How to Be a “True Christian” Mother-in-Law

Over time, a family with four sons develops a unique tone, a guy-culture with a certain decibel level and a distinct way of doing life. As a mother of some now-married sons, it has been a joy to welcome other women into this circle, women who love my sons well and have also opened their hearts to me.

Of course, the messy flip side of this blessing is the requirement that I acknowledge and appreciate another woman’s way of doing things—important things like parenting my grandchildren, feeding a family, and managing a home. Just as I have prayed for twenty-five years for grace to be a good mother, I am now trusting for grace to be a good mother-in-law. Wisdom for this challenge flows in abundance from one of Paul’s lists in the book of Romans.  Some translators have labeled Romans 12:9-21 “Marks of the True Christian.” I can’t think of any better advice for women striving to be good Christian mothers-in-law.

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” (Romans 12:9)

In the same spirit as Paul’s command to “let love be genuine,” Amy Carmichael prayed:

“Love through me, Love of God.
Make me like Thy clear air
Through which, unhindered, colors pass
As though it were not there.


I’m teaming up with Desiring God today to share more of Paul’s admonitions from Romans 12 and how they have applied to my life as a mother-in-law-in-training. I hope you’ll join me there to continue reading!

Rejoicing in hope,

Michele Morin

Photo by Khongor Ganbold on Unsplash

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Remembering Grammy Morin on Her Birthday

**This post was written in 2014, the year my grandson was born. He will be four this week, and his great-grandmother would have had her 100th birthday two days prior to his big day. I’m updating this post in her honor and memory.**

Fall 2014

I spent some time today making curtains for my grandson’s bedroom.  I have to go back and re-read that sentence, because he has not been born yet (due October 14), and my mind and my heart are not yet one on this matter of grandparent-hood.  I doubt if my grandson will notice that the hem is not exactly perfect or that the header is not perfectly exact. There are, apparently, rules for such things, but I do not know them.

My mother-in-law knew all the rules for sewing, and when I sew, I always think about her.  (It keeps me from thinking bad words.)  She loved to sew and did so in a way that I can only describe as reverent.  Occasionally, it became necessary for her to consecrate the entire living room with a sewing project.  I still have a bathrobe she made for me nearly twenty-five years ago.  She presented it as an offering of love both to me and to the Lord, and I received it as such.

So many things have happened since Ma went to heaven.  Two of my sons have no memory of her, but they know about her nonetheless, because her memory is part of our family lore.  Her love for me, her daughter-in-law, was one of the greatest blessings I received with the gift that is my husband.  “She’s mine!”  Ma declared sometime after our engagement, and she spoke the truth.

Strong-minded and passionately interested in every detail of our lives, she shared her opinions freely.  For whatever reason, this never seemed oppressive, and I never felt condemnation if we chose to disregard her advice.  Most of the time, we were thrilled to have someone who delighted to be in our orbit, for whom no detail was too inconsequential to share.

What did you have to eat?  How many jars of beans did you can?  How many is that in all?

She would want to know that my grandson’s curtains are yellow with tiny John Deere tractors in parade formation.  She would undoubtedly have noticed the irregularities of header and hem, but she would have held her peace.

By some miracle of bequest, I have her sewing machine.  It knows more about sewing than I do, and if I left it switched on, I’m sure it would manage just fine without me, but I know this:  Ma would be glad that I am using it today to sew curtains for her great-grandson.  She would also like knowing that I am about to join the “Grammy Morin” club, because that is what my grandson will call me.  This, like the sewing machine, is a miracle of bequest, a title too weighty for me to carry because it still has a life of its own.  Still, somehow, I think the burden will be light because I saw what it takes to be a “Grammy Morin” by watching the original, and thus we carry burdens of being which are beyond us.  I am a following sheep, an inhabitant of the Kingdom of God, and a bearer of fruit because I know Shepherd and Door and Vine.  I do none of these things with perfection — irregularities of header and hem abound on every level — but they are an offering, and, like my grandson’s curtains and my twenty-five year old bathrobe, they are an offering of love.

Happy birthday, Ma.  We miss you.


Afterword:

Fall 2018 —  Great Grammy Morin would be pleased to know that I recently made yet another curtain, this time for a granddaughter. Oh, and they don’t call me Grammy Morin—for now, I’m “Bam.”

Thankful for the gift of Ma, 

 

If you enjoy reading Living Our Days, subscribe to get regular content delivered to your inbox. Just enter your e-mail address in the field at the top of this page.

I link-up with a number of blogging communities on a regular basis. They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week. I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.