My mom was born in the Delta of Mississippi on March 19, 1945, to H.E., Sr., and Isabelle Mitchell. She grew up working hard on the farm near Leland. Christ and the Bible were always at the center of the home, which she shared with two older brothers and two younger sisters. In 1962, she met my dad, a freshman Bible major from Freed-Hardeman College who came home with his buddy, her brother Larry, to Mississippi. Dad preached his second-ever sermon at Leland that Sunday, and dad and mom met. There was a spark between them strong enough that mom decided to attend FHC in 1963. They married in 1964, and mom has lived life as a preacher’s wife since then, setting up house in various places in Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, West Virginia, North Carolina, but mostly Georgia. She raised three children to adulthood as well as caring for three foster-children. She’s the master of cooking and living frugally, but we never felt deprived. She has been a master with a sewing machine, making many articles of clothing for my older sister, younger brother, and me. Yet, above all, she put Christ in our hearts from an early age. Though dad is retired from full-time work a few years ago, the church and Christian service are still at the heart of who they are.
Below is a poem I wrote for her on Mother’s Day, 2014. It still seems appropriate today on her 77th birthday. I could not be more proud of my mom, usually quiet and in the background, but one of the biggest-hearted, servant-minded people you will ever know.
Not a day goes by but that I remember something you said
Or did or showed me. I often play it out in my head
From when you read story books or sang to me
Or made breakfast for supper or tended a scraped knee
Peanut butter and chocolate sandwiches made me smile
Or strolls in the woods, identifying trees or flowers by the mile
When you helped me plant potatoes and saw me throw the cat
Or told me riddles and old sayings, cut my hair while I squirmingly sat
You made much of little but it felt like we had an abundant plenty
And you knew how to treat me when I was five, twelve and twenty
Homemade clothes I was proud of, and your gentle kind way
Mom, you’ve blessed me and shaped me. God bless you this day!