The distinct joys of motherhood

By Brenda Cannon Henley
Mothers are compensated wonderfully for all the years of bearing children, having their bodies jerked out of shape with pregnancy, sleepless nights, eating binges, and shopping. The hours spent in cooking, sorting, washing, folding, and putting away clothing, not to mention mending, transportation, medical emergencies, school traumas, sports programs, and the never-ending trials of relationships are well rewarded, albeit coming much later in each child’s life.

Today I had the joy of sitting in a friendly, warm church congregation to hear my only son, Dr. John Walker (Brent) Stancil, preach to a very receptive crowd of folks. Last night, I observed and took part in a beautiful wedding ceremony uniting two great kids in holy matrimony. I listened as my son spoke of the great responsibility of taking on the role of husband and wife, and he gave good, sound counsel to both the young lady and the gentleman. The young lady had grown up in Brent’s former church in Texas, Val Verde Baptist, and her parents are best friends of my son and his wife. She went away to Christian college in California and met the love of her life from Cleveland, Ohio. I’m not sure the bride’s father is quite over the fact that his new son in law is a Yankee from Ohio, but he handled the matter quite well.

The ceremony and reception were wonderfully planned out and every detail matched up to what the young bride had wanted. The women of the church family had prepared and served a delicious meal to each guest in attendance. Highlights of the evening, other than the beautiful candlelight ceremony itself, were a creative photo booth complete with props where guests were urged to take pictures to their heart’s delight. Many guests donned black top hats, brightly colored boas, eyeglass holders, mustaches on sticks, as well as other apparel and jewelry. A well supplied candy bar was a big hit and the evening was topped off by the couple leaving for their honeymoon amidst happy, bright sparklers lighting the night. Almost everyone in attendance commented on the delightfully Texas theme of burlap and lace.

As the evening wore on, I paid particular attention to my son. He seemed tired from his trip to Texas from Florida and he struck me as being more melancholy than usual. Along with performing the wedding, he also had to preach in several churches and counsel with people who had requested some of his time. He bears a lot of responsibility, both with his growing church in St. Petersburg, and with his family of four children. I thought as I watched him meeting various people in the crowd, “I’m very proud of the good man my little boy has become. He literally is giving his life to others and he cares about them very much.”

Mothers don’t tend to see their child(ren) as grown people, men and women filled with heavy duties and responsibilities, but still as little boys or girls. I can well remember bringing Brent home from the hospital. Well, actually, we did not go home from the hospital. We first drove to our church and went inside and laid our son on the altar where our pastor prayed that he would give his life to Christ at an early age, and I clearly remember him asking God to bless our boy and to use him in His work. God has honored that prayer, and for that, I am very thankful.

I thought, too, of several verses in the Book of Proverbs and in other places in Scripture. I want to encourage all of you young parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, mentors, teachers, coaches, instructors, and neighbors. Don’t give up on our kids. Love them, teach them, work with them, instruct, encourage, aid, discipline when necessary, and most importantly, pray for them on their journey. You will never know what life you are changing or guiding along the journey they must take. Your impact and influence may change the course of a young life or many young lives.

And to the young people, I urge that you listen to these people who love you. Pay attention to what the Bible says. You can trust those words. “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.” (Proverbs 1:8)

“My son, forget not my law, but let thine heart keep my commandments. For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee. Bind them about thy neck. Write them upon the table of thine heart. So shall thou find favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:1-6)

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or at [email protected].

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