Voices: My mother, my mentor

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Growing up, I always wanted to be like my mother. I admired her beauty, her strength, her style, her magnetism and most importantly her walk with the Lord.

She took us to church even when my father had to work or didn’t quite feel up to going. She had two girls, my younger sister and me. She wanted to be sure we were saved and knew the Lord for ourselves.

Going to church was priority for our family. There was nothing else scheduled for Sundays. As a matter of fact, she spent all day Saturday preparing.

She made sure our dresses and “church socks” were cleaned and on many occasions bought us something new to wear. She made Daddy polish and shine our “church shoes.” We even stayed up late Saturday nights to get our hair rolled so we could have curls for church.

She taught us how a lady should carry and govern herself both inside and outside the church. Looking back, my mother wanted to be sure we offered God our very best. Years later, I am grateful.

Church training

She coached and encouraged me as an active member of the junior choir and regular participant on special church programs. Many days before computers, she and I used stencils to work on handmade banners for the church’s Easter and Christmas programs.

Neither one of us realized God was using her to prepare me for the ministry assignment I now have as I walk alongside my husband, who serves as senior pastor of The Fort Bend Church. I serve as the executive director. The “church training” she put me through has helped me so much.

We both laugh and talk about it now with a grateful heart. We had no clue what God was up to.

She taught me how to serve the Lord and others with a spirit of excellence. She demonstrated love alive. She didn’t mind detouring to pick up a member who couldn’t drive or didn’t have a car.

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To this day, I am not shy about standing before our congregation to do announcements or sometimes to exhort others in celebration of the goodness of the Lord because of the confidence she taught me to have that only God can give. She reminded me always to lean on the Lord for strength and courage.

God’s strength is her strength

She and my father were married more than 40 years before he went home to be with the Lord in January 2008. They were very close and the best parents a girl could have. I didn’t know how Daddy’s death truly would impact my mother, my sister and me. I can testify that by the grace of God, Daddy’s death gave my mother even greater strength as a warrior for the Lord, because she had no choice than to renew her strength in God.

I am so thankful for my mother. She prays for me daily. We talk every day, several times a day. She keeps my heart encouraged and reminds me to remain grounded in my work for the kingdom of God.

I still am learning from her, seeing the key to God’s favor over her the past 75 years is her routine of regular exercise, multiple naps a day, service to others and spending time in prayer and study throughout the day.

Although we live in different cities, every chance I get to see her, I choose to honor her with fresh flowers while she can enjoy them, because God continues to use her to bring a freshness to my life as I walk this Christian journey as a wife, mother, friend and most importantly as a servant of the Most High God.

I salute my mother, my mentor—Betty Jean Posey Taylor.

Sonya Stevenson is the executive director of The Fort Bend Church in Sugar Land, Texas, the president and founder of The Kaleidoscope Foundation, and a member of the Baptist Standard board of directors. The views expressed are those solely of the author.

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