I Remember Mother
I can’t even begin to imagine how Mary
must have felt on the day the angel told her
the Holy Spirit would come upon her and that
she would become the mother of the Messiah.
No doubt many Jewish girls dreamed of
being chosen for such an honor, but they had
no idea of what price would have to be paid
by the maiden who became the mother of
Jesus. How many virgins would have had the
faith and steadfastness in God to receive this
unique ministration of the Holy Spirit? And
how many would have had the strength of
character to endure the shame of being found
with child before her marriage?
What a remarkable person Mary must have
been. No doubt she was the ultimate of
womanhood or God would not have chosen her to
bear His Son. And surely her unswerving
faith and devotion to duty are unexcelled in
the pages of human history.
What a profound inspiration and influence
her life of humble trust in God must have been
for the boy Jesus as He increased in wisdom
and stature (Luke 2:52) during His growing-up
years in Nazareth. The Lord must have
come to know His mother in a very special
way during the nearly 30 years He lived with
her and Joseph.
At the end of His life and ministry, Jesus
must have remembered many things about His
mother. No doubt He recalled her loving con-
cern and patience when she traveled back to
Jerusalem to find Him, at age twelve, still in
the Temple with the elders.
And He must have remembered her trusting
faith and her recognition of His divine
nature at the wedding in Cana. Although He
did not promise to remedy the shortage of
wine (fruit of the vine), Mary confidently told
the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do
it (John 2:5).
Jesus knew Mary’s gracious spirit all of
His life. With His divine nature, He could
also see her heart, for He knew all of mankind.
And yet Mary continued, with dignity, to be
His mother. What a pure life she must have had.
Jesus remembered and respected His
mother. On the cross just before He died, He
looked down and saw her there, when so many
others had forsaken Him. And in the hour of
His greatest agony, carrying the awful burden
of the sins of the world, He remembered Mary
and made provision for her care. Seeing the
Apostle John near her, He said, Woman,
behold thy son! And to John, Behold thy mother!
I remember my mother with every bit of
admiration and respect that I think Jesus had
for His mother. So much of who I am and
what I am is a result of her loving guidance
and positive influence. I first learned love at
Mother’s knee through her touch, her care.
Then she pointed me to the love of Christ, and
I was reared in a Christian home.
It was from Mother’s voice that I first
heard music, which has been such an
important part of my whole life and ministry. In one
of my earliest childhood memories, I am in
her arms and she is singing! I have no doubt
that my love for music came from her — I started
singing when I was 5 years old.
I learned the discipline of my life from
Mother. She never allowed me to sing in
public unless I had my song memorized. I did not
play the piano for others unless I had
Humility was a quality Mother taught me
by example. To this day she has the most
beautiful, unassuming spirit of anyone I know.
To me she is a perfectly blended combination
of the biblical sisters, Mary and Martha. She
always spent time worshiping the Lord — I’ve
walked into her bedroom many times and
found her on her knees or reading her Bible.
But her personal devotions were always
balanced with service to others.
My Mother was — and is — a servant of the
Lord and people. She goes out of her way to
help, and nothing is ever too much for her to
do. I’ve watched her bake for her friends, do
laundry for a sick person, or make phone calls
to encourage others when she was weary
herself. She always would take time to send
cards for funerals, birthdays, or other
occasions when a friendly note would be appreciated.
I remember Mother taking me to church
revivals where I had been invited to sing.
When we walked inside together, she would
say to me, “Go ahead, honey, serve the Lord.”
And she would stay near the back of the
church, not wanting to be noticed.
To this day, at age 83, Mother stays busy
serving the Lord. The staff at our Jack Van
Impe Ministries office love to have her come
around. “Things are just better when she’s
around,” they say. “She lightens the day and
brings an extra measure of love and harmony.”
From Mother, I learned the secret of inner
beauty — of filling my heart and mind with
love and wholesomeness and letting them
permeate my entire being. And I also learned the
importance of always trying to look my best
and having my home clean and in order.
Mother always kept herself beautifully
groomed and modestly dressed, and her home
immaculate. She taught me that appearance is
important because it reflects the kind of
person one truly is inside…and is a testimony —
good or bad — for the Lord.
There are so many other qualities my
mother taught me — tenderness, a sense of
duty, a living expression of the gifts of the
Holy Spirit. Space doesn’t permit a listing of
even half the good things she imparted to me
by instruction and example.
But I must mention one more — I learned
wisdom through my mother. Wisdom comes
from the Lord, according to the Book of
Proverbs. But Mother certainly was a living
symbol of that divinely-given quality. She
almost always had the answers to my
questions, always knew the right thing to do in
every situation, always seemed to know when
to act and when to wait.
And although she didn’t have the opportunity
to complete school when she was young,
later in life she went back to school and took
some business courses. She did it on her own,
just because she wanted a little better formal
education — and because there were still some
things she wanted to know about!
Like Ruth and Naomi
Not only was I blessed with a wonderful
mother, but my mother-in-law and I had a
beautiful relationship as well. I appreciated
her so much. We never had the conflicts that
many women seem to experience. We had
more of a Ruth and Naomi relationship.
My mother-in-law has a very keen sense of
humor and a love of life, which my husband
shares. And she also displays a sweet sense of
trust and faith.
My husband’s parents returned to
Belgium, their homeland, as missionaries, when
their only child, Jack, was 17. He had just
entered Bible school to prepare himself for
the ministry. There were no other Van Impe
relatives in America, and my in-laws had no
money to leave with their young son.
It must have taken a tremendous amount of
faith for Mother Van Impe to leave her only
child and go so far away. She had to commit
him into the hands of God and trust that he
would be all right.
I’ve also respected the fact that my
mother-in-law was never concerned about earthly
possessions. As missionaries, their income
was very limited, requiring many sacrifices,
but she was content. No one ever heard her
complain, or express a desire for a better
house or home furnishings, or clothing. Her
priorities were straight — she was working for
eternal rewards. She has always been precious
to me personally.
A legacy of love
What a tremendous legacy both Dr. Van
Impe and I have received from our mothers.
Each Christmas season when we celebrate
the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, I especially
remember Mother. Let us all remember our
mothers, how they have helped the living
Christ to be born in our hearts.
We can never forget what she has meant to
us. Every day in some way her positive influence
lives on in our lives. As the Prophet
Isaiah wrote, And thine ears shall hear a word
behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in
it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye
turn to the left (Isaiah 30:21).