faithful man (woman) shall abound with blessings: but he (she) that
maketh a haste to be rich shall not be innocent."
- Proverbs 28:20
This month, Mother's Day is celebrated in
Mexico on May 10th and in most of the rest of the world on May 13th.
This year I celebrated the life of my mother on May 2nd. This was
the day of my mother's funeral as she had made her transition at 4:46
p.m. on April 29, 2007. My mother is Mrs. Frances M. Bates ...
"Mrs. Bates" to most of the people who have been blessed to
She was born just a few years before the Great Depression in 1923, in
one of the most economically depressed areas in the state of Missouri,
U.S.A. ... living through the depression she never forgot the value of
the instruction, "waste not, want not." She married Glen
W. Bates on August 4, 1942. She was eighteen years old and he was
thirty-two when they married. She was soon to find out that when
he told her he wanted to have twelve children ... he was not kidding.
She had agreed to have them with him. And so they set out together
to build their life on a farm in southern Missouri. And within a
few short years they relocated to Paris, Missouri, and to some of the
richest farmland in Mid-Missouri. Their consciousness was shifting
towards success and prosperity ... and this move represented their faith
in their ability to succeed.
Never having been taught the skills of a seamstress, she
hand-made the clothes for her small children; prepared three meals each
day; baked cakes and pies without the modern convenience of packaged
foods, and worked a garden that supplied the fruits and vegetables for
her growing family. During planting season she walked across the
fields to take her husband his lunch. Her attitude was one of
determination and strength. She was happy in her place in life and
her family and environment reflected this happiness. She was
faithful to her husband, to her children and to her God. She and
her husband shared a great faith in God and a wariness of religion.
Although they admired and respected Dr. Billy Graham, they did not share
his theology fully. Their relationship with God could be summed up
in the belief that "God helps those who help themselves."
And in this they were certain. Not only did they help themselves,
but they helped their neighbors and provided a home for her husband's
elderly relatives on their farm. They shared a great commitment to
My mother didn't have the great ambitions that
my father had, but she was faithful to him and followed him in all that
he did. As the family farm grew to accommodate the growing family,
finances could be very tight, but there was never a struggle. She
worked with whatever money was available and provided food and clothing
for her children and her husband. Looking back to the
"lean" years, my father once remarked that he didn't know how
she did it. She always made enough out of so little. There
were periods of time when the farm suffered drought after drought, and
the harvest was very small, we endured financial poverty ... but we were
never poor. If someone had told me we were, I would have been
amazed. Our life was rich in so many ways ... ways that had
nothing to do with money, but with the "spirit" that was
always a part of our daily experience. And this was greatly due to
the sense of hope that always permeated the thought atmosphere generated
by my mother and father. Our mother never let us complain for long
about anything. Dwelling on what we did not have was not something
that she would entertain in her mind. Sunday afternoons she would
read to us from the Bible ... the Book of Ruth being her favorite ...
and I will always remember the lessons of faith and determination that
were weaved through these readings. To my mother, the experiences
of the people in the Bible were as real as our own ... and it was during
this time that I realized the enduring value contained in this great
My parents' dedication to their family and
their farm paid off for them. The days of financial lack ended and
success and prosperity followed. When my father retired they moved
into the City of Mexico, Missouri, to a nearly-new house on a prime
corner lot in one of the finest neighborhoods. The home was fully
paid for within three months. This was their consciousness of
My father made his
transition in 1980. And for the past 27 years, my mother was the
glue that kept her family together. She and my father had their
twelve children. And when my mother made her transition she was
survived by these twelve children; twenty grandchildren, twenty-two
great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren. Her
family and husband were the loves of her life. She had a great
capacity for love ... and God had blessed her accordingly. She had
a powerful faith ... so powerful, that when she stated that her minister
son (me), would perform her funeral services, it never occurred to her
that he would not. For in her faithfulness to her children, she
was assured they would be faithful to her.
AND SO IT IS!
Henry Lee Bates