Sunday, May 16, 2021

Ageless Remedy for Society’s Ailments

 By Catherine Ulrich Brakefield

     We think our twenty-first century holds the record for killings, riotous living, and fatherless children. Allow the following men to point you to the truth and the ageless remedy for what ails society today:

     Few men have so significantly changed history than Saint Augustine, and fewer men in the year of 350 A.D. would have recognized Augustine as a "saint."  Our rioting, rebels, and disobedient teenagers can readily bond with Augustine, who embraced his wild, self-indulging pursuits with relish. 

Upon his seventeenth year, Augustine cast off Christianity like an unwanted shroud for the religious heresies of the times. Caught in cultism and enthralled with his passion for lust, his mistress, and illegitimate son told all too well of Augustine’s lifestyle of immorality. 

Then in his twenty-ninth year, while waiting for his ship bound for Rome, Monica, his mother, strolled out of the shadows. Lovingly, she challenged his rebellious ways with fortitude and courage. Demonstrating her tremendous faith in her actions.

Aurelius Augustinus, who most people knew as Saint Augustine, remembers his mother, Monica, and her exhaustible faith and prayers to Christ Jesus regarding Augustine, her prodigal son. 

Augustine would more than fulfill his godly mother’s hopes and prayers.  Becoming a bishop, Augustine became the instrument of light for which the New Testament would shine amidst the darkness of Rome's fallen empire, a gleaming beacon of hope guiding the way toward Christendom. 

John Newton was born in 1725. His mother was a frail woman, yet she displayed an inexhaustible strength of spirit.  She taught Newton to read the Scriptures at the early age of six. Newton’s mother prayed he would someday become a minister, but Newton's life changed drastically for the worst after his mother's death. 

Well into his adult life, Newton became a notorious infidel. A slave trader and a hardened seaman, this inventive blasphemer’s oaths unceasingly flowed from his mouth and daily rained their profanity onto the ears of God.

Then during a relentless storm at sea, Newton was spared his watery grave when he called upon the name of Christ Jesus. Converted, in 1755, he gave up the sea and some time afterward entered the Anglican ministry.  Newton often preached, "I am one of the most astonishing instances of the mercy and forbearance of God upon the face of the earth." 

He wrote a collection of hymns called "The Olney Hymns," his most famous being, "Amazing Grace."  Newton fondly recalls, "My mother stored my memory with many valuable pieces, chapters, and portions of scripture…. When the Lord at length opened my eyes, I found great benefit from the recollections of them.”

Ronald Reagan born on February 6, 1911, never strayed too far from God’s grace. Through his lifetime he often mentions that the most influential person in his life was his mother, Nellie Wilson Reagan. 

Her philosophy for life was simple, “I was raised to believe that God has a plan for everyone and that seemingly random twists of fate are all a part of His plan. . . everything in life happened for a purpose. . . part of God’s Plan.” 

Ronald Reagan became one of our greatest presidents, and throughout his office, one theme presided above all others; "There is no institution more vital to our nation’s survival than the American family. Here the seeds of personal character are planted. . .Through love and instruction, discipline, guidance, and example, we learn from our mothers and fathers the values that will shape our private lives and our public citizenship.”

I could go on because, upon my research, I learned that behind every great man, there was a faithful, praying mother.

Noah Webster was quoted as saying that when you see a mother, ". . .carefully tending and anxiously guarding her children and forming their minds to virtue and to piety. . .guard their purity; defend their honor; treat them with tenderness and respect." 

D. L. Moody, in his book, “The Way to God," states, "The strongest human love that we know of is a mother's love… a mother's love endures through everything. Through good and bad reports and in the face of the world's condemnation, a mother loves on…."

            It does not take a Mother’s Day for husbands and children throughout America to recognize the asset a mother’s love can bring into their lives and America’s hurting society. 

The greatest gift a mother offers her child begins within her loving embrace and her adoring eyes, seeing for the first time her newborn infant.  

A mother’s quest is not for herself, for flowing robes nor towering halls of fame: but to “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”  (Prov. 22:6).

It is not the monetary wealth of position of lofty corporations or prestigious titles of importance for moms. Mothers often do without so their children can accomplish their dreams of more remarkable achievements.

I will never forget my mother. Her guidance, encouragement, and unselfish love flowed like a fountain unrelenting unto the pathways of my years and continue to this day. A picture of her and my father grace my bureau.

Adorned in a flowing gown of silk and lace, veiled in pearls, with lilies cradled in her arms, she greets her bridegroom with love and innocence and steps into another life, that of wife and motherhood.

Like mothers before and after her, they shed their adoring wedding dress for cotton aprons. They serve their families with a relish of unselfishness that astonished their families—and nation.

With grace and poise, they stand and watch each child grow in fame, uncaring about their own. Then smile in that knowing way, remembering.  Remembering that day when “new life” awoke from within them, caressed in their warm embrace, knowing God had a plan preordained just for their child.  

Mothers and grandmothers, America needs you more than ever to stand as a praying fortress against the battling evils of this twenty-first century. I leave you now with William Ross Wallace's (1819-1881) famous poem: 


The Hand that Rocks the Cradle is the Hand that Rules the World.

BLESSINGS on the hand of women!

Angels guard its strength and grace.

In the palace, cottage, hovel,

Oh, no matter where the place;

Would that never storms assailed it,

Rainbows ever gently curled,

For the hand that rocks the cradle

Is the hand that rules the world.


Infancy’s the tender fountain,

Power may with beauty flow,

Mothers first to guide the streamlets,

From them souls unresting grow—

Grow on for the good or evil,

Sunshine streamed or evil hurled,

For the hand that rocks the cradle

Is the hand that rules the world.


Woman, how divine your mission,

Here upon our natal sod;

Keep—oh, keep the young heart open

Always to the breath of God!

All true trophies of the ages

Are from mother-love impearled,

For the hand that rocks the cradle

Is the hand that rules the world.


Blessings on the hand of women!

Fathers, sons, and daughters cry,

And the sacred song is mingled

With the worship in the sky—

Mingles where no tempest darkens,

Rainbows evermore are hurled;

For the hand that rocks the cradle

Is the hand that rules the world.

Destiny of Heart
, (Book 3 of the Destiny Series)

Collina battles insurmountable odds to rescue Shushan. Franklin loses what money could not buy, and Ruby leaves for the prairies of Colorado, hoping the climate might cure her husband’s illness. The Roaring Twenties dive like a wounded eagle into the Great Depression, placing the McConnell’s in a battle for survival. 

“…through the lives of characters and families so beautifully detailed, you become emotionally immersed in every page, every struggle, every triumph.” Linda S.


Catherine says, "My readers inspire my writing!"

She is an award-winning author of Wilted Dandelions, Destiny of Heart, and Waltz with Destiny. Her faith-based Destiny series is: Swept into Destiny, Destiny's Whirlwind, Destiny of Heart, and Waltz into Destiny.

She has written two pictorial history books.  Images of America; The Lapeer Area, and Images of America: Eastern Lapeer County. 

She is a longtime Michigan resident and lives with her husband of 49 years and their Arabian horses in the picturesque hills of Addison Township.  She loves traveling the byroads across America and spoiling her two handsome grandsons and two beautiful granddaughters!



         This article first appeared in Michigan Traveler Magazine, May 2005, A Mother’s Love

         William Ross Wallace (1819-1881) poem: Northrop, H.D. Beautiful Gems of Thought and Sentiment. Boston, MA: The Colins-Patten Co., 1890.

Zondervan Bible Publishers, The Layman’s Parallel Bible, King James Version

         Moody, D. L., The Way to God, Whitaker House, 1983, pg. 11

Bennett, William J. Our Sacred Honor, Words of advice from the Founders in Stories, Letters, Poems, and Speeches, Simon & Schuster, 1997, pg. 124

         Graham, Ruth Bell, Prodigals and Those Who Love Them, Focus on the Family,1991, 4-10, 27-30.

Brown, Mary Beth, Hand of Providence, the strong and quiet faith of Ronald Reagan, WND Books, division of Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2004, pg. 20.

Ronald Reagan A Life in Photographs Created by David Elliot Cohen T3ex by Peter Robinson Sterling New York/London





  1. A wonderful post, Catherine! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Thank you for your post. Very insightful.

  3. This post was filled with a lot of forgotten history. Thank you for sharing, Catherine.

    1. Marilyn R. I thought this might help the new generations of moms become their best!