Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless HIS HOLY NAME.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Things I Have Learned from My Mother

My mother, Mrs. Billie Jean (Ashcraft) Sloan was born into a family with a daddy who was an unsaved drunkard, and a mother who had been saved in the Methodist church as a young girl.  My mom was the first of four children.

The Lord worked a miracle of grace when He saved my grandfather when my mother was only 6 months old.  Later, God called my grandfather (the late Dr. L.H. Ashcraft) into the ministry, and as a missionary in 1960.

My mother was 16 years old when her family moved to Mexico as missionaries.  She remembers it as a hard time for her, having to leave the comforts of her country and her dear friends to follow her father to a foreign country.  (In 1960, Mexico was not as modern as it is today!)  She was obedient, and with a godly attitude, was submissive to her earthly father's leading.  She finished high school in Mexico, then went on to Teacher's college in Mexico, as she learned Spanish and helped in the missions that my grandfather was starting.

In 1968, God took my father, Dr. Tom Sloan, Sr. to visit the work in Mexico, where my mother and he met and fell in love.  They were married in September, 1969.

In 1970, God brought my parents to Chiapas as missionaries, where my father served the Lord reaching the Indian people through his medical practice, and preaching the Gospel in villages so remote they could only be reached by foot (or riding donkeys, as did my father).

I am blessed to have been born into this loving family, the fifth child of eight.  As I look back in my mind to my childhood, I can only remember fun, loving times.  There were difficult times for our family, but I believe my mother took her role as wife and mother so seriously, that she did her best to have a godly attitude throughout the hard times, and she did her "job" so well.

What a courageous woman she has been!  In this post I would like to mention some things that I have learned from her as I have observed her and been loved by her over the past 36 years.

1.  She has been faithful to have her personal Bible-reading and prayer time every day.

I have memories of my mother being up very early, sometimes before daylight, to read her Bible at the dining room table every morning.  What a comfort it was to me to see her consistently reading her Bible and praying!

2.  She was obedient and submissive to my father, and she lovingly and cheerfully served him.

I believe there is nothing you can do that will positively influence a child more than to see Mother being submissive to Father.  I am thankful for a mother who was obedient to my father, although it wasn't always easy.

3.  She was a wonderful keeper of our home.

My mother is a very organized lady, and she had a routine that allowed things to run very smoothly in our home.  She mothered and home-schooled eight children, was active in the church pastored by my father, and always had a delicious meal prepared and served (at our house) at 2:00 p.m. (Mexican dinner time!)

4.  She loved my father and her children

She was very tender toward her children, and I never remember her raising her voice at us. 

5.  She practiced hospitality

Mom knew how to serve people in her home, many times receiving guests whom she did not expect.  She  knew how to serve the "simplest" of guests, as well as she served the "high society" of our city.  I remember her baking and decorating a cake, and celebrating the wedding anniversary of an Indian couple who came to visit us from a village.  The couple did not even wear shoes, but she made them feel very special that afternoon.  My father was very compassionate toward the "lowest" of society.  He often brought the "unloved" into our home, where my mother would set a plate of hot food at her dining room table and serve them as she did the lawyers and doctors who visited us.

Mom was an expert in helping celebrate birthdays.  She remembered people's birthdays all over San Cristobal, and would write out a card, bake bread or cookies, and take them to the home of the "Birthday Person."  Many people in our town have been blessed by her hospitality and generosity.

Today, she is so thoughtful to make very elegant fruit baskets for anyone who is a guest in her home.  I have the great privilege of living close to her, and each time we come into town for a visit (even if it is every two weeks), she always has a wonderful fruit basket ready for us!

6.  She was committed to her marriage

She was true to her wedding vows, faithful in sickness and in health, as she cared for my father through 24 years of Parkinson's.  She was faithful to him, 'til death did them part.

7.  She has been a teacher to other women

God has used Mom as a teacher to other women, as well as to a multitude of children throughout the 53 years she has been on the mission field.

8.  She is an excellent mother-in-law and grandmother

Ask any of her daughters-in-law or sons-in-law:  They all love her.  She has wisely kept out of her children's marriages, and has faithfully prayed for her children and their spouses.  Her ability to keep quiet even when she doesn't agree has had a positive effect in her children's marriages.

Her grandchildren adore her.  She has 11 grandchildren who live fairly close to her.  Every Tuesday night, she invites them over and orders pizza and sits with them and watches a movie with them.  That is HER special time with her grandchildren.  From her eldest granddaughter, who is 16, to her baby grandson...each of them ENJOY being with her.

9.  She showed great peace at the time of my father's death

I remember how peaceful she looked that afternoon that Dad went to Heaven.  He died in his bed, and she sat very calmly at the foot of his bed.  When my brothers asked if they should go ahead with the Sunday evening services (Dad passed away at 5:15 pm on a Sunday afternoon), she said, "Yes. That's what Daddy would have wanted.").  God's grace was very evident in her life at that time, and it was a great testimony to me.

10.  She led her children to the Lord

I thank the Lord that my mother led me (and most of my sibblings) to the Lord.  I have the sweetest memory of her and me sitting on her bed as she showed me from Holy Scripture how I could be saved.

--There is so, so much more that I could say about this amazing lady that I call "Mother,"....many more things that she has taught me.  

I thank the Lord every day for placing me in the loving home of this godly lady.  I pray that the things she has taught me will be put into practice every day as I mother my own children.