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He Sets the Lonely in Families

I’ve never given birth. Never held a child of my flesh in my arms or watched him or her grow up.

Nevertheless, I am a daughter. I was blessed with a gracious, loving mother as you know if you’ve read my last few posts. And while Mom left us for heaven five weeks ago, her impact will always be a part of my life, my character, my memories, my heart.

My beautiful mother with about half of her great grandchildren!

I have three sisters-in-law, all mothers whom I love and appreciate.

One copied an entire book on grief that had been a help to her, and which was out of print at the time of my first husband’s death. I had the privilege of reading this and of seeing notes my sister-in-law had written in her copy when she needed it. That book, A TEARFUL CELEBRATION by James Means, is still the one I would recommend first to anyone grieving a significant loss. I just reordered it at

I’ve had meaningful conversations with my second sister-in-law, who lives out of State. She has been a model of sweet acceptance following the limitations of a stroke she had six years ago. Don and I have traveled with her and my brother and have enjoyed seeing different parts of our world together. We’ve also loved hosting them in our home, talking and playing table games in the evenings.

And the third, who lives near me, has been generous both in her love and service to Mom, and in encouraging me to spend as much time with her children as I wished. Never possessive, always protective, she invited me to invest in her children’s lives, never resenting time they were with me. What a gift!

These three women are mothers to some of the best nieces and nephews I could possibly want. Phone calls of love after Mom passed away, precious times spent together, sharing deeply of life, memories, hopes, challenges, and coping mechanisms, occur especially now that they are adults and raising their own children. And hugs (before they all became virtual). Did I say hugs?

So my hat’s off to you, Vicki, Carol Ann, and Sheila. Thank you for loving me enough to share your thoughts, conversations, and children with this auntie.

And when I married Don I inherited five adult stepchildren, whom I love. I treasure their children and our darling red-headed great-grandson.

I have girlfriends who are mothers of wonderful children. I have girlfriends who, like me, have not been biological or adoptive mothers. Some of us have the joy of mentoring younger women. Others are involved in their churches and communities in a variety of ways. But we’re all linked to family somehow–as a child, a parent, a sibling, an aunt, a niece, a grandchild, or a mentor.

During this pandemic, many of us have been reminded anew how much we need and value loving relationships, family and otherwise, closeness which is having to take different forms than in the past. But God had a purpose and a plan when He “…sets the lonely in families.” (Psalm 68:6a)

Blessings to all mothers, and to the families who birthed, love, encourage, uphold them!

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

I John 3:1

What’s a special memory you have of your mother?


  1. Karen O'Connor says:

    Thank you, Carol, for this lovely post and beautiful family photos. My special memory of my mother is her baking her signature apple slices (a kind of apple pie baked in a rectangular baking dish and drizzled after baking, with a light powdered sugar frosting). So yummy. She was a gracious hostess, my Girl Scout leader, and a caring mom.

    1. carolnl says:

      Thank you for sharing about your mother Karen. She sounds like a wonderful woman, involved and caring. Lovely, like you.

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