/ James Faris

The Tender Heart of the Mother

For your encouragement in anticipation of Mothers’ Day, the following are the reflections of D. S. Faris on his mother Nancy Faris (1806-1881) upon her death. Earlier this week, this article highlighted her husband. In a biographical sketch, her son wrote of her life, including her industrious nature and business savvy; these selected paragraphs sample his praise for her motherly virtue. She raised seven sons and one daughter in the fear and admonition of the Lord. May the Lord continue to raise up such mothers:

Her talk to the children was from the heart to the heart. Besides teaching them the catechisms she gave them practical lessons about heaven, hell, God and Christ, justification and good works. From her lips I first learned the sinfulness of sin, and that self-righteousness will not justify.

It is the mother that makes the coming man. Her husband may be the pattern, but she does the molding and finishing. So long as there are sterling mothers, we can be sure of the coming generation. But the decay of womanly virtue brings the wreck of morality and manhood. It may be that woman did her best when she contented herself with giving to the world sons and daughters brought up in the fear of God. Whatever more she may do, this is her proper sphere, in which her best impressions are communicated to the race. Such a mother must needs have been a praying woman.

She was as regular at her morning and evening devotions as the sun to rise and set. Often have I heard the voice of fervent prayer from some closet or out-house, in the gray dawn of morning, and again in the evening twilight. The time she was absent of such duties told of her wrestling in prayer for herself, her husband, her children, and the church of God...She statedly kept family worship, when Father was absent, which was often, and sometimes long. From these family prayers, I learned the things for which she importuned the throne of grace.

It is certain the boys were not afraid of Mother's corrections. They were afraid of Father's. But her tearful talks and entreaties, though not always immediately successful, left us thoroughly convinced we were wicked. If we did not obey, the conscience was aroused to inflict a lasting sting. This tended to morality, if not also to conversion. Severe paternal corrections no doubt served to prevent overt acts of disobedience, and to form a law-abiding habit; but the much intreaty, with tears and brokenness of heart moved the deeper feelings, and laid the foundation for a renewed nature... A child thus trained will always think within itself, when about to act, "What will my parents think?" and a regard for them, but especially for the tender heart of the mother, is a powerful influence for good.

James Faris

James Faris

Child of God. Husband to Elizabeth. Father of six. Pastor of Second Reformed Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. Ordained as a pastor in 2003.

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