Today is my mom’s (Joan Reed) birthday and my heart spills over with gratitude to the Lord for her. Since her home in Portland, Oregon is great distance from Ontario, most of my friends in Canada have never had the privilege of getting to know her. So, let me tell you a few (of the many) things I admire about her.
She is a life-long learner. Having excelled in school (debate medalist in high school; valedictorian in college) she’s continued to be an avid learner all her life. She always has a book (or audio book) on the go. She’s currently learning Norwegian (my father’s heritage). My sisters and I would credit her in developing in us study skills that helped us in our educational pursuits.
She spoils us with delicious baking. I came by my sweet tooth honestly through my mom’s cookies and pies. On birthdays, she made each of her kids a customized, stylized cake; I still remember the “baseball glove” shaped cake from my grade school years. Christmas was a bonanza of eye-popping, mouth-watering treats: hand-decorated cut-out cookies, candy cane cookies, Swedish Tea Rings, and much more. For years, she’s baked treats each week for the hospitality time at her church.
She has modelled a life of service for Christ. In Romans 16, Paul gives shout-outs to folks in the church at Rome who he loves and admires. He mentions a number of women who “worked hard” in the Lord (Romans 16:6, 12). If my mom had been in that church, I’m quite confident Paul would have mentioned her. She was “always abounding in the work of Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58)—teaching children, administrating the church office, leading women’s studies, opening her home to welcome the young and old, and partnering with my dad as he pastored the church family.
She taught me to love the Lord and His Word. I’ve been told that, when I was an infant, my mom would hold me on her lap each morning as she read devotionally from Scripture. Like Timothy, she and my father made sure that, “from childhood”, each of their children was well “acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).
The other night in a phone call, she mentioned she has four hymnbooks that she uses to sing to the Lord when she is reading Scripture and praying. That comment got me thinking of a song Carolyn Arends wrote for a woman in her eighties who sounds a lot like my mom. The song is called “Getting Ready for Glory.” It captures my mom’s outlook on life beautifully.
Happy Birthday Mom. I love you and thank God for you.
Here’s the song Carolyn Arends wrote as performed by Steve and Sarah Bell. (The song was written about Steve’s mother!).