In a special message today, several women from Pastor Miles’ family joined us to share their stories and encouragement for mothers. Pastor Miles gave us two verses as a theme for today’s interviews:
Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you. Deuteronomy 5:16
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:12-13
Your life is a journey from the moment you are conceived until your death. In every temptation or burden or trial you face, God always makes a way for you to escape without disobeying Him, that you will be able to bear up underneath it. All of us are going through trials and sometimes we think that nobody understands, but that isn’t true. Remember you are not the only one and you are not alone! God is always faithful.
Miles asked each woman to share some of her background and an encouragement for everyone about motherhood or enduring life trials.
Margaret McPherson (Miles’ mom)
Margaret was married in 1958 and was married for 55 years. She has 13 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren (plus one on the way). When her children were young, a typical day included getting up, fixing breakfast and lunches, picking up the carpool, driving 10 children to school, going to work for 4-5 hours, picking up the children from school, having them change for sports or dance classes, taking them to those activities, fixing dinner, picking them up, eating dinner, and putting everyone to bed so she could go to sleep and wake up to do it all over again!
Debbie McPherson (Miles’ wife)
Debbie grew up in New Haven, Connecticut, the child of a single mother. When she and her brother were growing up they were extremely poor. Her mother worked as a hotel maid seven days a week and sometimes didn’t earn enough for all of them to eat, so her mother sometimes did without. The family had no car and had to pull their groceries home for about a mile. Her mother was also the only white woman in their housing projects, so Debbie and her brother endured a lot of bullying as mixed children. At times this was so bad that they had to have police escorts home from their elementary school.
Her childhood was so difficult that it fuelled her with determination to make it out of there. (And now she knows God was driving her!) At the age of 16 she worked two jobs, went to school full time, and saved enough money to buy a car. At 18 she went off to school, 2 years later she met Miles, 4 years later got married, and then immediately started a family. Their children are now 30, 29, and 27.
Margaret Diggs (Miles’ sister)
Margaret has been married for 30 years and has a daughter, Lea, and a son, Mikey. She moved here about 10 years ago from Maryland. Margaret says she never thought she could use her passion for interior design to impact a community and a church, but that is what has happened at the Rock! Pastor Miles is her pastor, brother, friend, and boss! She says if you have a passion and you think it may not have a use in the kingdom, give it to the Lord he can use it. Do your thing!
Lea Newberry (Miles’ niece)
Lea is the daughter of Miles’ sister Margaret and has a husband named Devon and a new 3-month-old daughter, Logan.
Karen Shine (the mother of Miles’ daughter-in-law)
Karen describes herself as the Irish-Portuguese woman that ended up on the McPherson’s Christmas card!
When Karen’s former husband was arrested for a series of crimes in 1991, he requested to see a chaplain while in jail and God sent Pastor Miles. (He later plead guilty and is serving a 56-year sentence.)
During Karen’s marriage she was abused and suffered many hardships. She became a single mother when her daughter Sammie was 18 months old. Besides the emotional pain, she was caused great loss - her friends, her house, her car, and even her dog. She lost everything through these trials, but she never lost God or her daughter.
Samantha (Sammie) McPherson (Miles’ daughter-in-law)
Sammie was married in 2012 and graduated from college the same year. The next year she began law school and the year after that, she had her son MJ. In 2015 she graduated from Cal Western School of Law and recently passed the bar so she is now a practicing attorney here in San Diego. A few years ago, she and her mom were reconnected with Pastor Miles as they were driving by church one day and decided to stop in - and now she is part of his family! (You can read more about Sammie's story here.)
Mallory McPherson (Miles’ niece)
Mallory is the daughter of Miles’ brother. She is from New York, but came here for school and has lived here ever since.
On Motherhood and Overcoming Trials...
Margaret (Miles’ mom)
When she was a child, children were to be seen and not heard, so when she had children of her own, she made it her mission to listen to them and to let them know they were loved and respected.
She also did not have the opportunity to know her mother’s side of the family because they turned their backs on her mother. Margaret encourages parents and grandparents to reach out and include their children in family stories so that they can know that they belong to a bigger group and a bigger story.
Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones. Proverbs 16:24
One of the most challenging times she experienced as a parent was when the children were young and needed constant discipline. In days of exhaustion, it’s easy to just let things slide and not deal with them, but it is important to stay consistent with everything you do no matter how you are feeling so that you can train them up in the ways they should go.
Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
Margaret shared that the most difficult thing she has experienced in motherhood is watching your child struggle through something. As much as you may guide and advise, they still have to make their choices and go their own way. But having trials and falling down sometimes will help them to learn and grow.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
Pray to God and remind your children to go to God as well, have peace and allow the trials to grow and mature them.
As a new mother, the most rewarding thing Lea has experienced is to watch her daughter and see what she shows her. God has revealed in a powerful way His love for us by showing her the love of motherhood: even though her baby girl can’t do anything for her, she still loves her immeasurably as God loves us.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; Proverbs 3:5
Karen encouraged us all to turn to God, trust Him, and thank Him. If you are feeling that your life is unfair or things are always stacking up against you, remember that there is always someone worse off than you are. Stand up and trust God - you can do it because He’s got you!
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5
Sammie is a working mother, which can be tiring and challenging, but her encouragement is two-fold:
1) Be positive with your children because your attitude can have a big impact. Whenever she greets her son, she always has a smile and excitement, no matter the time or the day she’s had.
2) Find one way to strengthen your bond with your child every day. Journal for him, read to him, give him a special nickname, etc. It’s not the quantity of time you have together that matters most, but the quality.
Mallory is unmarried and now nine months pregnant. Before her pregnancy she was living a life that she knew didn’t glorify God. Although she knew God was calling her and speaking to her, she turned away from Him and turned away from family interventions and even her own conscience.
Once she became pregnant, she felt exposed and knew she could not hide anymore. She knew that before she could celebrate, she had to be held accountable for her actions. Although she was ashamed to tell people that she was pregnant, she found grace and now God is using her shame as her testimony. Even when times have been rough, God has never left her.
Pastor Miles reminded everyone that no one has a perfect life. We all have trials and difficult experiences. But even in our dark moments, we need to return to God, repent, and cry out to Him. He is always faithful. If you are straying from God or are facing difficult consequences of your actions, remember that God’s arms are open wide to you and He calls us to have open arms and forgiveness with one another.
Whatever your issue may be, come clean to God! He already knows all your secrets, the desires of your heart, and all of your sin. He only wants you to come to Him and let Him forgive you and love you!