Below is the first in a series of guest posts and thoughts on the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship. This post, written by Kim Shay, was such a blessing to me and I pray it is to you as well. So many good things to take from this. Be sure to skip over to the links at the bottom of the post to check out some of Kim’s other writing.
I began dating my husband in 1984. I liked him because there was something very different about him. When I found out he was a Christian, I was even more interested, because I wanted to know who Jesus was.
After a few months, I wanted to meet his family. He had met mine, and I could not understand why he was so hesitant to introduce me to his. I know now that it was because he knew his parents would not approve of him dating an unconverted girl. When it became an issue of “you either introduce me or we’re through,” he took me to meet them.
As a mother myself now, I can only imagine what it was like for her to meet me. Her son, who should have known better, had brought home an unbelieving girl. This is the not the ideal situation. What she thought, I don’t know, but not once did she give a hint of the angst she must have felt.
When she discovered that I had an interest in spiritual things, she was happy to answer my questions. She purchased a bible for me; a burgundy, leather, King James Bible. As I opened it, I saw the notation she had made directing me to a verse. At that verse, there was a note to go to another verse; and so on. She had basically given me the gospel message. She gave me that bible at the end of March of 1985. I was converted in May 1985.
She had no idea that this unbelieving girl who had been brought into her life longed to understand who God was, who Jesus Christ was. All she knew was that here was a young woman in need of a Savior. Despite the fact that she was probably not entirely happy with her son, she treated me with love and grace. I was always treated with kindness every time I saw her from the very first occasion meeting her. She could have been cold toward me, mistrustful, wondering what kind of awful influence I was going to be, but she did not do that. She chose grace.
Later, I was a young woman redeemed, but still with many rough edges: I didn’t always say the right thing, I didn’t always dress with the most modest of attire, and I talked too much. But she never lost patience with me. Her desire for me was to grow in the things of God.
She has continued to show grace with my children. Teenagers often make bad decisions, and my kids were no different. She never criticized or rejected them, but loved them as a grandmother, showing an interest in their lives. Even when I am quite certain she didn’t like what they were doing, she loved them, and let them know it. It’s not always easy loving a teenager, but she always managed to look past whatever immaturity was there.
My mother-in-law has loved me well because above all, she loves the Lord. There is not a doubt in my mind that her source of life and breath is in the relationship she has with Christ. The reason why she has been so patient with me is because she loves me as Christ loves her. A lot of mothers, when their kids bring home unbelieving friends, want to chase them away. I have known some who threaten to cut off contact unless the unsaved friend goes. I’m so thankful my mother-in-law did not hesitate to embrace me, even when I know it was hard to accept me initially.
My mother-in-law continues to overlook my faults, my outspoken nature, my lingering tendency to talk too much. She continues to be a loving woman to the girl who still has a lot of rough edges. She has been my example in so many ways. I have one of the very best pieces of her: her son, who is so much like her. I guess I’m doubly blessed.
In my room, I have a cedar chest that belonged to my grandmother. Inside, I have a collection of precious items: things like the kids’ favourite stuffed toys, a blanket that was mine as a baby, my wedding shoes. Also among this collection is a very battered King James bible that was used to guide me to Christ, her gift to me. It was a gift of grace that continues. I’m so thankful for my mother-in-law.
Kim has been married for 26 years to her husband, Neil, and has three young adult children. She is a bible teacher and blogger, and lives in southern Ontario, Canada. She blogs regularly at The Upward Call, Out of the Ordinary, and is a contributor at Karis.