• Lydia Strickler

Remembering Mom

My mother passed away a year ago.

Last year I wrote this about the woman who loved me most and worked to civilized me.

If I was in trouble her first thought was to defend me BUT her first words were, "What did you do wrong?" Here's my mom:

This woman.

She thought she wasn't smart, talented, or serving enough.

She thought she couldn't teach.

Believing in Christ at age 16, a Presbyterian pastor recommend she go to Bob Jones University. First in her family to graduate with a bachelor's degree, she left home in New Jersey at 17 with $50 and worked her way through a Christian education course at 50¢/hour. Her widowed mother and a friend helped.

She was homesick. She cried herself to sleep every night for six weeks.

Quietly, in her pillow, so her roommates wouldn't know.

She refused to quit.

She knew who she wanted to marry but he hadn't caught on yet.

After graduation she worked for a rescue mission in Lancaster, PA.

Then she went to Chickasaw, AL to be a Methodist pastor's assistant. She was a secretary, pianist, and ran the Sunday School and VBS.

Sometime in those years, he caught on.

After she married, the six children started coming.

She also worked with her husband in children's church at Brighton Community Church in Rochester, New York until they were called to reopen a country church near Geneva in the Finger Lakes region. They kept winning teens to Christ and soon were involved in Rochester Youth For Christ. She led YFC clubs while her husband worked at a good paying printing job. When he was called to start Eastgate YFC, with a faith giving salary, leaving the good job, she followed with joy.

She was the queen of hostesses, a great cook.

She didn't know how to grocery shop.

Since her husband traveled four counties with their one car to teach the clubs, he shopped sales in stores along the way. She cooked what he bought, not only feeding her large family, but also guests of the ministry.

Hundreds of preachers and college ministry teams sat at her table.

She loved music. Her daddy used to have them listen to opera on the radio.

Her sister Eleanor taught her piano.

She could sing!

Her rhythm needed work.

She knew what was funny. Her brothers were great storytellers and she herself could be hilarious. But she was not a show off, so not everyone saw that side of her.

She wasn't a snob. Her compassion reached people of all walks of life.

About that compassion, if you hurt someone she loved,

it took her a long time to forgive. Years.

But eventually, she bowed to the Holy Spirit and forgave the repentant.

Then she felt guilty and had to be assured of Christ's forgiveness for her.

She left New Jersey and went to school in the South during Jim Crow but was pretty clueless, so taking the empty seat at the back of the bus was just common sense to her. She couldn't figure out why people were staring at her.

She sat with her coffee and Bible at the kitchen table. Sometimes other ladies sat there with her while she told them the gospel. She carried a nutshell in her purse. It had the Wordless Book colors on a ribbon so that she could tell children the gospel. She ran Bible clubs and release time from our home and taught me Bible verses I still know.

She also told me fairy tales.

She taught my sister with Down Syndrome to read.

She taught her proper behavior and life skills.

No, she couldn't teach, not at all.

She loved her family and prayed for everyone of us by name.

Pretty sure, Jesus said "Well done, good and faithful servant."

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