Love’s influence

Last night at church my pastor asked for testimonies about people who had shown love to us in a way that influenced and impacted our lives. Most of us could tell about many such people. I rarely work up the nerve to say anything publicly in church, but my mind immediately went to Mrs. C. — I don’t know if she would want her name mentioned on the Internet, so I’ll just call her by that moniker.

I had become a Christian as a teen-ager, and my family was mostly unsaved. On Sunday mornings I would take my younger sisters to Sunday School and church with me, but otherwise I went by myself. My church was my second home, and I think of that time as my childhood in the Lord. The church folks were wonderful to me.

During my sophomore year of college, a new family moved to our area and began attending our church. I met them when I came home for the summer. On Father’s Day several of us were asked to give testimonies about our fathers. I don’t remember what I said except that, with my father being unsaved, there was something missing from our relationship, and I began to give testimony instead to God as my heavenly Father. (If I were to give a similar testimony today I would emphasize that the Lord had taught me to respect my parents, even when they did things that did not invite respect [my father was an alcoholic with a very short temper], and more than that, to love them, and that godly love is the greatest testimony and influence to them. My father did not make himself an easy person to love, yet I do have pleasant memories, especially from early childhood, and there were life lessons he taught me that I appreciate. My testimony of him would be completely different now than what it was then. But maybe that’s another post for another time.)

Afterward this new family, the C. family, spoke to me. They told me if I ever needed someone to talk to, I should feel free to call them. I warned them that I would take them up on that offer. 🙂 At some point they invited me to their home for dinner, and our relationship just grew from there until I began to think of them as my spiritual family.

I don’t think they took me “under their wing” with a view to teach, to instruct, to be an example — I don’t think they saw me as a ministry or a project. I think they were just extending love. But just seeing the example of a godly Christian home was such a tremendous influence on me. I had always, in all my childhood imaginings of what I wanted to be when I grew up and alongside those other aspirations, wanted to be a wife and mother. After I became a Christian I wanted to have a distinctively Christian home. And in the C. household I saw that lived out. I saw the father’s firmness and headship of his family. I saw the children, though normal and not perfect, sinless children, love and respect their parents. I saw a loving cheery atmosphere. But most of all I saw Mrs. C. — her merry heart, her loving submission to her husband, her gentleness with her children, her creativity and industriousness in her home, her servant’s heart at church, and her interest and care for me. She was the same sweet, cheery, helpful, outreaching person in every venue. I began calling her “Mom” (not to replace my mom — I loved my mom dearly — but in a way different from my mom) and her daughter, who was a few years younger and who happened to look like me, and who later was my maid of honor, my sister. To this day she is “Mom C.” Though Mr. C. passed away several years ago, I still keep in touch with Mrs. C. She remembers all of my family’s birthdays and our anniversary.

I don’t know what I would be and what my home would be without her example and influence. I love her dearly.

I’d like to hear your stories of how someone’s love influenced you. I wish my blog host supported “Mr. Linky” if it did I would really do this up big. 🙂 But as it is, if you just want to leave a comment, or write a post on your blog and leave a link to it here, I’d love to read it.

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