Happy Mother’s Day!

Mom, Dad, and I (1990) 001

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day, but since it is also the Lord’s Day, my mind will be focused on other things: the Father’s grace, the Son’s sacrifice, the Holy Spirit’s work, and the gathering of God’s people to worship the Triune God. Today, however, I will take some time to wax nostalgically about the woman that I called, “Momma.”

Ruby Mae Jordan was born May 30, 1919 (making her one of the four million Social Security “notch babies”), not more than a couple of hundred yards from where I live now in Pine Ridge. She and her six siblings were raised right across the road from the Pine Ridge Baptist Church during the throes of the Great Depression, thus, experiencing hardships that most of my generation will never be able to appreciate.

She married my Dad on May 22, 1939, in Portsmouth, Virginia, putting on her marriage license that she was twenty-one, even though she was only nineteen (the things you do for love); the only time I ever knew of her not telling the truth.

mom an dad marriage license

(As an aside, when I was a Senior in high school my boss, Mr. Arthur Black [of Orange Black’s Floral], asked me to work on Valentine’s Day delivering flowers, meaning I would have to “skip school” to do it. I asked Momma to write me a note saying that I was sick and she refused. Even if it meant an unexcused absence and all that accompanied it, she surmised that if I “do the crime, I should have to do that time.” The Assistant Principal, Mr. Dauphine, did have mercy on me, if anyone cares).

She was more the “Ordinary” Christian of Michael Horton, than the “Radical” Christian of David Platt. She did the “ordinary” things that Christian women do: loved her husband, loved her kids, cooked scratch biscuits during the week and yeast rolls on the weekend (okay, maybe that isn’t ordinary), faithfully worshiped her God every Lord’s Day, read the Bible with the family every night, supported her children when they failed and succeeded, and the list goes on and on. I’m not sure why the Lord allowed the dementia to make the last years of her life so painful other than the fact that God’s ways are higher than our ways, and we live in a fallen world (I will save that question for heaven because the “Judge of all the earth will do right”); but I am so grateful for the Christian Mom that shaped my life.

Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her.”

P.S.–Mom, I am sorry about skipping school and going to Cow Creek that time. You never would have known if George Hayden wouldn’t have spilled the beans when we were thirty-five years old. Thanks for not grounding me then, because I had many pastoral duties to attend to.



  1. George Hayden said,

    May 14, 2017 at 11:17 PM

    Clifton I’m glad that she only knew of that one time that we skipped school. I remember her finding out how you got those terrible grass stains on those white jeans.

    • cliftonr said,

      May 15, 2017 at 4:11 AM

      There are times when I am simply grateful for surviving my teenage years.

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