The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


May 9, 2010

Gary Shaw, guest columnist: Special women worthy of praise

JOPLIN, Mo. — There are two women in my life who have helped fashion me into someone God could use. While different in many ways, both possessed a deep faith and love for the Lord that motivated them into action.

For 48 years my wife has patiently and lovingly groomed me and helped me to step out in faith to see how God could and would use me if I would make myself available to Him. 

Kathy has been an example of a Proverbs woman and has stretched our dollars to the fullest extent. She is a bargain hunter and finder extraordinaire.

She demonstrates first-hand to me God’s truth that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Kathy always has time for everyone who needs her and she gives little attention to their stature in life. Not only does she find ways to generate funds and is always looking for a good deal, she is blessed by passing on bargains to others. To Kathy, things are not right until they are done to the best of her ability. She sees God’s beauty in all things and has the gift to see things as they should be even though they might not yet be what they should be. Maybe that is why she hasn’t given up on me.

I am sure there are many times when I am a great challenge to her, yet she patiently works with me to help me stay the course. She is my encourager, my medical advisor, my beautician, my editor, my favorite singer and cook. She’s my faithful companion and best friend. She cuts my hair and trims my beard. She puts out my vitamins and pays the bills.  She keeps the house looking like something in a magazine article, and strives to fill all my needs. She is a wonderful mother who raised our only son to be an outstanding young man who loves God and has his mother’s looks and brilliance, as well as musical ability.

In our married life, Kathy has helped me fulfill many of the things I wanted to accomplish. While I have never had a “Bucket List,” I have always wanted to make my life count for something.

I selfishly believe that God made Kathy for me. Without her I am not complete, and with her all things have purpose.

I don’t feel that I have made much difference in my world, but anything I might have done right has her imprint written all over it.

In my two years as Joplin’s mayor, Kathy was Joplin’s perfect first lady.  She stood by my side at proclamations, banquets, celebrations and conventions, adding beauty and dignity to all I did. She edited and listened to all my speeches numerous times, and never complained when personal things took second place to city business. She, along with my heavenly father, was my strength and my covering.

Today, even though I am still on the City Council, next to God and each other, we have a new position in life and that is to love and enjoy our newest family member, Gibbs, our bichon frise — a beautiful white 23 pounds of energy that keeps both of us, as well as our cat, Cricket, on the go.

The second lady in my life was actually the first lady in my life, as she is the one who brought me into this world. Mom was a hoot. From my earliest memories, mom was involved in something.

She was president of the PTA. She was the center of the neighborhood and was always helping others.

When I was about 9 or 10, a neighbor introduced mom to Jesus and from that day on she was a fireball for him.

We had daily family devotions that soon included every kid in our block and then the next block, until every kid I knew was saved. Mom taught Sunday school and Bible school.

She just couldn’t do enough for her Lord.

Mom ran the bookstore at our local Christian college and taught ethics at a local Christian high school.

She was a sought-after marriage consoler and for 30 years was “Jailhouse Mom” to those incarcerated in the area’s jails. I could do nothing wrong in Mom’s eyes. Even my choice of a mate, Mom thought was the best. On many occasions I saw these two godly women work together, as Mother loved to teach, and Kathy loved to sing.

Together, when they weren’t working to improve me, God was able to use them to bless hundreds throughout the Four-State Area.

On this Mother’s Day 2010, I praise God and thank him for both my Godly women. One is already enjoying her reward and the other is still adding jewels to her crown.

Gary Shaw is a former Joplin mayor and currently serves on the Joplin City Council.

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