Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

In Appreciation of “My Favorite Mother-in-Law”


I was blessed to have Helen “Jane” Reynolds as a wonderful mother-in-law. Jane went home to be with the Lord today, surrounded by her family. She was the mother of three daughters (Misty, Teri and my wife Tammy), grandmother to four, and great-grandmother (or “Grandma Great”) to seven.
Jane was a faithful believer in Christ, who lived a life of suffering and pain. She had six back surgeries, the most recent taking place after a fall about four years ago. She took strong pain medicine that barely made the pain tolerable. She wasn’t able to sit for more than short periods, which meant that she wasn’t able to go to church for many years. Prior to that, she was a long-time member of Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, and most recently enjoyed the preaching of former Grace pastor Bryan Chapell, thanks to their Grace Alive television ministry.
She had three sons-in-law, but of course would never say which was her favorite. I would sign my emails to her as “OOYFSIL” (one of your favorite sons-in-law). I would always tell her that she was my favorite mother-in-law. She would reply, smiling, that she was my favorite because she was my ONLY mother-in-law.
Forget about all of the “mother-in-law jokes”. I drew the lucky straw with my mother-in-law.
She was a good mother-in-law. She cared about us getting off to a good start, and I remember getting budget workbooks for a few Christmases early in our marriage. After she lost her husband Jim “Wink” Reynolds in May, 2016, our relationship changed and she became more of a good friend. Tammy and I would have lunch with her in Morton, Illinois (about a half an hour away) each Tuesday (she loved a good hamburger, and in particular Culver’s). We would sometimes visit Hobby Lobby, or stop at the bank or library (as she was a voracious reader). We had dinner with her on Fridays, along with Tammy’s sister, her husband, their daughter and her husband, and their now two-and-a-half-year-old triplets. She stopped driving a few years ago, so we would accompany her to many doctor and dentist appointments. I am certainly not a “handy man”, but I could do some very minor chores for her, including spraying the weeds on the bank behind her home. She called me her “Chore Boy”.
Right up until August 12, when she woke up confused, and quickly declined physically (we never got a medical reason why), she lived in her own home and was a “sharp as a tack” 89-year-old. I’ll miss watching Tucker Carlson Tonight on Friday nights, talking politics with her, enjoying her homemade greeting cards, warm chocolate chip cookies, apple pie and cornbread dressing on Thanksgiving. She was an encourager, oftentimes by sending cards. She sent my brother Mike cards during his battle with COVID earlier this year.
We will miss her terribly, but we take comfort that once she breathed her final breath, she went immediately into the presence of Jesus.
Jane ran a good race with her life: In the Bible, Paul writes:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
Jane has lived with chronic pain for more than forty years, but no more. She has now heard from Jesus:    Well done, good and faithful servant.
I look forward to seeing her again one day in Heaven, when,
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

2 thoughts on “In Appreciation of “My Favorite Mother-in-Law”

  1. Sending my love, prayers, and hugs to TAMMY, Bill and all the family at Jane’s passing.

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