Monday, April 18, 2011

Thanks, Mom!

Right before Mother’s Day last year, I read Francine Rivers’s new book, Her Mother’s Hope. It is the story of multiple generations of women in one family line. The novel powerfully demonstrates how a mother’s struggles and triumphs can impact her daughters, granddaughters, and great-granddaughters. The story taught me that we can show love to the older women in our families by understanding the unique challenges they have faced and by honoring their victories.

I began thinking about my great-grandmother, Minnie Ola Rountree, whom I never knew. She was orphaned as a young girl and was raised by her older sister. She married a godly man of high standing in the community. They had seven children together, three of whom they buried. My great-grandmother became a widow early on in life. Nevertheless, she put three sons through college through her hard work and sacrifice.

My grandmother, Aletha Green, couldn’t bear to see her mother scrub another floor to put her through college, so she married as young as she could and began life as a military wife. Her mother lived with her and helped raise her five children.

My grandmother’s family endured severe trials together. My mom and my aunt were victimized by someone their family should have been able to trust. Brokenness, pain, and destruction wound through the family like a choking vine.

But we serve a Savior who resurrects lives and families.

My mom wrote a Bible study out of her painful journey to find freedom and redemption called Breaking Free. It went on to help many women encounter Christ’s healing and restoration.

Two years ago, Jesus rescued my aunt from a stronghold of addiction and set her feet upon a rock. She now works at a church that serves people in recovery.

In many more ways than I could share today, God is slowly and faithfully resurrecting our family. He is rebuilding “the ancient ruins and restoring the places long devastated” (Isaiah 61:4).

Knowing what the women before me have overcome, I look at my mom and her sister and I say miracle. I look at my sister and myself and I say miracle. I look at my two-year-old daughter—a gift of grace in my life—and I say miracle.

As Mother’s Day approached last year, I felt overwhelmed with love for these dear women. I was so grateful for God’s work in their lives. How could I honor their perseverance, their dignity in Christ, and the redemption story that He is still writing?

Jesus brought As Our Own to my mind. I thought of the women who have found themselves enslaved in brothels in India—women without hope or freedom. I thought of what it must be like for them to bear children into such dreadful circumstances. I thought of the courage and selflessness it must take to give their daughters—bright lights in a very dark existence—a chance to live a different life. I thought of the redemption story God is writing through these young girls who are now being raised in a secure, loving, Christ-centered home. I thought of how future generations of women will look back at their grandmothers’ and great-grandmothers’ stories and say that their courage opened a door and the Savior walked right through it. They will see their lives as miracles.

I also considered the women at As Our Own who are raising these precious girls as their own daughters. Their loving care is something to praise God for.

The Lord showed me that I could honor my mother and all the women in our family on Mother’s Day by giving a financial gift to As Our Own. That gift would also honor the courage of the mothers who are enslaved in the red-light district, the dignity of their young daughters, and the love of the women who care for them at As Our Own.

I arranged for a donation to be made on behalf of the women in my family. Then I wrote a letter to my mom explaining what had inspired the gift and what it would mean for more than 60 young girls in India. It was an incredibly meaningful Mother’s Day for both of us.

This Mother’s Day, you can honor your own mother by giving a financial gift to As Our Own just as I did. Your donation will equip this ministry to care for some of the world’s most vulnerable children in Jesus’ name. Your gift can help change a family line for generations to come. Join us in being a part of this redemption story.

Here’s a special way to say, “Thanks, Mom!”

STEP 1 :: Give to our Thanks, Mom! campaign to honor your mom on Mother’s Day, May 8.

STEP 2 :: In the donation comments box, tell us what you appreciate most about your mom.

STEP 3 :: Download a certificate for your mom that explains the gift you’ve made in her name.

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!


IncenseAndMyrrh said...

Really enjoyed reading this. Thank you for sharing and encouraging! ~ Christa

Whitney said...

Thanks for sharing this idea for a Mother's Day gift. This is a gift that won't just sit on a shelf and collect duct, rather it will be used to change lives of girls. bringing freedom and revival. I am honored to give to this organization.

Jill said...

Thanks Amanda! What a way to honor the heritage of our Mothers. Last week my daughter asked me a question I have thought of a number of times and wished I could tell your Mom... please tell her... My ten year old said,"Mom, when am I gonna be old enough to do a Beth Moore Bible study with you?" I was so excited to hear her ask.. thanks for sharing your story!

Mari Bryant- Marks said...

Oh my, what a truly fabulous idea! Thank you so much for sharing it. I hope your Palm Sunday was as lovely as mine. My heart was overflowing as my 8 year old daughter chose to be baptized! Have a wonderful Holy Week, thank you for all you and your family do. :)

Anonymous said...

Two comments:
1)I just finished both the Francine Rivers book's Her Mother's Hope and Her Daughter's Dream. Both amazing, wonderful books!
2)My daughter's sorority @ DBU is involved with As Our Own, and my daughter is actually doing an "on-line" internship doing some work for them. A great way to honor Moms!
In His Grip,
Kathy W

Karen Shock said...

Beautiful post Amanda. So cool to read about where this whole idea originated. Thanks so much for following HIS lead and shining a huge spotlight on JESUS and His heart for these women! Grateful to be a small part...

Kristen said...

I love this post friend!

Brittnie said...

I was floored to see this post today. My husband and I leave in June to go pick up our daughter, "Bella" from an orphanage in India.

During our adoption process God changed our hearts from wanting an infant to an older child because we realized that these girls so easily age at of the system and then are targeted for sexual exploitation.

And since then...I have felt the tug to get involved somehow to help prevent these things from happening to these precious girls. Just wasn't sure where to start.

I knew nothing about "As Our Own"...but am so excited to check it out and see how I can get involved and what it all might lead to. Thank you for sharing!

ashley said...

What is a good amount to donate? I know anything helps but what is the average cost to take care of a child's needs for say a month?

Amanda said...

Ashley, that is a good question. I will try to find out.

melanie said...

i am so so glad you suggested this for a mother's day gift! it is a perfect idea... i never know what to get for my mom and MIL because they have everything, but this will be something i think they will both appreciate. Thanks!

Amanda said...

Ashely, the average basic needs per month are $184 per child.

Shellie Paparazzo said...

You know, I would not be currently in recovery myself, if it were not for your mother. It's taken years (and who knows how many more years)for me to get as far as I have gotten, so if I were to give to this ministry it would be in your mama's name, not my own biological mother's. She, not being a believer, would not appreciate it at all. She is still all about herself. She's actually chosen isoloation as her coping mechanism as choice and has always been offended by my reaching out. I will forever be grateful to your mama for leading me out of that through her bible studies! I had many issues and God has healed me of a lot, but we still have a long way to go, I'm afraid.

Mary said...

As Our Own looks like an amazing and worthwhile organization doing profound work for the girls of India. I would like to donate. As I look at their website, I don't see any membership to a Christian financial accountability organization such as Evangelical Counsel for Financial Accountability (ECFA). Do you know anything about the financial end of their ministry that would set my heart at ease?

Anonymous said...

How I love to read of God's triumph over the curses planted! The way He recycles pain for good is astounding. I am fascinated by the importance of generations in the Word, and your testimony highlights yet another aspect of it for me. Good stuff!

JayCee said...

Great idea....I will be using this!

ashley said...

Thanks for finding out for me, excited to get involved!

shannonmichaelis said...

Great idea - I just ordered two of these.

Amanda said...

Hi Mary! As Our Own has applied to join the ECFA and are in the post-application waiting period. I can tell you that Ralph Borde is one of the godliest and wisest men we know and we feel that the money we invest in this ministry is being used effectively in the kingdom. This ministry also has a Bible college that is training pastors to take up the cause of these young girls. As Our Own obviously cannot care for the millions of orphans and vulnerable children in India. The vision is for The Church in India to be trained to rise up and significantly impact this cause. I think that is one big example of how As Our Own is thinking long term and bigger picture. I hope that helps!

Lisa said...

My first time here. What a beautiful post! Also a wonderful tribute to your family and the power of God in our brokenness.

Unknown said...

Amanda, I found out about As Our Own through your "Thanks, Mom!" post on the LPM blog. Thank YOU for writing about them. Learning about As Our Own has taken my burden for India to a whole new place and I have been praying for them and sharing about them ever since. Thank you for being an instrument in introducing me to As Our Own! Blessings ... Jenn