They say it takes a village to raise a child. This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot since our beloved Mrs. Mary Helen passed away this year. I believe with every fiber of my being that I have the world’s greatest mom. Melissa and I didn’t have any reason to go looking for extra women to mother us, but God surrounded our little family with a handful of Jesus-loving women who were like colorful sprinkles on the incredible homemade iced sugar cookies that our mom made.
I’m thinking of Johnnie Haines, who was my mom’s best friend and running buddy for as long as I can remember. We spent more time playing at her house than anywhere else, except for church. Maybe. She’s always kept us laughing with her wit and sass and she’s taught me a thing or two about raising a son. God bless her for not knocking my head off when I reveled in tattling on her boys.
I’m thinking of Kathy Kolkhorst, whose daughter was my very first friend in kindergarten. She displays Jesus in her joy and she never stops serving others. She was always an outspoken lover of Christ and she helped influence me to follow Him. (She gave me my first Psalty tape!) God bless Mrs. Kolkhorst for all the carpooling and for leading our Brownie troop for years.
Then there’s our dear Mrs. Mary Helen. What a precious saint of God. That woman would bring sacks of groceries, boxes of baked treasures from Three Brothers Bakery, and huge Ziplock bags of homemade cookies to our house when Mom was out of town speaking. Normally she would only be gone one night, but Mrs. Mary Helen wanted to spoil us. And that she did. Her kindness and love were warm and comfy like a perfectly worn-in blanket. She was beautiful on the outside with her pretty white hair and her sweet smile and oh- so-stunning on the inside with her generous spirit.
Women like Aunt Johnnie, Mrs. Kolkhorst, and Mrs. Mary Helen made up our village. Melissa and I were shaped, in part, by the small and large deposits they made in our lives.
I think Village Moms have two important roles – to hold up the arms of other women as they do the work God has given them, and to collectively teach Village Children about the love of Jesus. (As Lindsee said so well, Village Moms don’t have to be called “Mom” to be a mother.) I can hardly put into words how my Village Relationships have blessed me. Experiencing life in community with church members in our neighborhood has been rich. This year I’ve learned how to support other moms and how to let myself be supported. It’s a beautiful thing!
I love that several times a week, my kids get to see how my girlfriends love and serve Jesus. Yesterday some of us Village Moms had a semi-spontaneous prayer session (not because we were that spiritual but because we were that needy for Jesus). Three little preschool girls ran circles around us while we prayed and one precious 9-month-old foster daughter sat, bounced, and rolled right in the middle of us. Some of our praying was done with eyes open and there were no few distractions, but my heart was so full. I know one day Jackson and Annabeth will talk about how Mrs. Crista, Mrs. Lisa, Mrs. Debra and so many other godly friends lived out their faith in front of them.
It is good to be a mother. It is good to bless children, whether they’re yours or they’re in your village. It is good for children to be surrounded, protected, loved and taught by a community of God-fearing women.
There is a Village in India where young girls are being rescued from a future of certain enslavement and exploitation in brothels. As Our Own, a Christ-centered adoptive care ministry, is working tirelessly to provide rescue and lifelong after-care for these precious children. These girls don’t age out of a program and get launched out on their own – they are daughters for life. The girls are living, breathing evidence of God’s power to redeem. Their destiny is changed from one of destruction and misery to a life of love, security, education, and hope in Christ.
In honor of the Village Moms who loved me, carpooled me, coached me, cooked for me, prayed for me, bought Girl Scout cookies from me, gave thousands of hugs, listened to prayer requests on behalf of my pets, taught me in VBS, and celebrated birthdays with me, I am making a Mother’s Day donation to As Our Own. In honor of the Village Moms who are now walking beside me as I mother my children, I am giving sacrificially to see my beautiful little sisters in India thrive and flourish.
Siestas, will you be a Village Mom for our girls in India? They may never see our faces, but they will know our love and concern. It takes a significant amount of financial resources to provide the level of adoptive care that As Our Own gives. Will you make a donation in honor of your mom or of a Village Mom who made a difference in your life? Doing so will make a dramatic difference in the lives of these young girls who are so loved by God.
Happy Mother’s Day, Siestas. Thank you so much for your support.
All my love,