As we celebrate Mother’s Day this Sunday, May 10, we all think of our own mothers. I had the privilege of seeing my mother, who had always considered herself a Christian, accept Christ as her personal Savior a little later in life.
My mother became a church member at the age of 8. She was very intelligent – later valedictorian of her high school class of 600 at Lorain Senior High School in Ohio. She was “confirmed” in her mainline denominational church at the age of 8. Later she played the organ in church and sang in the choir for years.
Accordingly, I was raised in church – but I never understood what it meant to be “born again” spiritually. During my college years at age 21, I had a dramatic conversion to Christ as my Savior. I was “born again” and called to preach. My first assumption was that my mother would understand my new-found faith. But at first she was resistant. She then watched me and listened to me talk about my relationship with Christ for three years.
Then at the age of 54, she knelt by the couch in our living room and prayed to receive Christ as her personal Savior. The late Rev. William E. Allen, who trained me in the ministry in Mansfield, Ohio, led my mother to Christ. After describing his conversion (in his early 20s) to my mom, he asked her, “Well, Mrs. Wigton, has this ever happened to you?” She declared that it had not – and she was quite willing then to pray to put her faith in Christ as her personal Savior.
When I came to Christ, I immediately quit drinking, smoking, swearing, etc. My life was a living example of II Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ he has become a new creature. Old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.” My mother did not quit drinking, smoking or swearing – because she never did those things to begin with. But I saw a change in her life. She said to me that the blood of Christ now made so much more sense to her – that it fit (in her thinking) like a hand into a glove.
I had the privilege of my mother serving as my church pianist in my first church as pastor. In my 20s, many a Sunday afternoon, I would load a stack of hymnals into the car and take my mother with me and hold a worship service at a local nursing home for the residents. Mom would play the piano, and I would preach.
My mother, Ruth Aten Wigton, went to heaven in January of 1994.
By the way, this Sunday, May 10, is my birthday. I was born on a Saturday night – the day before Mother’s Day. My mom always said I was a Mother’s Day present!