I had the great privilege of writing and editing with Bill Bright for 14 years. One my favorite articles of his was one about the three people who had influenced him the most in life: his mother, a single church leader/educator and his wife, Vonette. I am going to let him tell you about each one over the next few weeks.
Last week I posted some of his perspective on Jesus’ view of women. This week we discover how his mother, Mary Lee Bright, had great impact on him. Elsewhere he has written that he attributes his finally coming to Christ to his mother’s persistent prayers.
The first of the three women [who greatly influenced my life]was my mother. I remember her reading to our family gathered around the fire when we were snowbound at the ranch where I grew up. She was familiar with the classics and, as we sat eating popcorn, she read to us. With seven children in the family, there was always a book report due from one of us for school, so we all benefited year-round from her reading.
But I gained much more than an appreciation for good books from my mother. She modeled authentic Christianity before me in dozens of ways. Although we rose early to begin our dawn-to-dusk hard work on the ranch, my mother was always up before the rest of the family, reading the Bible and praying. I remember her softly humming hymns of worship to the Lord all day long, and after the rest of us had gone to bed, she would again read her Bible and pray.
At the time I supposed all mothers were like that. It never occurred to me that mine was unusual. Now, of course, I realize that she was truly one of God’s choicest servants.
Among the many lessons I learned from her were the importance of hard work, a gracious spirit, humility and unselfishly looking after the needs of others. Even though our nearest neighbor was at least a half mile away and others even farther, my mother was always there when a neighbor was ill or hurting.
She also had a great love for her family. We never felt that she singled any of us out as her favorites, but we felt as though we were all her favorites.
We lived about five miles from the nearest community, so I had quite a walk home after athletic practice or school plays. Frequently my mother would meet me about a mile or two from home and we would walk back to the house together, talking about whatever was on my mind.
My mother had a profound spiritual influence on my life. She dedicated me to the Lord before I was born, and her prayers, enhanced by her godly lifestyle, undergirded me daily for the next 62 years, until her death in December, 1983.
Next week we will learn how Dr. Henrietta Mears had significant impact on Bill Bright’s life.
What about you? How did your mother influence you? As a parent, how are you impacting your children?