I know I’m a day late, but “Happy Mother’s Day” to all you moms out there. Moms, you are so inspirational to me; when I think of all the thankless sacrifices you’ve made for the sake of your families, it’s overwhelming. So, thank you, thank you, thank you!
As we take a little pause in our “Something More” series, I want to give a little shout out to my mom, Gracie Lee. My mom is amazing. She not only made me, but she was instrumental in shaping me into the man of faith I am today. So, let me share a little bit about her.
My mom had a challenging childhood. She was born during the Depression. She lost her baby sister, who died a week after she was born. Because her father was Japanese, she was forced to go to an internment camp (basically a “prison” where the US Government sent all Japanese Americans to stay during WWII for fear of spying) when she was 5 years old. Because her mom, my grandma, was Chinese, they faced racial persecution from the Japanese people inside the internment camp (interesting, huh?) Because my grandma was tired of the racial and domestic abuse she was getting from her husband and his family, she divorced my mom’s father. As a result, my mom’s father cut off all communication with my mom (to this day, his side of the family refuses to speak to my mom; 70 years later!)
But when my mom returned back to her home in Central California, a friend invited her to church. It was there that she committed her life to Jesus Christ. Mom was a quiet person who lived a quiet faith, allowing the goodness of God within her speak through her life. Eventually, she met my dad (Lewis) and got married. Now, Dad was a “preacher’s kid” and because his dad (my Papa, who eventually was a godly influence to me in his later years) always put the needs of the church higher than his family, dad resented him – and the faith that he poorly represented at that time.
Mom had hoped Dad would go to church and set an example for us kids, but he resisted. Finally, when I started High School, Mom put her foot down and said, “We’re going to church!” At first, I was like my Dad and just resisted. I even pretended to be asleep on Sundays and then got up when the family left and watched football on TV! But eventually, Mom’s persistence wore me down. And I’m so glad she did, because in my junior year Jesus powerfully encountered me at a youth service, and when I accepted Christ’s invitation to be the center of my life, I was forever changed.
Eventually, all my brothers and sisters came to faith in Christ. And in his later years, my Dad also gave His life to Christ. This faith we all had wasn’t just an intellectual assent that is professed by just going to church. Every member of my family became “all-in” for Jesus; serving the Lord with our lives. Though I am the only professional “pastor” in the family, all of us (including and especially Dad, in the remaining years of his life) became true “ministers” of the Good News through our lives to others around us.
I know Mom is very proud (in the right sense of that word) of us and how we are living for Jesus. But even more so, I give credit to Mom for being the driving force behind our faith.
So, what is the secret of Mom’s success in seeing her whole family come to faith?
I know she would give a one-word answer to that: PRAYER!
I believe Mom prayed diligently, prayed daily, prayed persistently for each of us; and continues to do so to this day. And God responded to her prayer in a way that was much more than she asked for or imagined (Eph. 3:20).
I’m reminded of the parable Jesus talked about the woman and the unjust judge. This woman was relentlessly persistent in interceding for her cause. The unjust judge granted her request, if only to get her to stop nagging him!
That’s a hilarious parable! But the point is: if an unjust judge could be influenced by a person who was persistent in asking, how much more would a just and loving Judge respond to the constant, heartfelt pleas of a mom interceding on behalf of her husband and children – especially if those requests were the desire of the Judge’s heart, too!
So, moms and dads and kids and friends: don’t stop praying for the ones you love (and even for the ones you don’t love so much)! Prayer changes things. Prayer changes you. And most important, prayer resonates with the God who desires to move in peoples’ hearts. God willingly allows us to participate in His saving work – and He’s just waiting for us to grow our hearts to the place of wanting it more than life itself. And that comes through earnest, committed and persistent prayer.
That’s why Letty (another amazing praying mom) and I pray for our kids, our daughters-in-law and our grandkids EVERY DAY. And we won’t quit until our last breaths in this life.
Thank God for His praying moms! And thank you, Mom, for praying for God to fill my life!
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