Monday, May 12, 2008

A Godly Mother—Ruth Myrant

Yesterday I had the privilege of speaking of my godly mother, Ruth Myrant, in the morning service as part of the Mother’s Day message. I’m sharing what I said to our church family with you today.

The picture is one we took at church one month before she went to be with the Lord. Mom’s children and their families were all together for Christmas. Mom is in the middle, seated. Around her from left to right are: Tara, Richard, and Rebecca Geary; Kathy and Randy; Bob Myrant; Roger and me; Kurt, Kathy, Jared, and Megan Anderson.

Mom’s primary goal and desire in life was to honor God in every detail and to continually be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. Three things stick out when I think of the godly life she lived: she was a woman of the Word, she was a woman of prayer, and she was a woman of service. Since they are all interconnected, it’s hard to separate one from the other.

For as long as I can remember, the first thing Mom did when she woke in the morning was to take her Bible and devotional book, The Daily Light, and a cup of coffee with her to her special chair either in her bedroom or in the living room. She never, ever started a day without that time in the Word. She not only read it, she memorized it, meditated on it, and used it throughout the day to sustain her and us through whatever circumstance or trial we were walking through. We all knew Mom did this, and we thought it was everyone’s usual practice.

Richard, my brother, says he doesn’t remember Mom ever sleeping. She was the first one up every morning, many times before 4:00—especially when she worked the 7 a.m.–3 p.m. shift at the hospital—and she was always the last one to bed at night. Richard likens her to the Proverbs 31 woman who rose while it was still night to provide food for her family and whose lamp did not go out at night. God came first in her life, then her family. Because she had a difficult marriage due to my dad’s mental illness, she knew she couldn’t do anything without God’s strength. Even when she was legally blind because of multiple eye problems, she spent time in the Word—either with her large-print edition or the Bible on tape. Richard also noted that she entered into Jesus’ presence at the time we knew was her early morning time with Him—6:00 a.m.

Mom even used the Word when she disciplined us. One specific time I remember—I was eleven or twelve—was when I lost my temper and threw my doll across my bedroom. Well, the doll hit the wall: I was left with her plastic foot and lower leg in my hand, facing certain punishment. Mom sent me to her room and made me wait. From my perspective now, I know she spent that time I waited praying for direction on how to deal with me. My temper, and the resulting words and actions, was a major problem that was growing worse, not improving. Finally Mom came into the room, but instead of giving me the spanking I expected, she sat down and opened her Bible to Psalm 45:13 where the psalmist gives a description of the bride coming to her royal bridegroom. The one sentence that she focused on is “The King’s daughter is all glorious within.” She used my fascination with all things pertaining to royalty to explain to me that as a child of God I was a princess. But I wasn’t acting like one, nor did the beauty that God saw in me shine forth because of the anger, bitterness, and wrong thinking that fueled my temper.

That one conversation with Mom was the beginning of my allowing God to tame my tongue and my temper. A few years ago, discouraged that I still fight that particular battle, I asked Mom if she remembered that incident. She didn’t, and she was amazed that something so seemingly insignificant had made such an impact on me. But I knew as a child, maybe for the first time, the effect God’s Word had on Mom’s life and on mine as a result.

Very closely related to being a woman of the Word, Mom was also a woman of prayer. Prayer was integral to her. She truly lived “pray without ceasing.” This was more and more apparent toward the end of her life, as she had to give up active service little by little. She set aside time each day for specific and directed prayer, not just for herself and her family, but for everyone who crossed paths with her. If she told someone she would be praying, you could count on it. Mom compiled a prayer journal that at the time of her death was a notebook about three inches thick. A few weeks after she died, I went through it and was amazed and humbled by the details the book contains. I learned that while she prayed for me, and my family, every day, she specifically prayed for us on Sunday. I’d wondered why Sundays had been so difficult after she died. That’s why. My prayer warrior had gone to be with the Lord, sitting at His feet, and I’m sure she’s still interceding for us. My brother’s day was Monday. My sister’s was Tuesday. Through prayer, she was our encourager to pursue godliness in our own lives, our cheerleader when she saw us living out the purposes God had called us to, and our defender against the enemy of our souls.

Each of our pastors had a page in the notebook devoted to them and their families. She had specific days she prayed for each one as well. As she did with many missionaries she came into contact with over the years. Many of you, her brothers and sisters in the Lord, were in her journal. This week my daughter Kathy said this about her grandmother: Grandma always had a way about her that you could tell she was in constant contact with her Savior. In the way she talked . . . and carried herself and lived, it was always very evident to me, even from a young age. If someone ever asks me who my hero is, I say Grandma because she was the godliest person I know.

Finally, Mom was a woman of Christ-centered service. She willingly served God from the time she was old enough to learn of the miracles God worked on her behalf even at her birth. When she was three days old she had surgery for a life-threatening genetic condition she was born with. Very few doctors would perform this surgery on one so small. The problem was considered a fatal one in the 1930s. In fact, she was the first baby that young to ever survive the surgery. My grandparents, and later Mom, knew God had a special purpose for her.

Over her lifetime, she willingly served God as a daughter, sister, pastor’s wife, missionary, nurse, mother to three children, stepmother to many more, grandmother, and friend to many. She was widowed twice, and then left her third husband a widower.

She taught Sunday school, ran children’s ministry, played the piano or organ in many ministries, sang in many church choirs, and was a soloist. She assisted my father in planting two churches in Peru and one in Nebraska and continued to have an active role in missions, even after she was no longer serving full-time on the mission field. She knew that everywhere she went she was a witness for the Lord. My sister Kathy pointed out that the biggest frustration she had in her later years was when her health would no longer allow her to actively serve the Lord. Everywhere Mom went, whether to the store or out to eat, she constantly spoke of the Lord to others. Bob has told me that after she died, several of the waitresses and waiters in the restaurants they frequented missed being able to share their problems and concerns with her. They knew she cared, even though she didn’t know them well.

Mom’s life wasn’t easy. Yet in every situation she saw God’s faithfulness, His goodness, and His love. And even though she feared at times to go through difficult circumstances as it seemed God was leading, she found her strength once again in His Word and in prayer. For Mom’s 70th birthday, Randy wrote a letter to her in which he summarized her godliness in service to Christ and others: “Thank you for allowing God to work in you. I know you would take credit for none of the things I’ve mentioned; you would quietly thank me for my kind words and praise God for the lives He’s impacted through you. Your humility and desire to glorify God in all things is evidence of your surrender to him.”

There’s so much more I could say about Mom’s godly life, but there isn’t time. Her godly influence in the lives of her children, grandchildren, other family members—in every life she touched—continues to live on. I am blessed and challenged because of her goal in life, the one we had engraved on her gravestone as a continued witness: Philippians 1:21—For to me to live is Christ, to die is gain.

Daily Bible reading (two weeks because of CCWC this week):
Tuesday, May 13—1 Kings 3–5; Matthew 6:19–34
Wednesday, May 14—1 Kings 6–7; Matthew 7
Thursday, May 15—1 Kings 8-–9; Matthew 8:1–17
Friday, May 16—1 Kings 10–11; Matthew 8:18–34
Saturday, May 17—1 Kings 12-–13; Matthew 9:1–17
Sunday, May 18—1 Kings 14–15; Matthew 9:18–38
Monday, May 19—1 Kings 16–18; Matthew 10:1–20

Tuesday, May 20—1 Kings 19–20; Matthew 10:21–42
Wednesday, May 21—1 Kings 21–22; Matthew 11
Thursday, May 22—2 Kings 1–3; Matthew 12:1–23
Friday, May 23—2 Kings 4–6; Matthew 12:24–50
Saturday, May 24—2 Kings 7–9; Matthew 13:1–30
Sunday, May 25—2 Kings 10-–12; Matthew 13:31–58
Monday, May 26—2 Kings 13–14; Matthew 14:1–21


Eileen said...

What an amazing heritage. It was a privilege to meet your mom!

donnarobinson said...

You do have a wonderful heritage. And I'm sure your husband and children "rise up and call you blessed" too! (Proverbs 31:28)

May the Lord bless!