Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bonita Grace Thompson Jenkins (1926-2010)

My brothers and me with Mom two weeks ago. Back: Me, Jay; front: Jim, Mom, Jeoff

Mom’s Old Bible

With yesterday's passing of my mother, I recall one night having taken a good look at her Bible. The crumbling cover and dog-eared pages brought back memories of bedtime prayers. I thought of Mom when she was Mommy.

An inscription from Dad dated the Bible from before my birth. Mom’s maiden name, Bonita G. Thompson, was barely readable on the cover. Two references were penned onto the dirty first page. One – John 3:5 – was unmistakably written by my oldest brother, Jim.

The backward scrawl reminded me of the years when the old Bible was passed around, carried to church, and claimed as “mine” by three different boys. Mom didn’t often get to carry the Bible herself while we were growing up, but we frequently found her reading it at home when we came in from paper routes or baseball games.

On another page is an inscription from Dad. “To Bonnie, in loving remembrance of October 21, 1942 – Your devoted Red. Matthew 19:6.” He had been nearly 19, she 16, when they were engaged. World War II and his 32 months in the Pacific delayed their marriage until December, 1945.

Scanning the pages, I noted several of Mom’s markings, countless underlinings of promises and passages that look to heaven.

The penciled markings had faded, and the inked jottings had bled through to other pages. But the evidence remained of well-listened-to sermons and cherished hours alone in the Word.

On the final page, she wrote “Psalm 37:4,” referring to the verse, “Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” That last inscription is framed by the doodling of youthful hands. One of the desires of Mom’s heart was that her little boys would grow up and do something more profitable with those once-small hands.

Mom’s first desire, she often told us, was that her four sons would make decisions to trust Christ. We have all done that. Mom seemed to always delight herself in the Lord, a continual encouragement to do something constructive with the hands that scribbled in her Bible so many years ago.

Mom’s old Bible reminds me of her hands – hands that held, spanked, mended, and wiped tears; hands that produced a magic knot in the shoelaces on my three-year-old feet.

Mom’s hands turned the pages of her old Bible for me until I learned to read it myself. entually she turned them for her grand-children and great-grandchildren, passing along her love for the Word to yet another generation.

Today Mom delights herself in the very presence of her Lord, and her old Bible has become another evidence of her legacy of faith.


Michele said...

May God comfort you and your family, Jerry, in the passing of your beloved mother. Your tribute to her here reminds me of the old Southern Gospel song, "When Mama Prayed." ("When Mama prayed, heaven paid attention. The angels spread their wings and stood prepared. And once again Satan knew he'd been defeated--'cause God had heard my dear old Mama's prayer!" God bless you!

Deborah Raney said...

This brought tears to my eyes, Jerry, but they were mostly tears of joy...a life well-lived and the one earthly "belonging" you CAN take to Heaven - your kids. So glad you and your brothers could all be together with you mom that one final time. What a blessing. My prayer for my four kids is the same as your mother's.

Keeping your family in my thoughts and prayers.

Brock S. Henning said...

Jerry, thanks for sharing with all of us. What a blessing to know that her legacy has extended through your family and your brothers' families to the far ends of the earth. What an impact.

Our hearts and prayers go out to your family.

The Waggoners said...

That was a beautiful tribute, Uncle Jerry.

Yvonne said...

I'm so blessed myself to "meet" your mother through your words. What a wonderful heritage! It places a responsibility on us to pass it on, doesn't it? Thank you for sharing this with us.

Lord, I thank you for all the godly mothers. Give them strength when the days are long. Give them patience when times are hard. Give them wisdom when we need it most. Amen

Jerry Jenkins said...

Thanks to all. So thrilled for Mom.