Mother’s Day, 2012

Mother’s Day is a little bit different around the Rankin house. To begin with, Dixie is not a Hallmark kind of gal (Guys, I know you are jealous) so holidays are normally not full of bells and whistles in Pine Ridge (her choice). Secondly, because Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are always on Sunday, our focus is on the Lord’s Day, God’s grace, and gathering with God’s people to worship Him. Nonetheless, I thought I would take a few minutes to ponder the mothers in my life.

My own mom has been in heaven since 1997, but truly was a blessing to me in many ways. She was all of those things we often mention about our moms: caring, self-sacrificing, nurturing, etc., and she did all those things even as she faced many health problems such as high blood pressure (which probably played a part in her only onset dementia). But I must say, the most important thing she did, was point me to Christ again and again as I grew up. Reading the Bible and prayer were a daily part of our lives growing up, and as I have often quipped, “I never had to ask, ‘Are we going to church Sunday?’ in my entire life, because there was never any doubt about that.” The Lord used her as part of His ordinary means to show me my need of a Savior at a very young age, and I will be eternally grateful for her part in my life in the new heavens and the new earth.

The mother of my oldest two children also has played a significant role in my life. Lydia and I were high school sweethearts who married young, and in some ways grew up together. We started our family while I was in seminary (I think that was part of the educational plan at Southwestern Seminary in Ft. Worth) and I left to be the pastor of my first church with two children. Together we tried to model what we had learned (Lydia also came from a Christian home) about raising our children to trust in Christ as their only hope at a young age. Our daughter, Leah, was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at eighteen months of age, which meant that we as a family were to battle this disease with all of our being, even as we trusted in Christ as the One who was Lord of all and in total control of all that came our way. And, when on Mother’s Day, 1989, Lydia and Leah were killed in an automobile accident (that may be another reason why Mother’s Day is a little different around our house), Josh (my oldest) and I had to learn anew what it really meant to trust in Christ as the Good Shepherd of His sheep. God was gracious, and although we did grieve deeply, we did not “grieve as those who have no hope” because we knew that through Christ, Lydia and Leah were then, “just men made perfect” to use the terms of the writer of the book of Hebrews.

While Josh and I were still in the midst of the grieving process, the Lord saw fit to bring Dixie into our lives. Dixie and I were married in June of 1990 and for Dixie it was “instant motherhood.” Most moms get to grow into their twelve year olds, but Dixie had to step right in “cold turkey.” But she was a gamer (as was Josh) and together we began to grow as a family [It may have helped that she had been a juvenile probation officer before we married]. When in the Lord’s will we adopted two boys we thought that our lives would turn into the normal lives that everyone else faced (Of course, there is no such thing as normal). We never dreamed that we would become the parents of two special needs children (One with autism, and the other with Tourette’s syndrome), but as the years have passed, I have seen Dixie face the challenges that come her way with a trust in God, and a deep and abiding love for me, and for those two boys.

So, while Mother’s Day is different around here, it doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate the wonderful mothers that God has placed in my life; for I have discovered that King Lemuel’s mother was correct when she said, “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” (Proverbs 31:30-31)



  1. Gail said,

    May 14, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    Thank you for writing this. I needed to read it today.


    • cliftonr said,

      May 14, 2012 at 2:54 PM

      Your welcome, Gail. I’ve been thinking a lot about Morgan Mill lately for some reason. The other day I realized that I haven’t lived there in almost thirty years…but it seems like yesterday.

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