By Carolyn Tomlin
Contributing Writer, B&R

The history of Mother’s Day goes back to ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. But the official date of the U.S. holiday is just over 100 years old. Miss Anna Jarvis is recognized as the founder of Mother’s Day. Jarvis never married or had children, but wanted to honor her own mother, Mrs. Anna Marie Jarvis, an activist and social worker. Mrs. Jarvis desired that some day, someone must honor all mothers, living and dead, and pay tribute to the contributions made by them. On May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a Joint Resolution designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

I’ve asked some Tennessee Baptists to provide their thoughts on how their mothers made a difference in their lives.

Zach Young, pastor of worship and music at First Baptist Church, Jackson, says:

“My mother modeled a consistent life of prayer and dedication to her family, even when circumstances would have made it easy to prioritize other things. She is also loyal to our local church, and remains dedicated to working in behind-the-scenes ministries that often go unnoticed. Her pattern of unwavering service is an inspiration to me as I work in vocational ministry. I would encourage mothers to pray and read Scripture at a time and in a place where your children can sometimes see you. Obviously, the “prayer closet” is necessary, but it’s also important for children to have a visible model of the practice of spiritual disciplines.”

Lisa Williams Rogers, chair of the trustees at Union University, Jackson, has this to say about her mother:

“My mother, Brenda Williams, has influenced my life in more ways than I could ever describe. She has always been a source of great strength and encouragement to me and my sisters. Mom taught us to work hard and to do our best in whatever we aspired to do. She made many sacrifices so that we could attend college and pursue our dreams, but I never heard her complain. Every day of my life I have known that she prays for me. My prayer is that I can be the blessing to my children that she has been to me.”

Mike Wakefield, content editor, ministry publications for LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, pays tribute to his mother.

“My mom lost her battle with cancer in June 2014. Although I rejoice that she is with the Lord, her physical absence remains an ache in my heart. My mom was such a steadying force in my life. She was faithful and caring, always putting me and my siblings before herself. She was the picture of sacrificial love, not only to us, but to all who knew her. She pointed us to Christ with great faith and courage all the way to the end. I’m grateful to the Lord to have had Mary Virginia Hanna Wakefield as my mom.”

In paying tribute to our mothers, we can say, “Her children arise and call her blessed” Proverbs 31:28 (NIV).

Tomlin, of Jackson, contributes to the Christian market. E-mail: