I was thinking about Mother’s Day this week and many faces of mom came to mind. Not just of my birth mother, but all the women who have had a motherly influence on me over the years. Perhaps a snapshot of our stories will encourage you to celebrate all women for the role they play in each of our lives in various seasons.
This is my mom. She was beautiful, strong, sacrificial, loving, and enduring. We didn’t always agree, but it’s because we were more alike than I realized. She was the mama bear, always protective; wanting more and better for me. I love her more deeply now because I understand her mother’s heart.
Here’s my grandma with her littlest grandchild, my baby sister. She took care of my five siblings and me when mom worked and dad was imprisoned by the communist. Grandma was a prayer warrior. I witnessed the power of prayer as she prayed us through raging ocean storms and Thai pirates robbery, when we were lost at sea on our escape from Vietnam. In the Malaysian refugee camps, motherly instinct led her to beg strangers for scraps so her grandchildren wouldn’t have to go to bed on empty stomachs. She was my second mom and a spiritual mother.
Here I am with Mrs. K. She was the first neighbor we met in America. She was a single woman with no children, who took a liking to me and I adored her. She was wheelchair bound with amputated legs and needed help with daily tasks. Mrs. K. paid me a few dollars to clean her apartment each week. She always had special treats waiting for me along with a lesson about God after my job was done. In my tween years, Mrs. K. instilled in me a desire to know God and I will always treasure her spiritual influence.
Meet my adoptive mom, Jean. She was part of a Lutheran church family who sponsored our family to the United States. Jean never married and doesn’t have children. She calls me daughter and has been with me through many life events since I was nine. I’m grateful for the thoughtful ways she continues to show me love after 38 years together!
I love this photo of my boys and sweet mother-in-law, June. She was camera shy so it was a challenge to find a picture of her! June loved God, but wasn’t pushy with her faith. She introduced me to God and the Bible by sending notes of encouragement and daily devotional readings. Her quiet spirit, generosity, and devotion to God modeled for me the genuine and deep love of Christ. I miss our long conversations about life, family, and faith. She will always have a special place in my heart and I can’t wait to see her in heaven!
This lady here made it possible for Scott and I to move beyond dating. She came into our family a few years after my mom passed and became my stepmom. She convinced my dad to accept an American son-in-law 😉. She loves our family and I’m glad she has been like a mom to me.
These sweet ladies are Dorothy, Nellie, and Esther. Their kindness, gentleness, and love kept me coming back to church. I learned how to love and follow God by observing their lives. I miss their warmth and love so much. They were the spiritual mothers I needed to help nurture my faith.
Last but certainly not least, is my friend, Minyoung Lee. We know her as KGM or Korean grandma. She is my first and only mom mentor in Georgia as of this writing. God bumped me into KGM and her husband, Pastor John Lee, after our church service one spring Sunday in 2015. She has been instrumental in steering my heart back into my marriage (more on this at a later post) when I didn’t know how to love my husband.
She is wise, humble, gentle, yet firm in her influence. I’m grateful for her godly example and am honored to call her my spiritual mother.
Each of these women have contributed to my life story. God has crossed our paths to teach and mature me as a woman and a mother. How fortunate I am to be the recipient of their motherly love and influence!
Through these many faces of mom, I am reminded that God uses different people to give me the motherly love, mentoring, and guidance I need in various seasons of life. Even though my mom is no longer with me.
I’m learning that sometimes, God leaves an unmet longing in our hearts so he can use us to meet a reciprocal longing in another’s heart. Then He orchestrates our meeting so we can come together and have our longings met. What a beautiful way for God to demonstrate his love and power in working all things for our good!