May 2014 – Throughout time, mothers have been assigned an honored and treasured role, especially Christian mothers. In fact, many Christian men trace their ministries back to the picture of a loving mother on bended knees in faithful, tenacious prayer.
What could possibly compare to the blessed gift of a praying mother? Perhaps the gift of a praying mother-in-law. After all, a praying mother usually becomes a praying mother-in-law at some point in her life.
But few men or women credit a mother-in-law as a source of godly strength or faith. Mothers-in-law often get little, if any, honor, even in Christian circles. Yet, no other job on earth is quite like that of a mother-in-law.
Imagine! Here is a relationship in which two people who did not choose to be a part of each other’s lives are forced into intimate family bonds. And the only initial thing they share is their mutual love for a third party – that child, that spouse.
It is no wonder then that the role of a mother-in-law is often a difficult one. Of course, it helps tremendously when that role is centered on the sure foundation of Christ.
But what if the whole world watches as a woman carries out that demanding role of Christian mother-in-law?
That’s exactly the case for Mrs. Kay Robertson, the matriarch of A&E’s Duck Dynasty family. For four seasons now, she has lived her life as wife, mother, grandmother and mother-in-law to this tight-knit and explicitly Christian family, while an audience of over 10 million viewers watched in awe and anticipation.
Miss Kay, as she is called by each member of her family (including her husband Phil), manages each of those roles with Christ-centered grace and dignity, while genuinely displaying her own individual personality, especially in her role as mother-in-law. In fact, the wives of her four sons seem to love and respect this amazing woman as much as her husband and sons.
AFA Journal interviewed Miss Kay for insights on what it takes to be a successful Christian mother-in-law.
AFA Journal: First, give us a look at your roles as mother and as daughter-in-law.
Miss Kay: Most of my boy-raising time, my role as a mother, was before Phil became a Christian. Life was rough, and I had to raise those boys all on my own. We were poor and Phil was often absent. So that was not an easy time. Now, the boys themselves were a different story. Sure, they rough-housed a lot and have always been very competitive, but when they were boys they were lots of fun and, really, a source of comfort for me.
Becoming a daughter-in-law was truly grand. We called Phil’s mom Granny, and I spent many wonderful hours in the kitchen with her. Although my own grandmother, Nannie, is the one who sparked that love for cooking in me, Granny taught me much about the practical part of cooking.
AFAJ: What about becoming a mother-in-law?
MK: Now to those daughters-in-law of mine: I’ll tell you, I wouldn’t choose any other women to be the wives of my sons than the ones they chose themselves. Each one brings different gifts and talents to our family, and each one encourages her husband to be the man God created him to be. One thing I’ve learned as a mother-in-law is the importance of being a fair and impartial sounding board for all my kids. If one of my girls comes to me for counsel about an issue with one of my boys, she is going to get an objective, open-minded response from me. Hey, we’re a family! We have our conflicts, but our faith is stronger than our conflicts; and the character that our faith produces always wins outs.
AFAJ: What is the greatest blessing or treasure you have found in being a mother-in-law?
MK: Well, grandkids, of course! I love those babies – some not so much babies anymore – and I love that Phil and I have been part of all their lives since the day they each were born. But you asked me about being a mother-in-law. I think the greatest treasure is discovering that each daughter-in-law has her own wisdom to share, her own perspective on family, and her own way of expressing her faith. I’ve learned a lot from those girls.
AFAJ: What has been the biggest obstacle to overcome in the mother-in-law to daughter-in-law relationship?
MK: When Al, our oldest, and his wife Lisa had problems, it broke our hearts as a family. But it’s amazing how God works, and out of that painful time, God has brought me the most attentive, caring daughter-in-law you could want. Lisa travels with me and helps me keep everything in line, including helping me to look my best.
AFAJ: What three words of wisdom or advice would you give to Christian women concerned with their role as a mother-in-law?
MK: Don’t favor your own children when problems come up. Be a fair, loving and impartial sounding board. Don’t push your advice on them. Try to wait until you are asked for advice before you jump in, and if you feel you just must jump in uninvited, be oh-so-very gentle. And don’t resent sharing holidays and special occasions with your daughters-in-law’s families; be thankful that they have the kind of families that want to be with them.
AFAJ: Is there one particular verse or story in the Bible which ministers to you most as a mother-in-law
MK: Of course, the story of Ruth can’t be beat. I quote part of that story in my cookbook, the part where Naomi’s daughter-in-law pledges her loyalty to Naomi (Ruth 1:16-17). But Ephesians 4:2 speaks to me, personally, regarding how I want to be as a mother-in-law: Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
AFAJ: And finally, if you could say only one thing to other Christian mothers-in-law, what would it be
MK: Put love before your personal feelings and preferences.
Dynasty book, DVD
In The Women of Duck Commander, the Robertson women offer thoughts on their lives, marriages and faith. Readers will especially enjoy finally getting to know Lisa Robertson, wife of the Robertson’s eldest son Alan. Lisa appeared on Duck Dynasty for the first time this spring.
The book is aimed at moms and daughters, mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law and is available at online and local booksellers
The Robertson family story is an amazing rags-to-riches story with Christ in the center of it. It’s a story being viewed and enjoyed by millions.
The Women of Duck Commander is an opportunity to pray and laugh with the Robertsons as they tell the tale of how the invention of one unique duck call created a business dynasty.
Three seasons of this A&E hit show are available on DVD at AFA Store or by calling toll-free 877-927-4917.