Reflections on All Things Beautiful: Gaynell Hudson––My Mother

Sunday, November 29, 2015 Bryan Hudson 4 Comments

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT) Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end

[NOTE: This is a repost, on my birthday, an of article originally published on 8/21/13 on the tenth anniversary of my mother's homegoing]

Today I reflect on, and celebrate, the life of my mother, Gaynell Hudson. Ten years ago today she exited time in order to enter eternity. She departed from among us to embrace her Savior and Lord.

Of course, everyone's mother is special for all the same reasons. But Gaynell Hudson was special for a lot of other reasons. Because we labored together, along with my dad, Horace Bryan Hudson, in the ministry for 24 years until her passing in 2003, I understood her motivations. I embraced her theology and philosophy of service to all people. I'm not alone in embracing this understanding, though I knew it best.

We shared a special bond as members of what I sometimes think of as "OCS," the Only Child's Society. My mother was the only child of William & Essie Hayden, who were regionally renown Gospel singers. My grandmother, Essie, who passed when my mother was only 17 years old and just finishing school at the famed Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis. Essie Hayden was a pianist of extraordinary ability and acclaim. My mother was also a gifted pianist, singer, and songwriter.

She was a stay-at-home mom, which was more feasible in those days. She poured everything she had into me–– and she had a lot! I discovered she had artistic ability. My mother possessed profound insight and high intelligence. She read thousands of pages of books per year, especially after her conversion to Christ. Most of all, she helped people...all the time. She helped all kinds of people, all the time, with a brand of "tough love" that made a positive and lasting impact. I've watched her speak to young men–fierce looking young men–and hold their attention. She is fondly remembered around our church for looking people in the eyes and saying, "You be encouraged, this too will pass!" Followed by a loving embrace and hug that could last minutes. I've seen adults begin to look like (and likely, feel like) children unburdened by troubles, if only for a few moments, while in her embrace.

What many did not understand was the source of her powers of empathy and connectedness to people. She looked at nearly everything from a higher perspective or purpose. And she did not suffer liars, cheats, and people with questionable motives! She could rebuke as sternly as she would warmly embrace. Her life shaped her character.

Before and after the death of her mother, and while her father worked jobs and sang tenor with Gospel groups, my mother was in the "care" of people who were not altogether caring. She never told me the details of those days, but always became grieved when reflecting on it. This experience fueled her strong sense of justice, injustice, and zero tolerance for the mistreatment of vulnerable people.

The death of her mother only magnified her pain as a 17 year old young woman. Before she came to Christ, she internalized her pain. Her marriage to Horace Bryan Hudson, brought stability to a destabilized life. Bryan (as people called him) and Gaynell were two young adults, each outstanding in his and her own way. Into that union, I was born and in time it became clear that I would be the only one. My mother transformed her pain, harnessed her empathy, exercised her extraordinary intelligence, and cultivated her interest in all things beautiful into occasions of discovery for her only son.

At the little apartment in Barrington Heights on Indy's southeast side, we did everything from read, sing, talk about current events, play games, listen to symphonic music, jazz music, and gospel music. Sometimes we imagined the symphony instruments and played them in pantomime. We danced, looked at photos from around the world in magazines, and watched television together––what (thankfully!) little we had in those days (three channels broadcast from 5am to 12 midnight only!). I especially remember being required to sit still and respectfully listen to the President of the United States whenever he gave a major address on television. I still do that today.

We rarely moved around town, especially outside of our black "section" of town, since she did not have a car to drive while dad was at work, or I was at school. Despite that, I remember my world as a very large place full of big ideas, interesting people, and lots to do—though in reality our world on Perkins Court was very small.

One day, as a six or seven year old, I proposed to build a rocket, complete with diagrams and a materials list. I remember my parents taking me seriously and encouraging me that all things are possible. But for some strange reason, I never received the Roman candles I requested to build the first stage of the rocket!

In my late teens, my mother became of follower of Christ, and she directed all of her energy towards helping other people experience "all things beautiful," beginning with Christ. She completely understood, and identified with the Only Begotten Son Jesus and His singular focus on teaching the Word and saving lives. Gaynell Hudson, my mother, was fully committed to serving God and people. This is the greatest gift I received and lesson I learned from her. This continues to be the basis of my motivations.

In a world of facades, excuses, superficiality, and small mindedness, Gaynell Hudson was a model of authenticity, consistency, hope, and faith.

The worse day of my life occurred on an evening in 1982 or 1983 (I don't try too hard to remember). Following a midweek Bible Study, my wife had left but returned to our meeting place to tell me that my parents were involved in an accident a short distance from our meeting place (no cell phones in those days). She was driving home down 34th Street, just east of what is now called Dr. Andrew Brown Street. When we drove back to the location. The accident scene involved two vehicles with parts strewn across the street and the cars smashed into a heap. I learned later that it was a head-on collision. After I parked my car and we walked over to their car, I saw my injured parents. Dad was out of the car dazed, but mom was still in the car with broken bones and conscious. Mom said, "Don't worry," and she began thanking God through her pain. Reflecting on it, I know she was also thinking how all this was affecting me––always thinking about others. For a short time, I blamed myself for holding service that night. They were not wearing seat belts...few of us did in those days, though we buckled up thereafter.

The experience of assisting my parents in their recovery, driving them to doctors and orthopedic specialists before either of them were allowed to drive, and assisting with my mother's rehabilitation from many broken bones including facial bones (which eventually resulted in her losing sight in one eye), was the most rewarding time of my life at that time. Not only did I have the privilege of helping the people who gave me life, I fully came to understand the great power of personal sacrifice, empathy and serving. I learned that pity is useless. Love and availability are everything. Dad mended quicker than my mother since his injuries were less severe.

Because I was in full time ministry, I moved my "office" to my parents' house. I learned to balance time with my wife and children, ministry responsibilities, and how to serve my congregation, community and my parents effectively and efficiently. Looking back, I suppose all that was "hard." It may have seemed hard to some. But it seemed easy to me because there is nothing more significant one can do than serving, especially your own parents. It is amazing what can be accomplished when we choose not to make excuses and refuse to fear hardship or service as an unwelcome imposition in our lives.

During that time, and for years afterwards, as mom coped with effects of her injuries years earlier, I watched her continue to do what I had always seen her do: Enjoy all things beautiful, love God, and serve others. Even when she experienced kidney failure and the onset of cancer, she continue to serve people, teach Bible study 12noon on Wednesdays, join attend Saturday morning prayer just after her dialysis treatment, spend time with each of her grandchildren, and more. She lived a full life of 65 years, howbeit physically challenged.

For some 15 years we ministered together at nursing homes. Mom would play the piano and sing followed by a Bible lesson from me, and we both prayed for the people. She served on prayer lines for national ministries and ministered at the women's prison in Indy and mentored young women. She began a Community Christmas outreach that continues to this day.

As a husband, father, pastor, educator, and consultant, I live the lessons learned from Gaynell Hudson everyday. I am Gaynell Hudson's son. I am honored to celebrate her life by how I live my life.

What is unfortunate, and even tragic, today is that we seem to be a society and a popular church culture (as distinct from Christ's church) that has come to value things other than sincerity, authenticity and service. Some of what I see is barely recognizable as biblical, Christlike, and efficacious. Our culture is high on style, but low on substance. Yet God continues His work through abounding grace. His Kingdom is advancing.

Gaynell Hudson is long gone, but her son is here. And many others of her "children" are here too. I believe we can make and have made a difference. I believe the values and godly practices of my mother are timeless and transcendent.

I continue to look for all things beautiful and useful to honoring God and helping people!


How to Get Unstuck and Go to a Place Called "Forward"

Wednesday, November 18, 2015 Bryan Hudson 1 Comments

@Bryan Hudson |

Exodus 14:14, “The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace." And the LORD said to Moses, "Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward.”

Have you ever felt like you did not know where to go or what to do? A better question might be: “When was the last time you felt that way?” 

Beware of feelings. Feelings are not final reality. I have been on flights that were so smooth that it did not feel like we were moving. However, 18 inches from my window seat there was pandemonium going on outside at 35,000 feet, traveling at 550 miles per hour, with sub zero temperature air and very low oxygen. So, my feeling could not define the reality.

I have been on merry-go-rounds where everything was moving and I was only going in a circle. One day, a guy saw me with my Apple earphones and remarked that I must have enjoyed my music. That was how he felt. In fact, I was listening to the text of a scholarly article.

Feelings and emotionalism are such a problem until people today can’t embrace reality because feeling a certain way. I am so glad that the most important people in my life operate on reality more than feelings: My family, my attorney, my pilot, my doctors, my pastor, my close friends, and more.

Some folk should just admit it: "I don’t walk by faith. I walk by sight, feelings and emotions." Admit it, then repent of it and let the message of this article help you!

Forward defined: To cause to proceed or progress toward a goal. To cause to go or be taken from one place or condition to another. 

For you, there is a place called “Forward." For Israel, their “Forward” was something called the “Promised Land.”  The people of Israel did not possess a map of the Promised Land.  This was more of a promise of something greater than their present condition in Egypt.

We are people full of ideas and dreams.  Our thoughts create a sense of hope. We have the amazing ability to place an image in our mind's eye and construct a good or bad reality around it. 

Feeling “stuck” is not uncommon. We all have that feeling from time to time.  Israel certainly felt that way as they were staring at an impassable body of water in from of them, with an Egyptian army bearing down on them from behind. 

You can be sure that the Egyptians were not coming to help them, they were coming on orders from Pharaoh to slaughter God's people. We can hardly imagine how the people must have felt in that moment. But God knew how move Moses and the people out of that feeling and change their reality.

The good news is this: We serve a God who is never stuck and never has to wonder what He will do next! We serve a God who knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). 

In that moment of extreme crisis God did two things for His chosen People: 

1. He placed a "pillar of fire" between His people and the pursuing Egyptian army.  By this, the people knew they were not alone. 

2. God told Moses to tell the people to “Go forward.” This didn't make any sense because of the Red Sea in front of them, but it was an opportunity to trust the Lord in a very special way.

You don’t have to be concerned about things that don’t make sense to you. You only need to embrace what God is saying today (not only what He said in the past). You only need to focus on His word, His promises, and the spiritual principles that govern you and your circumstances. 

Look for a pillar of fire in your life and circumstances. 

Your "pillar of fire" is not a miraculous sign (we don't look for signs Matthew 16:4). It is something you know God has done for you. Your pillar of fire something already present in your life that may have been overshadowed by your present challenges.

You might be enjoying extended years of life because of God’s healing power. That’s a pillar of fire for you. You might have the blessing of people who love you and continue to support you every day of your life. That’s a pillar of fire for you. 
It is something that removes any doubt that God is with you and continues to keep the enemy from overtaking you.

Today, God is still saying, “Go forward.” 

Forward is the only direction in which God is moving. 

You can go forward even when you are forced to stand still. Forward is a place to which God leads people of purpose and destiny. Forward is a place that stretches your faith and exercises your prayer life. Forward is the place and the direction the vision takes you.

How is this? We can always go forward because “forward” is not a direction, it is a mindset, a sense of purpose, and promise from God. 


Inspiration Image | Habakkuk 2:14

Tuesday, November 17, 2015 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


The Rest of God: Use the Power of Another. Ride the Wave.

Monday, November 09, 2015 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

My latest teaching: "The Rest of God: Use the Power of Another. Ride the Wave." 

Hebrews 4:9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.

Matthew 11:28, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29) "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30) "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

What we see today is not just a weariness of body, but of soul and spirit. Jesus said He will give rest to those who “labor” and are “heavy laden.” The Hebrews' writer reminds us, “There remains a rest for the people of God.” We should work, but we should not labor. Work becomes labor when you do or carry more than your can, more than you should without the help and strength of God, the Holy Spirit, who is also called our Comforter and Helper!


R - Return to God. Use the power of Another
E - Expect renewal through being refreshed in the Lord
S - See the new way God is showing you. Rely less on your own strength and more on the Lord’s strength.
T - Testify to the goodness of God. Tell someone about the goodness of God in your life


Looking Forward. Holding The Rope.

Thursday, November 05, 2015 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Watch the Message, "Looking Forward. Holding the Rope."
Scriptures and main points shown below. 
("Hope The Rope" explained at 41:35)

All of your breakthroughs and blessings are in front or you. This is no time to stand still or look backwards. Discover and continue in your “race” and finish every endeavor strong!

We'll use four key words related to looking forward: Head, Hear, Hope, and Hold


Hebrews 2:1, Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. 

Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”.....17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Philippians 3:12 NKJV 12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule,[b] let us be of the same mind.

Philippians 3:12 NLT I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. 15 Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. 16 But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.

Affirmations of Hope and Faith for Looking Forward

1. I have not attained all, not perfect: Thank God for what He has done and for what I have, but I'm not stopping now. Wise people think all they say, fools say all they think. 

2. I Press on: Know that the hard times are preparation for better days. Don't stand still. The current of these times and of this world is flowing in a negative direction. If I stop, I won't stand still, I'll go backwards. The best way around it is through it.

3. I Take hold on that for which Christ took hold of me: Taking firm grasp of my purpose, my responsibilities, and my relationships. Fulfill your purpose and potential, like Peyton Manning. Give value. In terms of serving, be an asset, not a liability.

4. I do one thing: If you try to chase two rabbits, both will escape. Do one thing at the time and do it well. Focus like a laser beam when necessary. Keep my mind stayed on Christ. What calls you to action? When do you feel most competitive or most inspired?

5. I forget what is behind: Forgive, forget, and move on. Give as little energy as possible to what might get me discouraged. "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity". Albert Einstein

6. I reach forward: If you aspire to go anywhere else, to be anything more, you need to look away from your present circumstances and focus on the future that inspires and energizes you. Don’t mistake activity for achievement.

7. I receive the prize: "If you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed." David Viscott.  Always look ahead, try to run through the line, not just run up to it and stop

8. I live up: Look like, sound like and act like a child of the King. When it comes to getting quality, there are no shortcuts. "If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life." Abraham Maslow

9. I join with others: Work together. A team will always outperform an individual. “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Isaac Newton

10. I follow examples: "Approve of things that are excellent." (Rom. 2:8)  Follow purpose, not only "big" things. Paul said, "Those who seem to be something added nothing to me." Galatians 2:6

11. I live according to pattern: Trust God's wisdom and instructions. Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together. Vincent van Gogh

Ephesians 4:15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.




Wednesday, November 04, 2015 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Firm Foundation Video Bible Study, "No More Fear" | Recorded from Periscope Live Stream

Tuesday, November 03, 2015 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

I've been using Periscope to share Bible Studies to a diverse audience. Follow me on Twitter and Periscope to receive notifications on upcoming live streams. My Twitter name is @BryanHudson

Also sharing webcasts on FirmFoundationTV.

Have a great day!