Mother's Day is a very special day for me. This is the first year that my mom won’t be here to celebrate with us. Even though she’s not here, I wanted to write a tribute to her. I know that my kids and grandkids will one day read this.
On January 10, my mom passed away. A few years ago, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was in China at the time and came back to America to do treatments. Before this, she had never had any health problems. For a couple months she had surgery and did treatments. The cancer never came back, but the cancer treatments damaged her lungs. Even though she lost her blonde hair and experienced weakness, she never complained. For over a period of 3 years, her lungs slowly got weaker.
Meanwhile, my parents continued to do missionary work. We didn’t notice any extreme change in her breathing until March of last year. She wasn't getting enough air, even while sitting down. As she spent over a month in the hospital in China, she did not get any better. We knew we had to fly her back to America within days or she would pass away. We quickly scrambled to find a medical plane to fly her back to California. She would not have survived the journey home on a commercial plane.
When she miraculously got back to America, she had to spend another month in the hospital. As she slowly began to stabilize, the doctors released her home. But for the next 8 months, her lungs continued to weaken. Even through the struggles, the precious time with her was invaluable and further immortalized her in my mind. We had a beautiful Christmas with her, sitting around the tree with all of the kids and grandkids. She passed away a few weeks later. There’s one verse that we put on my mom’s memorial stone that describes her – it’s found in 2 Timothy 1:5. The verse says, “I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you.”
My mom always had genuine faith, just like her mom. Through all the suffering that she went through, she never complained. She always believed that God could heal her and never asked God “WHY?” We need more fathers and mothers like this. Timothy was the first “second generation” Christian in the Bible. His mother and grandmother were probably some of the first converts that Paul made. We don’t know if Timothy’s father or grandfather were Christians, but we do know that the women in his family had a great impact on him. Timothy was a strong young Christian because of his mother and grandmother. It wasn’t just that his mother and grandmother were “nice” people. It was their genuine faith that impacted him. They didn’t just say they were Christians. They lived it out.
Mothers have a powerful influence on their children. I am more like my mom than anyone else in the world. Just as a mother has influence, all of us have are having a daily influence on someone. The world is looking for people who really believe what they say they do. There are many Buddhists who don’t really believe. There are Muslims who don’t really believe. There are Christians who don’t really believe. We have to be people who really believe.
A mother is responsible for her children. If she wants them to turn out a certain way, she can’t just tell them, she has to show them. We are responsible for those around us. We are examples. My mom loved us very much. She sacrificed for us. She got us ice cream. She took us to Disneyland. She did all of the fun things that moms do. By loving us, she showed us the love of God. Because my parents were missionaries to China, there were times when we weren’t always physically together. Anytime I was sick, I would text my mom.
A couple of months ago, I got so sick while traveling in Japan. I called my mom in the middle of the night. Even though she was having trouble breathing, she was so happy to pray for me. One of the life lessons my mom taught me was to always be a giver. She loved to give. She gave to missionaries. She gave to family. She gave to everyone. She didn’t teach me by saying “give” with her words. All of the things she taught me, she taught me by what she did. Genuine faith will produce generational fruit. I honor my mom for her genuine faith.