By Sherry Bradshaw
Special to Inside The Pew

Our experiences shape us. NO doubt about it. I am convinced that one reason I have started most every day of my life with a positive outlook is because of theSherry Bradshaw, author of The Front Nine: Making Your Shots Count in Life experience my mother provided. I am not sure she even knew what the result would be when she was actually living it and leaving an everlasting imprint and impression.

It was the experience of the way I woke up most mornings in our home….to the song of…”This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it, whatever it brings there is a song you can sing…you may get tired but don’t fret! Nature is dawning a new day is yawning the sun will be coming up soon, if there is a mountain I will climb it or a valley I will walk through it to wish the top of the morning to you.” Yes, that is how I woke up every day. God used my mother and that defining moment to shape my outlook…daily and in all aspects of life. At 52, I marvel at how many times I wake up with that song in my mind and my heart. I am 52 and haven’t lived under her roof for the last 28 years.

Psychological research suggests that one’s self-concept is defined by a very small number of experiences. Ninety-nine percent of life’s experiences vanish like a vapor into the subconscious. Only 1 percent make it into our conscious memories and less than that, 1 percent of that 1 percent are not just memorable, but truly unforgettable. Those are the moments that they say define us. The positive or negative repetitive experiences can have a lasting impact, depending on how dramatic they are in our lives.

There is no doubt in my mind, now at 52, that my mother’s positive input had a profound effect on the way I have always viewed my day and, thus, my life. I believe God can use every past experience in preparation for our future opportunities. And one way God helps to redeem the past, especially if it is less than good, is by helping us see it through His eyes. His providence, His provision. In light of the enemy and the effects of sin on our lives, either our sin or that of others, HE is willing and more than capable of “using all things for His good, our good and His glory.”

“God causes all things to work for good for those who love him and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

I encourage you today to truly grasp that God is a God who makes things new. Lamentations 3:22-24, “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I hope in Him!’”

HE is the only one who can make us white as snow. His GRACE can takes us to new and exciting places….to soar…as eagles. Whether or not you were blessed, like my sister and I, with a positive ….mom…YOU can choose to be positive…to imprint the Good.

God can be the enabler to help you do this for yourself and others. He is all powerful and can reshape our thinking and our lives. Read the book of John and then the book of James. Jesus is still in the miracle business. He can take the negative in our lives and “flip flop” it into something incredible. It is called surrender!

Look to Jesus today…Surrender…to the ultimate positive…a life…that Jesus created to be significant…He will show you…He never disappoints.

Sherry Bradshaw is author of “The Front Nine: Making Your Shots Count in Life” and founder of Back 9 Ministries. Bradshaw, a native of Columbia, S.C., is a former first runner-up in the Miss America pageant. She speaks at corporate events, schools, churches, and community organization events.

By Bill Ellis
Special to ASSIST News Service

SCOTT DEPOT, W.V. (ANS) — Recently, I read this startling statement, “37%” of parents who went to church as children doHappy Mother's Day not take their own children to church.” They added this question, “Think every American child knows the words to ‘Jesus Loves Me?’ Think again.”

It is hard to imagine a mother or father who was ever active in a Sunday School or church not leading their own children into such life-changing experiences. If the parents do not, who will?

Grandmother Ellis, with whom my parents lived with when I was born, always lived close to us and was cared for in our home during her last few years. Special memories include spending nights at her house, her large biscuits and delicious fried-apple pies and being taught by her to read the Bible.

Grandmother Perry always had things I liked when I would spend the night with her and grandpa. My favorites were molasses cookies, crisp baked pork rinds and milk, direct from the cow, that grandpa and I would enjoy with cornbread before going to bed.

I relished the times when my mother would read to me. She read each night from a Bible story book what I thought were the most exciting stories I ever heard. She took care of her house. Clothes were sometimes washed in a tub with a washboard. It was a happy day when she got a new electric washing machine. The clothes were hung out to dry. Once dried, she would carefully iron out the wrinkles.

Mom was a superb cook. She made excellent cornbread and the most delicious hot rolls I have ever eaten. She often mailed tastyBill Ellis chocolate chip cookies to me when I was in college.

Before Kitty and I were married, her mother, Sara, wife of businessman Luke Harshbarger, caught my attention. She was a musician, excellent seamstress, knowledgeable, terrific cook and the mother of four daughters and one son.

Kitty is a lot like her mother. She is the most beautiful, talented, versatile and intelligent woman I have ever met. I do not know of anything she cannot do. All that her mother and mother-in-law ever did for their children, she has done for her children and husband.

These important women in my life are the embodiment of the message St. Paul sent to young Timothy: “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5 NIV).

Mothers are honored because of their great love and the tremendous difference they make in the lives of their children and grandchildren.

Bill Ellis is a syndicated columnist, and convention and conference speaker on every continent. He is the writer of more than 2,000 newspaper and magazine columns, articles, and contributions to books.

Editor’s note: The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not of the staff of Inside The Pew.

By La Vonne Earl
Special to Inside The Pew

Now that Mother’s Day has come and gone, many are able to breathe again. Mother’s Day is filled with mixed emotions for many people who have

La Vonne Earl

endured relationships that would be considered anything but perfect. In Hector Tobar’s article depicting the play “Cafe Vida,” he conveys the story of three moms that have endured homelessness, prison, and drug abuse. He gives a glimpse of what life was like for them. The guilt and torment that they have suffered knowing that they were not the best of mothers due largely to the life they lived. They are working on changing not only their future, but that of their children. One of the mothers, Alfaro mentions “for all the pain I was in, I knew there had to be something beautiful for me. By the grace of God, I found it.”

These are only but three of many moms that have suffered the painful things in their life that most of their children know nothing about.

Some, like these mothers, have found God’s grace and have changed their lives and continue to break the patterns to improve their children’s lives. Others continue to repeat the patterns by holding onto resentment and pain. In a study I have participated in for sexually abused women, author and counselor John Eldredge reminds us that every woman who is callused and cold on the outside is a woman who has suffered some form of abuse. We must remember that hurt people, hurt other people.

It is not always easy to tap into the pain and seek to console the woman who has the tough outer shell. For this reason most of these women live lonely and desolate lives as many tire of trying to form a relationship. For those of us children that long for that deep relationship with our mothers this is not an easy situation. But God’s grace is sufficient. If you will allow Him to fill you with His love, He will give to your mother what you alone cannot, forgiveness and love. Only He can offer the unconditional love that is life transforming. “Love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). We must follow Christ example and offer our Mothers the unconditional love and forgiveness that even we ourselves do not deserve.

In the end, we form our families and create the life that we desire. God tells us in scripture to proclaim that which we desire. “Call those things which be not as though they were” (Roman 4:17). We all create our own reality with our thoughts and feelings, so beware. Using your imagination for God’s glory by creating and seeing in your mind the beauty that is the true identity of your mother will increase the love that she feels coming from you! This is what brings healing and transformation.

Continue to pray, create and transform your relationships and your life! This will bring God’s Kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).

California resident La Vonne Earl is a certified Christian life coach and counselor. A former Mormon, she has studied neuro linguistics programming, Sozo healing, and other avenues to bring healing into the lives of many. You may contact her at lavonne@yourkingdominheritance.com.