Who is like the LORD our God,
who is seated on high,
who looks far down
on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes,
with the princes of his people.
He gives the barren woman a home,
making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the LORD!
There are many ways to have children.
My great aunt, Harriet Brightman, was a devout Church woman and very bright. She never got married and, of course, never had children of her own. But she was notoriously happy because of her calling, which she loved. She graduated with honors from the University of Texas at the age of 16 and then taught math at Comanche High School for fifty years.
The instinct of a mother is so strong that at an early age, while still a teenager, Aunt Hattie, as we called her, took on the role of a parent to school children barely younger than herself. She poured her heart into their lives in the way she found to do it, according to the gifts that God gave her. I understand that she never left Texas but once her entire life.
Being an avid reader, she had a fertile mind and probably travelled the entire world in her own consciousness. Generations of her students spoke with affection about the way she injected faith, humor, pithy quotes, and real-life stories into otherwise boring classes of algebra. There was no lack of political and religious conversation in her life, either. Family discussions often escalated into rousing debates!
She had, in a manner of speaking, hundreds of children that she led and inspired to better lives.
Hattie lived in the large Victorian home where she grew up. With five siblings she enjoyed all of us descending descendants when we converged there for special occasions. We younger ones were fascinated by the tall ceilings and chandeliers, the winding staircase, the hall of endless rooms upstairs, and circle of four back to back fireplaces.
But what I remember most is the twinkle in her eye when, with a well-placed phrase or perfectly complete sentence, Hattie made the whole parlor of us laugh until the lights flickered.
Thank you for the gift of motherhood and for the women in our lives who nurtured and loved us. We pray for all women–mothers of small children, adoptive parents, birth mothers who chose adoption, and especially for women who have never had children–for the care they gave to others and for their willingness to be used by God whether caring for their own children, their families, or friends. In Jesus’s Name We Pray, Amen.
Written by The Rev. Michael Hinton