Saturday, February 20, 2010

Some Thoughts About My Mother-in-law

This is a photo of Bob & Jane Brower, Ken's parents. We're not exactly sure when it was taken, but think it was about 1995....

A Facebook friend posted a comment Friday afternoon about a Dr. Phil show focusing on ‘in-law’ issues (in particular those involving mothers-in-law). Since I'm not a usual Dr. Phil watcher, I was watching the 5:00 edition of our local news. I’d already heard all I wanted to hear about Tiger Woods’ apology on the noon news that day, however, so I was all too happy to turn the channel to see the program Trish was referencing.

So, I changed the channel and got an eyeful! My goodness! A daughter-in-law and a mother-in-law were verbally lashing out at each other with their husband/son smack in the middle of the feud! After watching it for a few minutes, I wasn’t sure who I pitied most: the mother-in-law, daughter-in-law, or son, as they all seemed to have major issues to resolve.

I can tell you how grateful it made me, though, for my in-laws. I am so blessed and I know it. Kenny’s mom, my mother-in-law, is Jane, and she is wonderful! I love my mother-in-law. When grandchildren came along, she became known as "Nana," and that is what I always call her. I don’t talk with Nana often, but I know if I need her, all I need to do is call her. Through the years she has been supportive and loving and treated me from the beginning like one of her own children. With her I genuinely feel loved and cared for.

For my wedding shower my mother-in-law gave me a beautifully framed piece of art. It’s an artist’s rendering of a lovely young woman, dressed in yellow. It appears to be a southern belle and the following verse is written underneath: “…the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” I Peter 3:4

As much as I would like to think my mother-in-law saw me this way, I certainly never saw myself as such, so I could hardly think she would. (It must have been wishful thinking on her part!). I can tell you, though, that it is how I see my my mother-in-law. It's true; I am one of the lucky ones. You will never hear me telling negative stories about my mother-in-law, about how she interferes or tells us how to run our lives, because she doesn’t, and she never has; it’s just not her style.

I love many attributes of my mother-in-law. Here are just a few of them:

1. Jane loves the Lord and is a true example of someone who is Christ-like. She is an inspiration and a wonderful model of what it means to live as a Christian today.

2. She has shown me a mother’s love. I have known the love of two mothers and for that I am so grateful.

3. She is full of grace. In how she handles herself, greets people, speaks on the phone and just about every way I can imagine, Jane is truly a graceful person. She is never pushy, overbearing or burdensome in any way.

4. She allows her children to be who they are. This is one of the attributes I most admire about Jane. With 5 kids, she has learned well that each child has his or her strengths, differences, likes and dislikes. More than any parent I have ever seen, she never fosters jealousy or pits one child against another in any capacity. She truly accepts each child for the unique person God created. What a gift she is to her children!

5. Children flock to her. I believe kids see “the gentle and quiet spirit” I mentioned before. She draws them like a magnet!

6. She is reassuring. When Matthew was a baby and we had “baby questions,” Jane was often my first source for answers. She was a wealth of information.

7. She never interferes. If we want to go to her, she makes herself available, but she never inserts herself into our business or affairs.

8. She, along with my father-in-law, Bob, raised my wonderful husband. I am so grateful for Jane’s influence on him and for the example she set for him. He is the most amazing person, a true gift from God. I credit his mother so very much for helping make him the man he is today.

Yes, I am blessed, and I know it! I love you, Nana!


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