Two grievous truths punctuate and perhaps explain many of the other problem areas of contemporary life. One is the number of children who can never experience a mother's touch because they were murdered before birth. Two is the shocking number of abandoned children who must face the challenges of life without the influence of a mother. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 4 in 10 of all American pregnancies are terminated by abortion, more than 3,000 per day. You can reference their abortion statistics by clicking here. On the second front, it is estimated by the United Nations that 7,000 children are abandoned in the United States every year. You can review this data by clicking here. On this Mother's Day weekend these numbers sadden me greatly.
Of course, there's more. Many children live in homes where abuse, neglect, malnutrition, education, and daily care are long lost or never experienced blessings. Being raised in a Godly home by devoted, caring parents is often considered the luxury of a minority of American children. The down grading of the traditional family over the last forty years is a heart rending statistical fact that no doubt affects many of the other systemic measures. Millions of children never experience the joys of a mother's touch.
Above are pictured the six mother's whose lives have touched mine during my 69+ years of life. On this Mother's Day I am grateful to God for the influence of each---
Vera W. Holmes (pictured top row, left) Paternal Grandmother
Grandmother Holmes birthed and raised three children: Wallace C. Holmes, Chester H. Holmes, Sr., and Ruth Holmes Chastain. She was grandmother to Greg Holmes, Larry Holmes, Sonny Holmes (me), Michael D. Holmes, Christie Holmes Williams, Jana C. Siverling, Scott Chastain (deceased), Barry Chastain, Brad Chastain, and Philip Chastain. We were all blessed by her Godly life and positive influence.
Mollie K. Owens (pictured top row, middle) Maternal Grandmother
Grandmother Owens birthed and raised nine children: Mary O. Thompson (deceased), Elenor O. Roper (deceased), Ansel Owens (deceased) , Joe Owens (deceased), Esther O. Holmes (our mother, deceased), Lewis Owens (deceased), David Owens, Lenard Owens (deceased), and Wilma O. Owings. She was grandmother to Hoyt Thompson, (deceased), Helen T. Orr, Randall Thompson, Brenda Gail T. Counts, Jimmy Roper, John Roper, Charles Roper, Sarah Jane Owens; Brenda Owens, Thresa O. Gilstrap (deceased), Bob Owens, Jenny O. Price, Susan O. Cobb, Diane O. Roaden, Larry Owens, Ken Owens, Sonny Holmes, Michael Holmes, Christie H. Williams, Dale O. Anthony, Wanda O. Foster, Deborah Grady, Scott Owens, Kim O. Fisher (deceased), Beth O. Webb, April O. Duvall, Tena O. Cox, Rebecca O. Sam, and Alan Owens. Grandmother Owens was a Godly pastors wife who influenced this clan with her kind and gentle ways and Christian example.
Elizabeth C. Thomas (pictured top row, right) my wife Harriet's mother
This dear woman birthed and raised Harriet T. Holmes. She died in 1974 and never met her grandchildren Elizabeth H. Carpenter and Brian Holmes (deceased). She was a single mom, school teacher who influenced Harriet and me, and score of school children with her strong work ethic and Godly life.
Esther O. Holmes (pictured bottom row, left) our mother
Esther Holmes birthed and raised Sonny Holmes, Mike Holmes, and Christie H. Williams. She was grandmother to Elizabeth H. Carpenter, Brian Holmes, Matt Holmes, Josh Williams, and Mollie Williams. Our mother also was a Godly woman who taught us about church, life in this world, and the sanctity of marriage. Her Bible was my guide in preaching her funeral in 2008. We learned much from her Godly example and her immense love for all of us. This weekend I will miss her most.
Harriet Thomas Holmes (pictured bottom row, middle) My wife
Harriet birthed and raised Elizabeth H. Carpenter and Brian E. Holmes. She is grandmother to John Lewis Carpenter and Laura Carpenter. For forty-six years Harriet has touched our lives with Godly living, a strong prayer life, commitment to Bible study, and honest counsel. Harriet didn't flinch when we left a business career and entered ministry. She has been the steady mind and heart in these years as a pastor's wife. She is spiritually mature, emotionally grounded, and brings stability to critical situations. Her guidance in the death of our son Brian (2011) has provided a deep grasp of the grieving process. She is my greatest treasure on this Mother's Day.
Elizabeth Hope Holmes Carpenter (pictured bottom row, right) Our daughter
Elizabeth birthed John Lewis Carpenter and Laura Carpenter and is raising them now. Liz has a can-do spirit, a very soft heart, tremendous verbal skills, and a strong love for us, her husband Scott, and our grandchildren. She possesses a deep personal faith which influences those around her and grounds her in biblical principles. She has brought us much joy and happiness in her years and continues to touch us in many ways. We are so thankful for her.
Yes, I've experienced the blessings of many other mothers in our extended families, the four congregations we have served, and in our circle of friends. But, these six have shown me the warmth and joy of a mother's touch. This weekend, I am thankful for each of them in a special way.