There is no doubt about it, mothers can be a powerful influence — especially when it comes to a child’s faith.
The Royal Gazette asked people to share the biggest spiritual lessons taught to them by their mom and how they impacted their life.
Travis Caines and his siblings, Shereen, Dwayne and Wayne, regularly saw their mom, Shurnett, living out her faith.
“I think the most important lesson my mother taught me about God is based on her favourite Bible text: ‘Oh taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man that trusteth in Him’. To me, my foundation is based on my faith. God is the source of my strength, intellect, and philosophy of life.
“Being raised in a Christian home, seeing my mom’s faith and watching how God’s grace and mercy extended through my mom to each and every one of her children and grandchildren, one can’t help but be encouraged and influenced by this power source. Even when I wasn’t living for — or when I am not walking in — my purpose, there is always that something that doesn’t allow me to stray too far.”
His faith has also helped him cope with such challenges as having three of his four children born prematurely.
“Situations like these, even though trying, only help to strengthen my faith because of the real-life examples of His grace and mercy,” Mr Caines said. “So, to put it plainly, my mother saved my life because of her faith and belief in God. And for this I am for ever and eternally grateful, and hopefully my faith will be strong enough to be that same beacon for my beautiful children.”
Angela Young’s grandmother, Claudine Amanda Smith Young, had the greatest influence on her faith.
She credits her with shaping her into the woman she has become today.
“At just over 4ft in stature, ‘nan’ was a no-nonsense woman of principles and faith. I accompanied her to church every Sunday — morning and evening services at St Paul AME on Court Street. This also included bus drives with her and her friends during my teen years, from one end of the island to the next.
“At the time I did not wish to go but as I reflect, I realise those moments were her opportunities to teach me lessons — or share her many quotes. My nan taught me faith in God was critical for maintaining a life of joy and balance.”
Her grandmother frequently told her that the Lord would take care of her, Ms Young said.
“It was years later that I understood what she meant. For her, it was important I developed my own relationship with God; He would carry me through whatever tests came my way.
“A month after I left to attend university overseas, my nan passed. I miss her terribly and not a day goes by that I don’t reflect on her wisdom. This is probably why grandmothers always hold a special place in my heart. Grandmothers love you dearly. A grandmother’s love is unique and serves as an anchor of assurance. My nan and I had a special bond.”
Lynwood Richardson’s mother Lynn is not a churchgoer but has always had incredibly strong faith.
“She has overcome many challenges in life and supported me through my own and has been a first-hand witness of how God has moved in my life,” said the Christian, who plays gospel music as DJ Brotha Richie.
“She has always encouraged me, even helped me with my faith-based and community outreach events, and just been a source of inspiration by loving me.”
Alexis Bean’s mother, Tammy, passed away on May 4, 2009, after a battle with brain cancer.
She still remembers her advice: hold on to her faith no matter who is around.
“My mom was a vibrant, social butterfly who loved being friends with people from all backgrounds,” she said. “She could be around anyone and enjoy herself, all while staying true to what and who she believed in. She was a strong lady who trusted in God at all times.
“Although as her child I wasn’t always filled into all the details, I know she had to hold on to her faith during times of difficulty. One example that immediately comes to mind was her journey of finding and reconnecting with her father, who she had last seen as a baby. She never gave up and now we have a beautiful connection to my granddad and the American side of my family that we would’ve never known had it not been for her strong faith and unwillingness to give up.”
Tricray Astwood said his mom, Tracey Small, had shown him how to stand on God’s word through any and every situation.
“I’ve watched my mom go through trials in life with grace, class and virtue,” said the worship leader, who is also half of gospel duo Last Call.
“She taught me how to trust in God and she is proof that leaning on Him through everything is always best.”
A few years ago, the Reverend Roxanne Haynes of Restoration Fellowship Church lost her ability to speak, walk and function independently over a period of 12 months. It was tough for her daughter Alexis to watch.
“In July 2012 to June 2013, I watched my mom journey through brain surgery and rehabilitation,” the lawyer said. “I watched her regain full health and then, on top of all that, lose her husband of more than 30 years.
“Despite the challenges, today she is a thriving, happy and strong woman of God and she serves as an inspiration to many. Through it all she remained steadfast and consistent in one thing, her belief and faith in God. And so, the most important lesson she has shown (not told) me, is Matthew 19:26: ‘That all things are possible with God’.”
Seeing her mother embody the meaning of the verse enabled her to pursue her career and professional goals knowing that “ ... all things are possible with God”, Ms Haynes added.