we must not disregard.

All mothers are educators. Proverbs 1: 8 “My son; hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.” My mother “laid down the law” to me more times than I can count. I treasure those years.

My mother lived to see her ninety-third birthday. Until that point I had thought, “If they’re old the loss isn’t as hurtful.” Was I ever wrong! When one’s mother leaves this world it is surely devastating. We cling to the good memories and celebrate their lives on Mother’s Day.


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