A Tribute to My Mother

“Happy Mother’s Day to ALL Mothers!”

By Philip K. Hardin, M.A., M. Div., LMFT, LPC

By Philip K. Hardin, M.A., M. Div., LMFT, LPC

Ella Mae Ritchie Hardin, 84, passed away Monday, November 30, 2015 in Elizabethton, TN. 

Reading that sentence brings tears to my eyes. That is the first sentence in my Mother’s obituary. I miss her … especially today – Mother’s Day 2019! 

Here’s what I wrote her for Mother’s Day in May 2014.

Hey Mom,

Happy Mother’s Day!

I thought I’d offer you a few words to express my LOVE for you …

First, some of my best friends say this …

“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Only God Himself fully appreciates the influence of a Christian mother in the molding of character in her children.” -Billy Graham

“My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.” -George Washington

Mom, thanks for giving birth to me.

Consider this: Every time a child is born – so is a Mother.

It has often been said that in that one moment when a mother sees her newborn child for the first time, nine months of discomfort, and the hours of pain and delivery, are completely forgotten. An innate eternal bond is instantly formed that transcends and eclipses all other relationships.

Thank you for giving life to me!

Mom, I love SPORTS! I loved playing in the backyard. I loved putting on my basketball uniform and playing in front of a crowd. I love watching athletes, no matter how big, or fast, or powerful they are, when they look into the camera, what do they always say? Hi mom! Affection and love poured out in one simple word – “mom” – no matter what the language.

Today, I say “Hi, Mom! I love you! Go Vols!”

God has directed me to honor you.

Solomon admonishes us to “forsake not your mother’s teaching” Proverbs 1:8 ESV. He goes on to say that those teachings are “a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck” Proverbs 1:9 ESV.

Life changing lessons taught during late night talks that shape our character for the rest of our lives. Thank you for teaching me to love God and ALL THINGS THAT ARE HIS!

Even the first commandment ever given with a promise was “honor your father and mother” Ephesians 6:2 ESV. Why? “That it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land” (vs 3).

The word honor literally means “weighted value”.

I want you to feel deeply honored and profoundly valued as my Momma. As I do that and have tried to always do so, God promises blessings poured out in my life. Honoring you is not hard … it is a JOY!

You have always been my greatest cheerleader. No matter what. Through thick and thin. Good and bad. Laughter and pain.

I am reminded of the instruction Paul gave when he said, “encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all” 1 Thessalonians 5:14 ESV. Sounds like what a mom does all of the time! Sounds like what you have always done for me.


Jesus has even modeled for me how to think about you. What’s interesting is that out of the seven phrases Jesus uttered on the cross, one of them was directed to the person who gently pushed Him into public ministry (John 2), and searched frantically for Him when she thought He was lost (Luke 2). She stood with Him at Calvary when virtually everyone else deserted Him.

Jesus acknowledged her, and provided for her, even during His tortuous death on the cross of salvation.

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.John 19:26-27 ESV

A relationship begun in a manger…confirmed in a miracle…and declared even in mourning. Mother.

WOW!!! What a Mom will do for her own … what you have done for me, I can’t honor you enough!

Another good friend of mine said this,

“God said ‘I need someone who can shape a soul and find shoes on Sunday and get grass stains out of Levis. Someone with a heart strong enough for toddler tantrums and teenage testing, yet broken enough to fall on her knees and pray, pray, pray.’ So God made a mother.”

That’s what my Momma is all about.

Life didn’t come with a manual – it came with a Mom – My Mom!

This Mother’s Day, I say, “I LOVE YOU!” I cherish every memory of YOU!

I honor you …and I benefit as Scripture says, that it “may go well with you and that you may live long in the land”.

YOU gave me LIFE in the beginning …and many times since.

Take the day off, Momma … and have a Great Mother’s Day.


Your Baby Boy

– Phil

Love your Mother!

You will miss her when she’s gone. Make the most of every minute.

A final word to those who suffer the wounds of a broken relationship with your mother:

If you suffer from the relationship with your mother, I invite you to fully acknowledge that pain, do not minimize or do not idealize the hurt you experienced from your mother.

Tell the truth, move toward forgiveness for your own healing, and see your mother through eyes of compassion.

You may need to set appropriate boundaries, which is a courageous kind of love.

Be wise and healthy in your love for your Mother.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Ride ON!


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I love you, Mom.

Ella Mae Hardin - December 1931-November 2015

Bridget Crowder