He picked up odd jobs, pumping gas, selling potatoes, anything that would bring a little money to support the family. He finally landed a job working with the federal government, auditing government subsidized homes, but they would have to leave their home and many of their possessions. Her dad would travel across the country as he performed the audits that his job required. From the age of eight until she was 13, she would live for weeks or months at a time in places like Minneapolis, Minnesota, Cincinnati, Ohio, The Bronx, New York; Baltimore, Maryland; Columbus, Ohio; Beaufort, North Carolina; and Washington, DC. For five years of her young life, she attended eight different schools. Finally, as she was entering her teenage years, her dad landed in our nation’s capital, where he remained for the rest of his career.
All through these tumultuous times, they remained faithful in their church attendance, and her parents made sure that they and their children had a place to worship every Sunday. It was in Beaufort, North Carolina, at Beaufort Baptist Church, that Claire accepted Christ as her Savior and Lord and was baptized. She never looked back.
God continued to bless her during her move to Washington, D.C. After high school, she enrolled in George Washington University where she graduated and soon met a handsome young Navy officer named Andy Frahler. He was an outstanding baseball star at the U.S. Naval Academy and led the powerful, wartime Navy team as captain for two consecutive years. Now, he had graduated and was helping coach the Navy team until further orders. Theirs was a whirlwind romance, and in a matter of months they were married. Both were dedicated Christians who loved the Lord.
God provided for them in their marriage. As they made various moves back and forth from the west coast to the east coast, God blessed them with the births of four children; two boys and two girls.
They saw to it that all four children were raised with strong Christian values and were always faithful servants in the churches where they attended.
Toward the end of an illustrious naval career, Andy retired in the northern suburbs of Chicago and began a career in the business world.
As that career ended, they moved from the cold Chicago winters to Atlanta, Georgia, and their youngest, Marybeth, enrolled at Samford University for her freshman year. That’s where I enter the story. You see, I was a junior at Samford and met Marybeth, a few months after the fall semester started. If there were ever two people that were different, it was us. I was from rural, south Alabama. She was from Chicago by way of Atlanta. But, God put us together, and I got the best wife a man could have and a great set of in-laws to boot!
What made Marybeth’s parents such great in-laws was the fact that they loved their children and had been praying for their future spouses. In fact, all of their children are strong, growing Christians and are married to Christians. All of their 10 grandchildren are Christians.
Let me get back to my main reason for this article. I am thankful for my Godly mother-in-law who has been kind and patient with me ever since I began dating her daughter.
I have been blessed with a wonderful, Godly mother. I always knew that she prayed for me and supported me and cared for me. But, I was also blessed to have a mother-in-law who was kind, caring, encouraging and prayed for me. Now, I realize that she had crucial reasons to pray for me, I was going to be her baby daughter’s husband and the father of her future grandchildren. I appreciate her prayers as she prepared us for a life together.
Here are some of her great attributes that I most admire:
1. She is encouraging. I know that Mrs. Frahler will say the right thing when I am discouraged and need a kind word. She always sees the glass as half-full instead of half-empty. She never seems to worry about what might happen tomorrow but walks a simple trust in the Lord.
2. She can see potential. I would love to know what she really thought the first time Marybeth introduced me to her and Cdr. Frahler. I’m sure she wondered what kind of person her baby girl had dragged home from college to meet them. But, they prayed for Marybeth and they prayed for me before they even knew me. They both knew how important it was for their daughter to marry a strong, committed Christian. Marybeth and I will celebrate 32 years of marriage this June and we know that Mrs. Frahler still prays for us.
3. She gives good advice. Mrs. Frahler was the one who encouraged me to branch out in my writing and pushed me to write my articles for the Daily Mountain Eagle. After each one is published, Marybeth cuts it out of the paper to mail to her. She always has something nice to say about it.
I could continue on, but you get the picture. Mrs. Frahler is a wonderful mother-in-law. It all is based on the fact that she has a mature relationship with the Lord. I am so thankful that she walks with the Lord. This has made a difference in the life of her daughter and in mine.
He has changed her heart, and it is evident in her life. It is a reassurance that I have a mother-in-law who prays for me. What a blessing! I thank the Lord for my mother-in-law.
Dr. Dennis R. Culbreth is senior pastor of Jasper’s First Baptist Church www.jaspersfbc.org