The Spiritual Impact of Mom

by Kevin Bausman | March 04, 2001
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Gladys M. Nothstein Bausman was born on Feb. 3, 1920, and died Oct. 1, 2000. In 1959, she was the first woman elected as Township Supervisor in Mahoning Township and in Carbon County, and the seventh woman in the state of Pennsylvania. Along with her husband George, she owned and operated Bausman’s Goat Dairy, one of 14 goat dairies in Pennsylvania during the 1950s and 1960s. Her children, Wendy and Kevin Bausman, each have written a tribute for her.

When we read an obituary in the newspaper, we see the visible side of a person’s life — his or her church or organization memberships and accomplishments in life. What we don’t read, however, is how the person touched others in some special way. I’d like to share how Mom spiritually touched the lives of my sister Wendy and me.

When we were children, Mom made sure we had Christian records to listen to, Bible games and toys to play with, our first Bible to read, and that we attended Vacation Bible School every year. Even though Vacation Bible School came at one of the busiest times of the year on the farm — when we would be taking in hay — Mom made sure we went to those two weeks of evening sessions, despite any protests from us. She made sure we attended Sunday School and church on a regular basis, and she introduced us to the first woman pastor we had ever known, Rev. Viola Rothacker. She also introduced us to our first missionary — one of her closest friends, Dena Speering, who served our Lord in Africa.

When I was about 8 years old, I was singing the hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers” while cleaning the barn one evening. I saw Jesus dying on the cross in the back of my mind. I began to cry and ran up to the house and asked Mom why Jesus had to die on the cross. She said, “Because he loves us.” That night I fell in love with Jesus and decided to follow him as Lord and Savior.

As a child I did not like reciting memory verses, being in a skit or singing a song in front of all those people at Sunday School Christmas programs or family reunions. One time Mom made up a song for Wendy and me to sing at the family reunion. Mom said she’d help us sing it, but when the time arrived, I didn’t think Mom was helping enough. I stopped, looked at Mom, and said into the microphone, “I thought you were supposed to help us.” Everyone roared with laughter, but it didn’t phase or embarrass Mom. We just kept going and finished the song!

Mom helped me with my childhood shyness by having me focus on Jesus to help me overcome it. She put a Bible verse on a small card on a bureau mirror in my room. I would see it every morning when I got dressed as well as several times throughout the day. It remained on that mirror for over 20 years. I still have that card and just looked at it recently. Even though it is old and yellow you can still clearly read Mom’s handwriting.

The verse is from Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Jesus which strengthens me.” With Jesus’ help and strength, I overcame my shyness of speaking in front of people.

Like all Christians, Mom had struggles and brokenness in her walk as a Christian. She also had victories as well. But through it all, Mom tried to serve and follow Jesus as best she could and as best as she knew how. She has now had the privilege that waits every Christian of at last seeing Jesus face to face.