This weekend we are once again reminded of a blessing we have each received: the blessing of a mother who God used to give us life. This celebration of moms is not limited to a biological distinction. Mother’s Day is best celebrated when we remember women of meaning and influence in our lives.

I’m reminded of a woman from my home congregation, Edna Stanzel. As long as I could remember she was one of the “church ladies.” Edna was one of half-dozen or so seniors who attended worship every single week. I can’t tell you what caused our connection (maybe my youthful charm), but Edna took an interest in me, and we hit it off. Edna was one of the first to tell me I should be a pastor. She was also one of the first to tell me to slow down when I spoke so people could understand me.

Edna was old when I met her. I have no memories of her before she had the classic white hair with the curled perm. Our nearly 80 year age difference didn’t stop us from connecting at church and eventually out of church. As she aged, my mother would take me to her care facility where I would lead bingo or play cards. I would go past her window when I walked home from school and maybe wave at her looking out or stop in for a few minutes. I was also certain she was the one who would rat me out if I caused trouble walking home from school.

Eventually, on my 16th birthday, Edna’s family asked me to serve as a pall bearer at her funeral and gave me one of her personal Bibles. Edna is one of the reasons I’m a pastor today, not only because she said I should be, but because she prayed for it faithfully. She invested in me as a young man and that faithful influence has never been forgotten.

Mothers come in all types, and rest assured, my biological mother has been an inspiration and blessing in her own right. But “mothers’” true nurtures and influencers come in all varieties. Maybe you could be the “Edna” in another person’s life? Maybe you are an Edna. Don’t stop, even if you never see the fruits of your labor!

Regardless, take a minute this Mother’s Day to thank the women who have made a meaningful impact in your life. Thank You, God, for the many women of faith that pray, love and serve in Jesus’ name. Amen.