With Mother’s Day coming up, I thought it would be good to blog about moms – in particular, my mom. I’m indebted to her for many, many things and I thank God for her influence and support in my life, as well as my siblings, our spouses and our children. We are blessed to have such a godly, Christ-following woman who has touched our lives profoundly.
My mom, Gracie, was born during the Great Depression. Her early life was marked with hardships and tragedies. She had a little sister who died soon after birth. She was in a terrible auto accident, which took the life of her uncle and shattered her legs – she still feels the coldness of the steel rods every time the weather changes. As a Japanese-American, she was sent to Internment Camp when she was a child. Soon after, her parents split up (my grandmother, who was Chinese, faced tremendous persecution from her husband’s family and other Japanese in the camp – which proves the adage that “hurting people hurt people”).
In spite of the great challenges my mom had growing up, she was never bitter. Rather, she used these experiences to make her “better.” She has a quiet tenacity that allows her to see trials as opportunities, instead of roadblocks. She became a follower of Jesus as a child (a friend reached out to her and brought her to church). She flourished in High School where she was an accomplished musician and a student body leader (I think I got some of those genes).
She met my dad as they worked summer jobs packing peaches in their farming town of Reedley, CA. My mom was a student at UCLA; my dad was at USC Pharmacy School. Thankfully, their love for each other surpassed any cross-town rivalry; and they got married a few years later.
Although my dad was initially resistant to going to church (he grew up as a Preacher’s Kid, and his dad spent more time with church people than his own family), my mom kept her faith and tried to instill it in her children – all five of us (which undoubtedly kept her on her knees in prayer!) Mom’s persistence got me going to church on a regular basis as a young teenager. In spite of my whining, complaining, and wanting to sleep in on Sundays and watch football games, Mom eventually won. And not long after that, Jesus also won … my heart. In fact, all five of us have a vibrant relationship with Christ. God answered her many prayers for us.
Over the course of time, my dad also gave his life to Jesus. I’m convinced that my mom had a lot to do with that. Her prayers and quiet influence set the stage for my dad to overcome his bitter past experiences with religion and to step into the amazing life that comes with a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ. They served God and His Church faithfully over the decades, until my dad’s sudden passing in 2003.
My mom is a shining example of “faith over the long haul.” Someone once said that, “the ‘race’ of the Christ-follower is not a sprint; it’s a marathon.” For nearly 80 years, Mom’s life is marked as one that has “always protected, always trusted, always hoped, and always persevered” (cf. 1 Cor 13:7). In so many ways, she brought our whole family to Jesus. And she continues to invest in her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, too.
Now that’s a legacy.
Thank God for Mommies, like mine, who pray persistently and live out their faith!
How has God used your mom or other “mother figures” in your life to bless you?
What helps to pass on a living faith to the next generation?