On March 26 1924, sixteen year-old Addie Mae Tomberlin Paulk gave birth to a nine-pound baby girl. I have often heard the story of how she looked at her husband, nineteen year-old Earl Pearly Paulk, and said, “What in the world are we going to do with her? I am afraid we will never be able to raise her,” and then put her face in her little hands and cried because baby Myrtle was born hungry and Addie Mae was at a loss as to how to feed her. When mother was young she would tell it while laughing and say, “I am still hungry”. In later years she would tell it and cry for her Mama, who had gone on to be in heaven. In thinking about how to honor her on her birthday I remembered writing this article the last Mother’s Day she was alive and compared her to what she really was, A Tower. So I am re-posting this and saying Happy Birthday to you Mother, have a wonderful party in heaven!
I typed the word “Tower” into my Google search and more than twenty-one pages of pictures came up! There were towers of every description, the Mile High Tower, the Eiffel Tower and an old landmark, the Leaning Tower of Pisa along with towers carved by nature’s deft hand, such as the Devil’s Tower, towers from all over the world! The description says, “Towers are tall structures almost always taller than they are wide (almost always?).” There are radio and TV signal towers, cell phone towers. There are smaller tower type structures called “Lighthouses”, getting closer now.
The one type of tower I didn’t see mentioned was a tower that, in most of our lives, are towers of light, strength and an unchangeable love, it is the tower of hope, encouragement and help that is our Mother. My mother has been the source of all the above-mentioned elements in the lives of my siblings and me and most of all she was all those things to my dad. There have been times when I saw daddy, back bent from working all day physically building our church, come in so tired he could hardly put one foot in front of the other. A few moments of mother hovering over him and admiring how hard he had worked then placing a big plate of food in front of him and he was a new man. She is fiercely loyal to the ones she loves never wanting to believe anything bad about them. For awhile when some family members made the national news, she firmly denounced the stories saying that she had been told they weren’t true, so that meant they were all just lies perpetrated by jealous people. When, down the road, the reality hit her that there was truth in them, she nearly broke under the grief of it all. But she is resilient and was always able to pop up back like the clown we had as children that you could knock all the way to the floor and it would spring back up smiling!
Some verses from Proverbs 31 says, A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds. Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it. Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long. Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise: “Many women have done wonderful things, but you’ve outclassed them all! “Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God. Give her everything she deserves! Festoon her life with praises!
Moving from church to church, visiting the sick, cleaning church toilets and helping cook dinners to raise money, she has done it all. Without her, life for our family would have been a lot more difficult. God used woman to bring us His own Son in the flesh. In Judges we read about Deborah, a woman who actually judged Israel and without whom Barak refused to go into battle! Women are the “kingpin” (the most important person in a group or place) in a lot of our social endeavors, and for all the good we do, without guidance from the Holy Spirit we are nothing.
Proverbs 14:1 “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands.” On this Mother’s Day she will not realize that she is being celebrated but we celebrate and thank her for all the times she stood by us, we respect her resilience and strength for all the years she stood by daddy who would have been the first to admit that without her by his side, his ministry would not have reached the wonderful level that it reached in their 70 years of marriage! If you are able to have a conversation with your own mother today that you know she understands tell her you love and appreciate her, I tell mine every night but I am not sure she knows what it means…I know she does in her spirit.