*My mom will be out of the country this Mother's Day as she and Dad will be in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I wanted to share this now before she leaves.*
Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Proverbs 31:28-29
My beautiful mother with my Jenna
On a cold November night thirty-five years ago, my mother sat at a neighbor’s window in shocked disbelief as she watched all of our earthly possessions licked up by a fire that ravaged our seventy-three year old farmhouse. My father was away in California doing music evangelism meetings and was not immediately able to be reached.
While the ashes of the house lay smoldering two days later, he called her for the first time.
After talking for a few minutes, my father shared that he felt the Lord was calling us back to the land of his childhood in the Democratic Republic of Congo where his parents had given their lives as missionaries.
My mother was indignant at that thought!
“Africa! How can you talk to me about Africa when my house is still smoldering!” she replied, incredulously.
My mother had married my father on two conditions:
1) That she and my father would never be missionaries and,
2) that they would never be missionaries to Africa.
Thirteen months after the fire took our home, my mother was three months pregnant with her fourth child and destined for bush life in the DRC. Our mission station was six hours away from the nearest hospital. She was a beautiful city woman bound for a life that flung her back into nineteenth century living conditions with very limited electricity and no running water. She cried almost every day for two years and her favorite time of each evening was marking off another of the 1200 + days until her first term as a missionary was over.
I have never known a braver woman than my mother, Nancy Smith. I have lived my life as her daughter watching her face her deepest fears and overcoming them with her passionate love for Christ. Thirty-four years after the initial, horrible culture shock and loneliness she experienced as a new missionary, she and my dad continue to follow hard after Jesus in a country that she once thought she never wanted to live in, but that has now become her own. Her life speaks profoundly to me of the reward of laying down her own ideas of what she thought her life story was going to look like and exchanging those ideas for a life story that only Jesus Christ could have written.
Mom, today I rise up and call you blessed. You have taught me that sacrificing my own dreams for the sake of Christ, even though painful, is the only way to truly find life’s purpose. When the road gets long and hard, I only need to look to you as inspiration to keep going. I love you with all of my heart.
To see the amazing life and experiences the Lord Jesus Christ has given my parents in the DRC (where they currently are living), please click here at www.labanministries.org.