A Mother-in-Law’s Gift

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV

Have you ever been eating in a restaurant and overheard a conversation?  Above the sound of the clinking of silverware against plates and the murmur of voices, I heard the following exchange between two middle aged women:

“My mother-in-law and I got along great for 20 years.”

“Now you don’t?  What’s changed in 20 years?”

“She moved to our town.”

I was reminded of the many jokes based on the idea that mothers-in-law are manipulative, bossy, interfering women.  It’s a common theme in our culture that the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationship is filled with conflict and resentment.

Thankfully, my relationship with my mother-in-law, Bette, is the complete opposite of the negative stereotype.  Ours is based on mutual respect, love and appreciation.  It’s a joy to spend time together.

One day when we were in the car on our way to the hair salon for our monthly “beautification,” as Bette laughingly refers to getting our hair done, while stopped at a red light, Bette casually mentioned, “The pastor’s wife is going to have a Bible study for writers.”

I could tell she thought I should go, but she’d never say that.

Bette knows that I often lack faith in myself, especially in my writing. Her mothering instincts extend even to me, and she tries her best to build me up.  But she never forces her opinions on me; instead, she gently offers suggestions “…as raindrops on the tender herb, and as showers on the grass” (Deuteronomy 32:2 NKJV).

Photo Credit - Pawel Gaul

“I think it will be interesting,” she added as the light changed and we began moving.

“Yes, it sounds different,” I responded noncommittally.  Shortly thereafter, we arrived at the salon and, in her wisdom, Bette dropped the subject.

But I didn’t forget about it.

I had never attended a Bible study before and was unsure about trying it, but since I’ve seen how the church, especially Sunday school and Bible study, has enriched Bette’s life, I thought it might be worth a try.

When she brought the idea of Bible study up again, I surprised her by saying that I was going to go.

A huge smile spread across her face.  “I prayed so hard over whether to suggest it to you or not.  I’m so glad I did,” she said happily.

“I’m glad you did too,” I smiled back.

Her simple suggestion of joining the writer’s Bible study turned out to be a wonderful gift.  I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I’ve always lacked confidence in myself, believing that what I write is not interesting or important to anyone.  But these negative feelings changed after the very first night of Bible study.

We were reading different scriptures, including 1 Corinthians 15:58, and suddenly it hit me: God has given me a gift and to honor him I must use it.  I may dismiss my writing as nothing special, but I can’t deny that what God has to say through my writing is worthy of sharing, that my “labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

I would never have come to this realization if it weren’t for that day in the car when Bette suggested I join the writer’s Bible study.  There I met other people who enjoyed writing and found in them support, inspiration, and most importantly, confidence.

I thank God for my mother-in-law and her willingness to “mother” her grown daughter-in-law!

***

Today’s Bible Blogger is Naomi. The Ruth and Naomi relationship inspired this piece I wrote and submitted to Chicken Soup for the Soul. It wasn’t selected for publication, but c’est la vie!

Remember that there’s still time to enter for a chance to win Chicken Soup for the Soul: Messages from Heaven, where my story about my Grandma Bone was selected for publication. Just comment on the post below! Comments close tonight at midnight (eastern standard time).

3 thoughts on “A Mother-in-Law’s Gift

  1. Pingback: Naomi’s Blog | Bible Bloggers

  2. I am thankful for a sister who lovingly rebuked me about my attitude towards my MIL. I was newly married and a new mother, and for some reason I saw every move, look, and word as a threat and attempt to undermine me. It poisoned my heart toward her.

    “Jody, she loves you and she loves your baby. Don’t rob her of the joy to be in Jessica’s life and in yours. Don’t rob yourself or your little girl of the joy of having her in your life!”

    I love my prophet sister who loves me enough to say it like it is. I love my MIL, and am thankful for the close relationship we have!

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