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A time to remember and honor

On May 12, we remember and honor our mothers. As a child, I remember well the traditions surrounding Mother’s Day. My church honored the oldest mother by presenting her a red rose in a vase with a ribbon tied around it. The youngest mother also received a red rose in a vase. The mother with the most children was given a bouquet of roses. All of the mothers in the congregation would be asked to stand and were recognized. I recall applauding vigorously as they stood to be recognized.

Many in the congregation wore roses to honor or remember their mothers. You’ll recall –– one would wear a red rose if one’s mother was living. If a mother had passed, one wore a white rose. I remember going to my mother’s rose bush and picking the most beautiful red rose to wear in honor of my mother.

For children at Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH), Mother’s Day memories are not as cheery. Recently, a church invited one of our campuses to share a BCH presentation in their worship service on Mother’s Day. They called early and were excited about the children being a part of the day’s celebration. They were surprised when I explained that our children would not be able to do what they were asking. You see, Mother’s Day is very difficult for many of them.

Four-year-old Jacob and six-year-old Jasmine’s mother is in prison. Ciara’s mother died from an overdose. Jennifer was often hungry and had not eaten for days prior to coming into BCH’s care. She was dirty and the cigarette burns on her body were evidence of the pain she endured.

Addictions, neglect, abuse, and mental and physical health crises have tarnished their Mother’s Day memories. It is the one Sunday when many of our children do not attend church but have church in their cottages where cottage parents grieve with them, love on them, and encourage them.

Mother’s Day is a wonderful day to celebrate the impact so many wonderful mothers have had on their precious children. I was, and I hope you were, so very fortunate to have one of those mothers. My mother sacrificed so my brother and I could have. She taught us to care for others, too. She shows her care and love through the food she prepares –– she is the best cook. (Her fried apple pies are delicious.) Seldom a day passes by when she does not make a meal to take to someone in need. She has been a wonderful Christian example as I have watched her share her faith.

Mother recently visited Mills Home to deliver clothes she had collected for the children. On her trip to the campus, a tire on her car went flat. She called me and AAA. She explained it might take AAA some time and she would be delayed. I waited a few minutes in my office and decided I needed to go to her. When I arrived, I got out of the car and heard her sharing her faith with the mechanic. Wow! I am so very blessed to have such a wonderful model of God’s love in action.

In honor of our moms, or in their memory, you have an opportunity this Mother’s Day to remember your mother in a way that will help our children see Mother’s Day in a totally different light. Instead of pain, they will see love. Instead of disappointment, they will experience hope. Please consider a gift in honor or in memory of your mother.

On the last Monday in May, we commemorate Memorial Day and remember those who have given their lives for our freedom. It is a blessing to remember the people in our lives who have encouraged and influenced us. People who have shown us grace and enriched our lives.

As you remember these special people, look for ways to say thank you. A great way to remember friends, family, soldiers, teachers, and those who have shared hope with you is to give a gift in their honor or in their memory.

We will send honorees or their families an acknowledgement of your remembrance. As a bonus, in a special August issue of Charity & Children, we are printing the names of all those remembered and the names of those who gave. All honor and memorial gifts made between April 1 and July 1 will be listed. This also gives you an opportunity to honor your father for Father’s Day.

For those who have put feet to their prayers, thank you! For those who have nurtured, mentored and supported, thank you! For those who have loved and encouraged and spiritually discipled, thank you!

As we remember, we give God thanks for every remembrance of you!

To make a gift in honor or in memory of your mother, visit For more information on how you can make a difference in the life of a child, call me at 336-689-4442.

Worthwhile Investments is written by Brenda B. Gray, BCH Executive Vice President of Development & Communications

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