The Accompanist: Thoughts on Christian Motherhood

As submitted to the Baptist Record (Official Journal of the Mississippi Baptist Convention)

As a music minister’s child, I remember many a Saturday afternoon filled with the sounds of the hymns and specials which for the next day’s services. I remember Mom’s (Willa) patient accompaniment on the piano to Dad’s (Tom) gifted singing. The result on Sunday was nearly flawless! I have always thought it made great sense for the Lord to bring their gifts together to create a harmony that has lasted nearly 52 years. Though their years are advancing, their love and ministry are stronger than ever.

I have often thought about my Mom and her role in this ministry team. In church, or during programs, Mom will sit at her customary seat on the piano bench, quiet and dignified, while she waits to play her part. But being an accompanist is no “second-fiddle” job. Sure, you may not notice her when all the notes are right, but even the untrained musical ear will shudder if discordant notes are played. Being a Godly wife and mother is a lot like that. You may not even notice her in the background, but just let her leave her family to itself for even a day, and chaos will ensue!

The role of Mother is affirmed many times in Scripture. God informed Mary via the angelic messenger, “Blessed are you among women…” (Luke 1:42) and Jesus reaffirmed it from the cross when he made sure his beloved mother would be taken care of (John 19:26). In this time when the roles of women in society are at times under such fierce debate, Mom is out there every day quietly doing what she considers her calling – to obey God’s command to submit herself to her husband, as to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22). This is no assault on her dignity or social position; it’s an honor and a duty. I believe God laid it out this way to show us how to submit ourselves to God!

A teacher by profession, my Mom gave up her own income while my two brothers and I were little. Money was scarce then, but we never wanted for any necessities. It was a wonderful, happy home, full of love and prayers. Mom and Dad both modeled for us how to be Christian parents. Her greatest gift to me was her crucial role in helping guide me to the cross.

But I also remember how she was to me a pillar of strength despite being struck with life’s cruelest blow – the loss of a child. Her pain on that fateful September day, when an accident took my brother, created a deep wound in her soul. Although her heart was broken, she took to her tasks as wife and mother with grace and dignity. She looked hard for some kind of answer, some reason as to why it had to happen. But never once did I hear her disrespect God or question His Plan. Instead, she and my Dad learned to draw even closer to God, and today they help counsel other parents facing loss of a child. What a testimony to faithfulness!

On this Mother’s Day, we should all spend some time reflecting on just what our mothers mean (or has meant) to us. The sweet accompaniment of our lives by a woman who seeks God’s direction in her sacred task influences us more than we will ever know. If your life has included a Christlike mother, give a prayer of thanks to God, for He has blessed you beyond calculation. Thanks, Lord, for my Mom.

Tom and Willa: 55 Years and Counting!

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