Before I became a mother, it was easy to pick out a Mother's Day gift for my mom. I had the privilege of ignorance. But on February 17, 2006, that ignorance flew out the window of Baylor Grapevine Hospital when a baby boy was placed in my arms. Now I knew.
Having heard on my birthday every year about the 14 stitches my mother suffered during childbirth and how many months she felt that pain, I now felt it.
Having heard my mother say that having a child is like carrying your heart outside your body and letting it walk around, I now carried it. I now saw it take first steps.
I had never loved my mother more. Now I knew. The magnitude of what my mother had done for me all my life started to sink in.
So how exactly am I supposed to say thank you to my mother now that I know?
For countless meals fixed or fetched, for hairdos perfected before school and messed up before the bus got us all the way there, for refereeing more sibling battles than one can count, for pretending and being silly, for enduring back to school shopping with two daughters year in and year out, for carpooling, for taking us on vacations to places we wanted to go, for protecting us from harm, for comforting us when kids were mean, for correcting us when we were mean, for listening to kids’ music in the car, for teaching our VBS classes, for volunteering at the school, for confidentially counseling our friends, for cheering us on from the bleachers even when our team couldn't win a game, for enduring our adolescent mood swings, for playing basketball in the driveway, for teaching us about Jesus Christ, and for doing all these things with love and a smile on her face. HOW? How do I thank my mother for raising me? And for doing it without letting on how hard it was?
Mom, truly, I thank you. Now that I know, I don't know how you did it. But I'm grateful. And I hope I can raise your grandchildren in such a way that they remember me with a smile on my face. Even if I put all my money in my purse and spent a year doing nothing but shop for the perfect Mother's Day gift to accurately reflect your worth to me as a mother, it would elude me. Nothing in a store could ever measure up to your value.
I may have a little gift in my hand for you on Mother's Day, but I also want to give a gift that means something more. I want to show you your value to me by showing a little girl in India how much value she has to Christ. She is living in a very dark, unsafe brothel and her own mother is a slave to many men. Her mother is unable to care for her because she is not free to stop working. Her mother could sell her young daughter to the brothel and escape a living hell. But her mother wants freedom, protection and life for her child. Her mother is saying, "Help me by helping my daughter."
With a financial gift made in your honor, God is providing a means of rescue for this little girl through As Our Own. The little girl's mother will entrust her to their care. When she visits her daughter she will see her thriving and healthy and she will know that she has given her child a priceless gift. The child will be raised by loving women who will nurture her like their own daughter. She will go to school and be educated, which will change the path of her future. She will be introduced to Jesus Christ, who loves her and gave Himself for her. For the rest of her life, a family of believers will devote themselves to her well being.
Rescuing children from horrific exploitation and eventual death from AIDS does not come without a cost. For those of you reading this, the cost is financial. For a team of believers on the ground in India, the cost is spiritual and physical. Today I am looking for people who will partner with us by giving sacrificially to As Our Own. Let's equip them to do the work God has called them to do. They are anointed for this work. They are even training pastors to take up this cause so that the church in India will become a mighty advocate for these children. The momentum is building and I ask you to please be a part of what God is doing.
Honestly, it is easier not to know about these things. I could have written details in this post that would have made you sick for the rest of the week. What happens in that red-light district haunts me daily. But I will not turn away because it's easier. I will consider what is happening, how I can help, and I will take five minutes to go to As Our Own's new web site and actually do it. The beauty is that right now you and I can impact a child's future and honor our moms (or a special mother figure in our lives) at the same time. Who is with me?
Donate in honor of Mother's Day: AsOurOwn.org/ThanksMom
About As Our Own
The extreme poverty in India places girls at great risk for exploitation, enslavement, and neglect. Girls are regularly abused and degraded, forced into lives of bonded labor, either in organized begging or the sex trade.
These girls will face a dark, horrific future—unless someone intervenes.
God has opened the door for As Our Own to rescue girls before they are exploited, giving us the privilege to care for each one as our own—for life. We are building strong communities through our Lighthouse church network and training strong leaders and pastors at our Hope College, all to break these cycles for girls in future generations.
Your gifts make a lasting difference for these girls. Thank you!