By Doug Culhane
She had no choice but to shepherd alone. Her husband was gone, and she had a 5-year-old daughter and 6-month-old son in her care. Shepherding young children is always hard, but alone and without support it becomes incredibly more difficult. No income, no job, no childcare, no transportation. What was she supposed to do? How could this shepherdess keep their home? How would she provide for and protect her children and still be present for them, as she knew they needed, and she desired?
First, she would find work. Since her education extended to only one semester of junior college, she fine-tuned her clerical skills and searched the Want Ads in the local newspaper. Finding a job as a Clerk Typist, she bought a used car for $50, found a babysitter for the children, and began her new life as a single working mother.
As the years passed, she kept house, provided warmth and security for those in her care, and assured she was emotionally and physically present. She exhibited wisdom in small matters and large, taught her family the value of integrity, and worked tirelessly to support those in her charge. In addition, although seemingly impossible, she supported both children in their quest to earn post-graduate degrees.
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
The young Clerk Typist was gradually recognized for her tenacity, enterprise, and intelligence, finishing her career 31 years later as Vice President of Human Resources, the only woman in the senior management team.
Always putting the needs of her children first, this shepherd leader … this shepherdess … lived into her calling as mother, friend, and mentor, exhibiting provision, protection, and presence for her family.
Her commitment to shepherd well did not end when her children reached adulthood. She knew that parental shepherding takes many forms, and changes as the years pass. Her children grew, in-laws were added, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were born … and she continued to live into her calling as a shepherdess for our family. This remarkable woman faithfully and lovingly served others on this earth for 91 years.
Thank you, Mom, for your devotion to us and a life well-lived. We love you…
Norma Culhane Hawkins
1927 – 2018