Jul 2, 2024

A Mother's Legacy

"My mom is someone who will always go the extra mile, and often does it behind the scenes to avoid recognition. She loves big."

It has been 50 years since Sharon (Boersma) Mulder graduated from Dordt. She’s no stranger to the college; all four of her children attended Dordt, and she doesn’t live too far from campus. Still, attending the Class of 1974 golden reunion brought back many memories.

“My college roommate was at the reunion, so we spent time reminiscing and savoring our time together,” she says. “It was wonderful to see God’s faithfulness through the generations and in everyone’s lives.”

A Prinsburg, Minnesota, native, Mulder chose to attend Dordt to major in early elementary education. “Studying elementary education seemed like the natural choice for me, as I liked babysitting and being with children,” she recalls. “I appreciated Dordt’s biblical background—everything was based on the Bible as the central focus. I also enjoyed the good Christian fellowship and the friends I made there.”

Mulder describes herself as a “behind-the-scenes” person—not one to stand in the limelight. But in her own quiet way, she has made an impact.

Looking back, Mulder is grateful for the time she spent at Dordt. “Although I had a strong Christian background, Dordt built on it more. My time at Dordt made my faith stronger and helped me learn to apply it in every area of life.”

After graduating from Dordt, she moved to Kanawha, Iowa, to teach. When a former college roommate told her about an opening in Wisconsin, she taught second grade and kindergarten in Waupun. That is where she met Phil Mulder; they married and had four children. They also decided it would be best for her to stay home with the children.

“It was a good fit for our family,” she reflects. “I got to see my children’s first steps and hear their first words.”

She also knew that she would raise her children to love and serve the Lord. “That was our main goal. We gave them a Christian education, and we pointed them to God’s Word when they had questions. We taught them the importance of attending church and having good friends.”

Mulder describes herself as a “behind-the-scenes” person—not one to stand in the limelight. But in her own quiet way, she has made an impact.

“My mom is someone who will always go the extra mile, and often does it behind the scenes to avoid recognition,” says Erin (Mulder, ’11) Wynia, Mulder’s youngest daughter. “She loves big and is always willing to help wherever needed. She has a servant heart and wants to do it all to the glory of God.”

“There are many, many things I appreciate about my mom, but her faithful walk with the Lord is what I value the most,” says Alicia (Mulder, ‘06) Geleynse, Mulder’s oldest daughter. “Through good times and in challenges, she has always continued to trust and serve the Lord.”

One of Wynia’s strongest memories from childhood is seeing her parents kneel by their bed in prayer every single night. “These weren’t just quick prayers; it was often a long time before they finished. Their faith shaped who they are, and they modeled that to us daily.”

Wynia points to Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
“Even though some days were difficult, my parents never lost their joy in the Lord,” she says. “Seeing them live this out has shaped my own perspective on this life and eternity. I know that God is good, He is writing my story for His glory, and I can trust Him in all things.”

Geleynse and Wynia say that their mother had a big influence on how they parent their own children and live as a Christ-followers.

“I always knew that my mom’s love and care were unconditional. She challenged us to not only have right actions, but that those actions would come from a heart that is seeking after God,” says Geleynse.

“My parents made it very clear that we were deeply loved. They said it and showed it daily. I knew that they saw me as a gift from the Lord,” adds Wynia. “I pray that my children also know without a doubt that we love them, we love spending time with them, and they are gifts from God that bring so much joy.”

The Mulders prioritized family time, whether by working together in the garden or around the house, enjoying pizza and movie nights, hiking through nature, or spending quiet evenings at home.

“Being together as a family was enjoyable, and I think that’s a big part of why we still enjoy being together as adults,” says Wynia.

After graduating from Dordt, Wynia, Geleynse, and their brothers Nathan (’08) and Jason (’04) chose to stay in Northwest Iowa.

“Our children encouraged us to consider moving to Sioux Center. They kept saying, ‘Here are some jobs available in Sioux Center. Here are houses in Sioux Center you should consider,’” laughs Mulder.

After Mulder’s husband was laid off, they sold their house in Wisconsin and found a place to live in Sioux Center. Both she and her husband quickly lined up work.

“My parents made it very clear that we were deeply loved. They said it and showed it daily. I knew that they saw me as a gift from the Lord."

“All through my life I have seen God’s grace in many ways, but it was especially evident in 2010 in our decision to move to Sioux Center. God worked out all the details so beautifully; everything went smoothly and quickly.”

Mulder feels blessed to have all four of her children nearby. “When we lived in Wisconsin, we didn’t get to see our grandchildren as much. Now, we get to see them every Sunday at church.”

Wynia also loves that their close-knit family enjoys spending time together. “My mom is always ready to babysit the grandkids and often has fun projects planned for them. Our family gatherings have good food and good-natured banter. We know that we’ve got people in our corner who will be there for us no matter what.”

One way Mulder has supported her daughters is by being a helpful resource for them in their work as stay-at-home moms.

“My mom encourages me that the work I am doing is important, even though it can sometimes feel monotonous or even meaningless,” says Geleynse. “She has taught me that the task of raising children is an honor and perhaps the highest calling one may have.”

Mulder has shared her love for children with others, too, including by teaching daycare and preschool over the years. “I love working with little ones in preschool. They have such excitement for learning and trying new things. They have such fun enthusiasm when they are little. It is also a great responsibility because little kids pick up on things quickly.”

It’s easy to see how Mulder has touched the lives of children and families beyond her own in positive ways.

“When my mom turned 70, a neighbor watched my four kids so we could have an adults’ night out to celebrate her birthday,” recalls Wynia. “When I tried to pay our neighbor at the end of the evening, she refused to take it. She told me, ‘Your mom was such a blessing to our family. She played a big part in helping my kids make a smooth transition to daycare when I started working.’”

When Geleynse thinks of her mother, she thinks of Colossians 3:22-24: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

As Christians, we are called to be faithful in the tasks that God has given us, including in the quiet, everyday kind of work, adds Geleynse.

“Although my mom may not have received any prestigious honors in her lifetime, she has received construction paper awards and heartfelt thank-you notes from her own children and hundreds of other children she has impacted throughout her life. She has served in such a way that her future heavenly reward, worth far more than any earthly honor or award, will be great.”

Sarah Moss ('10)

A picture of campus behind yellow prairie flowers