Honoring the Difference Our Moms Made


For many of us, a faithful lineage of women has been the source of strength for our families. This Mother’s Day, Christ and Pop Culture honors these women by lending our voices to help girls in India who have been robbed of this vital support system. We are partnering with As Our Own, an organization that rescues girls in danger of exploitation and slavery. As Our Own promises to parent these girls as their very own daughters—for the rest of their lives.

Celebrate the amazing women in your life this Mother’s Day with a gift in their honor to As Our Own to support these young girls in India who have been rescued and will one day be moms themselves. Your donation will make a tremendous difference in the lives of these girls, their children, and their grandchildren.

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“As my mom’s husband ceased to exist, I saw her welcome me home and worry over my comfort and my future.” —Richard Clark, CaPC Editor/Writer

 

Of all the people in our lives, mothers are probably the easiest to take for granted. I spent most of my life doing just that. Think about it: Growing up, there was so much time spent with this person, you started to feel like her presence was inevitable, like no matter what, she would always be there to force you to clean your room and clean behind your ears and eat your vegetables. Those are the things we speak of when we talk about our mothers, but they’re cliches that trivialize the truth that lies behind them: Our mothers want the best for us.

Some of us assume this, because we are supposed to. Some of us stop and meditate on it for a while and consider what it all means. I saw it, with my own two eyes, laid bare: as my dad was dying over a span of months . . . as my dad died one Monday night . . . as my dad was buried. As my mom’s husband ceased to exist, I saw her welcome me home and worry over my comfort and my future. It was the kind of revelation that illuminates the past, like clicking replay on a movie with a twist ending. Suddenly, I saw everything in a new light: all those things about my mom that seemed so quaint, strange, and (dare I say) at times annoying. They were about my growth, my well-being, and my faith. So I find myself appreciative and filled with a sense of awe and responsibility — exactly what happens when you stop taking it all for granted.

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“Because of the way she lives her life, I believe that women can do amazing things.” —Faith Noelle, CaPC Writer

 

When I think about my childhood, my mother is featured in a nearly superhuman capacity—cape, boots, and all. She had six kids in eight years, stayed home as a full-time mum, and home-schooled us all on top of it. She taught me to read when I was four and had me devouring chapter books like Little House on the Prairie by the time I was six. She gave my brothers, my sisters, and I an incredible gift: the space to grow and explore on our own. Freed from sitting in a classroom for hours on end, we painted and drew, built forts, and became backyard warriors. She made us inventors, innovators, and independent thinkers. Because of my mom, I take risks. Because of my mom, I care about my spirituality and nurture my creativity. She sacrificed her time and poured her potential into all of her kids. Because of the way she lives her life, I believe that women can do amazing things–and sometimes the greatest of those things is just being an involved parent. She gave me so much more than an education; she gave of herself. Thanks, Mom.

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“It’s apparent to me that strong, faithful women come in an assortment of varieties.” —Luke Larsen, CaPC Editor/Writer

 

By taking just a quick moment to glance at the women on both sides of my family, it’s apparent to me that strong, faithful women come in an assortment of varieties. Regardless of the familial roles they played or the hand they were dealt, strong women have always been the anchor of my family.

I think of my two grandmothers first. On my mother’s side, you have a woman who is strong in that she raised and supported her family of five children all on her own in a country that didn’t even speak her language. Her love for her family is bold and strong — strong enough to work tirelessly day after day for her children’s futures. Meanwhile, on my father’s side, you have a woman who couldn’t be more opposite in personality, yet is still so undeniably strong in character. Her gentle smiles and steadfast commitment to her family holds us together — a testament to her God-given inner strength.

Then I think of my own mother and the qualities of strength and faithfulness that she has inherited and refined to help lead our own family. It’s hard to imagine who I would’ve been or what my life would’ve looked like without her. Fortunately, I don’t have to do that, and instead, I can just say thanks for all the love and support she has given me.

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“My best culture-hawk moments have a maternal model.” —Jonathan Sircy, CaPC Writer

 

I owe my love of culture to my mother. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I differ from her in the details rather than the categories of my cultural obsessions. Even my best culture-hawk moments have a maternal model. Three examples:

#1. During a semester abroad in Europe, I make it a point to go to every major art museum in the cities I’m visiting.
Maternal model: My mom loves the rural paintings of Grant Wood, to the extent that she has more than half-a-dozen Wood prints hanging in her house, none of which is the famous “American Gothic.” My parents’ house boasts the most Wood paraphernalia I’ve seen outside of the Davenport, IA museum where Wood’s effects are housed.

#2. After hearing the album “The Milk Eyed Mender” for the first time, I tell anyone and everyone within earshot how terrific Joanna Newsom’s lyrics are.
Maternal Model: My mother, a gigantic Twila Paris fan, tries to convince me, a skeptical 10-year-old, that Paris is amazing because one of her songs features the line, “and a holy fusion causes this amalgamation.” “Not only does she use the word ‘amalgamation,’” she tells me, “she uses it correctly!”

#3. During the summer after my high school graduation, I purchased a VHS collection of every Generation 1 Transformers episode through Yahoo Auctions.
Maternal model: My mother loves Lightmusic, a late 80s, cutting-edge TV show that highlighted Contemporary Christian Music videos. She gets her sister to record it off of a Chicago public access TV station, and then, once she’s accrued enough tapes, rents another VCR from the local movie rental establishment and dubs a couple of “greatest hits” collections. I still have/watch those videos.

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“My mom supported me through each phase.” —Doug Hankins, CaPC Writer

 

Growing up, my mother held to a steadfast belief in the value of individual expression. From an early age, I was encouraged by her to order my own meals, decorate my room, and select my daily attire. And because I came of age in the late 80s and early 90s, my clothing style was based entirely on the most recent super-hero movie.

For example, I saw Masters of the Universe in 1987 and then dressed up as He-Man throughout the next summer. I saw Batman in 1989 and wore Batman pajamas every day of kindergarten. Then, in 1990, I and every other kid in the United States saw Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Accordingly, I dressed in a swimsuit and knee pads, ate pizza at each meal, and attempted to live under our house (had we owned a peer-and-beam home, I am convinced that my mother would have allowed me to sleep there).

And amazingly, my mom supported me through each phase. She washed my costumes every night so I could wear them the next day.  She organized play dates so that my Ninja Turtle friends could come eat pizza with me. And she always made me feel that my attire was an extension of my giftedness. I would not be the confident man I am today without the love and wisdom of my mother.

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“She was a voice crying in the wilderness.” —Ben Bartlett, CaPC Writer

 

Mom was intense. Profound gratefulness to God, guilt, a fiery and confrontational temperament, and a mountain of love drove her desire to see the weak lifted up and to see people honor God. She aimed this passion at various targets: scrubbing the doorstop of a homeless shelter, counseling teenagers, challenging judgmental church members. Few things escaped her burning passion to see God given his due through care for the feeble.

Nowhere was this displayed more than her demands for obedience and empathy in her children. We were challenged for any and every instance of lording things over siblings, other kids our age, or anyone else. Empathy was demanded, despite our natural tendency in the opposite direction.

She died of cancer at age 44, shortly after I was married. She never met her grandchildren, nor was she given any great platform to prophetically call the strong to live with compassion. She was a voice crying in the wilderness. And yet her fire lives on in the way those who knew her live, and counsel, and parent. We are driven to a more compassionate place because of a woman never far from our thoughts. This Mother’s Day, I continue to miss her.

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“She taught me to determine never to approach the most important things in life with half my heart” —Drew Dixon, CaPC Editor

 

A little time and life experience brings perspective. Time has confirmed that I have a tremendously kind, loving, and determined mother. Growing up, I was much more interested in soccer than academics. This was a constant source of tension between me and my mother. I knew I could get by not studying very much and still manage A’s and B’s so I did. My mother was determined that I was selling myself short and so she started grounding me for getting B’s on my report card. I thought this was ridiculous and I remember having arguments where I told her that other parents would be thrilled to have a son with my grade point average.

I have since expressed deep appreciation to my mother for those fights, though I think I still probably owe her an apology for the selfish way I handled them. My mother pushed me because she knew I was capable of doing better. My mother was determined to motivate me and I can honestly say that her determination has paid off. I took college and seminary very seriously. Now that I am a father, I wholly determined to consistently point my wife and daughter to Christ–to be a faithful husband and father. My mother gave me one of the best gifts a mom can give–she taught me to determine never to approach the most important things in life with half my heart.

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