My Mother

mom.gifHere we are, approaching another Mother's Day.  In earthly terms, I can't think of anyone more important than moms (even pastors!).  I know I would be in sad, sad shape were it not for the mother of my children, who also happens to be my wife!  (Have to clarify these things in this day and age!)  Think about it for a minute: mothers are primarily the ones who clean the house, cook the meals, change the diapers, discipline the children, give the baths, wash the clothes, decorate the house, transport the children–and that's just part of what they do, not who they are. I read recently that if stay-at-home moms were paid for all the things they do, they should be making $134,000 a year! The average mother with the average amount of household chores typically works about 13 hours a day!  Just stop whatever you're doing and think about that for a minute.  And this is the weaker vessel??

The fact of the matter is, guys, that we're wimps compared to the good women in our lives.  We are absolutely pathetic.

Now, of course, there are women who are a disgrace to the title.  There's nothing worse than a mom who is a louse, an adulterer, or a drunkard.  If you grew up with a mother like this, I'm really sorry.  God's grace can change your mom, and I hope you pray for her often.  There are many moms in the world, also, who have been left in the dirt by a sinful man who found another woman.  I won't state publicly my opinion of what should be done to such a man, but it would be music to my ears–rock music, if you get my drift.  Some of the finest ladies I have ever met are single moms, who faithfully and tenaciously manage both their home, family, and a full-time secular job without the aid of a husband.

But this article is about my mom, Betsy McCrorie, or Betty Lou Musselman if you knew her back in the day.  Simply stated, my mother is one of the finest ladies in the entire world.  I have absolutely NO doubts about that.  Let me share with you why. My mom grew up in southeastern Pennsylvania.  Her parents, Homer and Grace Musselman were and still are Mennonite.  She lived through the cultural revolution of the 1960s and dabbled in much of the worldliness surrounding that era.  I don't know exactly all the vices my mom engaged in during that period in her life, probably because she has never talked about it with me.  You know what?  That's fine with me.  She is a perfect example of forgetting things that are behind.  She was saved at a Christian camp in her teens.  She married a Vietnam vet, David McCrorie, shortly after his return from the battlefield.  They started a family in 1972 with the birth of their first son.  They named him Brian.

They began attending a Grace Brethren church where David was a deacon and both were faithful and active in their church.  Then, in 1979, the first major life change took place.  David was convinced that the Lord was moving him into the ministry.  So, at the age of 30, he packed up his family (now with three children), sold his home, and moved to Indianapolis to attend a small school known at that time as Indiana Baptist College.  The college, started by God's Simple Plan of Salvation author Ford Porter, was affiliated with an Independent Baptist Church named Suburban Baptist Church.  They joined, and their family plugged into the new church.  David again became a deacon and later visitation pastor.  The kids all attended the Christian school.

The second life change occurred in 1983.  David was convinced the Lord was leading him into missionary work; and so, once again, the house was sold, and the family packed up.  This time, they moved into a twenty-seven foot motor home and began to traverse the eastern half of the United States on deputation.  After thirteen months, God graciously provided the necessary monthly support and the family boarded an airplane at Newark International Airport–our final destination: the country of Scotland.

I have to pause here, to reflect on my mother's meanness during my childhood years.  Yes, she was very mean.  She spanked me when I was bad.  Can you believe that!  Spanked ME!  Not only that, but she also was very strict about my homework.  I had to do it EVERY NIGHTBEFORE PLAYTIME!  Oh, and I don't want to overlook this: she made me practice the piano every single day.  It's hard to believe I survived this period of my life. 

Of course…if I wasn't disciplined, I probably wouldn't have a submissive spirit to authority today.  If I hadn't been forced to regularly do my homework, I may not have completed high school, college, and seminary.  Becoming an advanced pianist opened up doors of opportunity in leadership in college, which led to my eventually developing a heart for music ministry and now becoming a music pastor in the greatest church in America.  (OK, I'm a little biased.)  Mom also was a faithful witness to our neighbors, supported us kids when we tried to do little neighborhood Bible meetings in our garage, was active in our local church, and always counseled us kids as life's circumstances came our way.

Well, after 18 years in Scotland starting three churches and now 4 years in Canada, my opinion of my mom has only increased with affection and admiration.  There is no doubt in my mind that my mom is the hardest-working missionary wife on the planet.  She loves people.  She is passionate about truth [In fact (dirty little family secret), I have more theological debates with mom than anyone else!].  She never gives up on people.  I have never known someone with a more faithful devotional habit than my mother.  She is as much a missionary as my father.

Perhaps this is the greatest compliment I can give the world about my mom: her life is consumed with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  She lives and breathes her eternal life more than practically anyone else I know.  She has learned to set her affections on things above and they have stayed focused there for as long as I can remember.

She is not a high-profile ministry woman.  She rarely speaks at conferences.  She hasn't written any books.  She is not flashy in personality or consumed with the latest fashion.  But, her reward will be great in Heaven.  She continually plods behind the scenes, out of the limelight, serving the Lord.  He is so pleased with her life.

That's not to say she has lived a painless life.  All of us children have, I know, grieved her heart at times with our actions.  I know it wasn't easy for her to leave the country, all of her family, all that she knew, and travel thousands of miles to a new land, with a new culture, to give the Gospel in a spiritually cold country.  She has undergone great personal trial in the last year, testing that has pushed her to the limit spiritually and emotionally and physically.  Yet, instead of feeling sorry for herself and giving up on life, she immersed herself in the Word and God has refreshed and assured her.  She persevered through the pain, through the discouragement, through the fatigue, and God is pleased. She is a very loving mom.  Being the firstborn, I, naturally, have spent the most time with her.  Our relationship has wonderfully matured over the years.  At times, I have even had the incredible privilege to counsel her and give her a shoulder on which to lean.  Why shouldn't I?  I love her!

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.  It's been 18 years now since I stayed back in the United States to finish my senior year of high school and you went back to Scotland.  I've lived away from you now longer than I lived with you.  And yet, I have never felt as strongly an attachment to you as I do now.  I only hope that I can be half the Christian and half the parent to my children as you have modeled for me over these almost 34 years now.  Your life has been well lived for the Lord and I know He has much, much more in store for you, both now and in Heaven.  Oh, and by the way, your shepherd's pie is still my favorite meal!

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Wow! Brian now you’ve gone and done it, you made me cry. Bye the way this is Dad commenting. Mom is up at the hospital with a lady, Pat, whose mom Ann (98 yrs. old) fell last night and broke her upper leg bone. I know when she gets home and reads this wonderful compliment you’ve expressed for her, she’ll need a box of tissues. Thank you so much for writing this beautiful token of love for your mom and my wife. Dad

    Reply

  2. “Mom is up at the hospital with a lady, Pat, whose mom Ann (98 yrs. old) fell last night and broke her upper leg bone”

    I rest my case.

    Reply

  3. Posted by patricia beach (pat) on May 14, 2006 at 6:32 am

    Brian, I am that Pat your mom spent several hours with at the hospital on Fri. and then on Sat 12 hours waiting, waiting, waiting-she gave me hugs, prayer, words of encouragement-even brought a purse full of snacks and root beer and water to supply our physical needs. I am blessed beyond words to have Betsy as my pastor’s wife, and special friend. She is indeed a gem, God’s servant and words cannot express the thank you I give for her. She has alwsys put aside her own personal feelings and time for others-Brian you are a blessed man to have a mom like Betsy. Pat

    Reply

  4. Posted by Sue Williams on December 12, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    I was using Google to find old friends, and I searched for Betsy. What a joy to find this blog! Betsy looks just like she did years ago! I also remember her mother, Grace, from when I visited the family in their home in Penna. And yes, I knew her as Betty Lou : ) This article is a beautiful tribute to a beautiful woman. You are all in my prayers. (my maiden name was Ehlert)

    Reply

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