Mother’s Day 2021

Mother’s Day, just like families, is special and complicated. Dorothy’s maternal grandfather, Paul Gummelt, was the sixth of his parents’ children. Paul’s mother, Mina, died after the birth of her 9th child and his father later married an 18-year-old woman from their Baptist church at Cottonwood, Texas named Minna. Paul’s dad and stepmother had 12 children.* Paul and his wife Lydia had one child, Freda Mae. Freda was 16 when her mother died. Her father later married another Lydia. Dorothy’s mother, Freda, was the definition of humility and contentment. She married Albert Niederer and they were married 68 years at the time of her death in 2005. She and Albert lived a simple life, he as a church furniture maker, she as a homemaker and church volunteer. Their son, Ray, was a scholar and pastor, and their daughter married a minister. Freda never learned to drive a car, so when their church relocated in 1951, they built a home a block away so she could participate in all the activities. When Dorothy moved away from home after college, her mother began writing letters to her almost daily. Throughout our married life, until she was no longer able, Freda sent us a continuing account, almost a diary, of her thoughts and the news of the day. She ended many of her letters with, “I must close before the postman comes.” Her next letter would begin telling us that the postman took her last letter to us. Sweet memories of love and devotion.

Mother’s Day 2021 is a complicated day for many people. The first Mother’s Day after a mother has died is often incredibly painful, as well as all the Mother’s Days following the loss of a child. As a pastor, I feel the heart cry of the couples who wanted children, but it did not happen. I hear the pain of the “unwanted.” I listen to some incredibly difficult stories of mother-child animosities and abusive addictions. I see the broken hearts of those who never knew their mothers, and the pain of grandmothers who have their grandchildren torn from them by divorce or court order.  Yet, God has given us a rich gift in our complicated and sometimes messy families. This week, take a few minuets to reflect upon all the mothers and grandmothers in your family story. Somehow you and I have become who we are because God’s love has embraced us, nurtured us, and redeemed us. 

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Happy Mother’s Day. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

*For those doing the math, Peter Gummelt, Dorothy’s great-grandfather, had 21 children born across 49 years.

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