Last Mother’s Day I had just arrived in Switzerland. I specifically remember taking pictures and sending them to my Mom and sisters as I wished them a Happy Mother’s Day.

Little did I know, in a matter of a few days, it would be my mother that I needed to help me get through.

It’s hard to put into words, everything that eventually unfolded. At one point it felt like I was waging war on many levels: spiritually, emotionally and mentally. I felt like everything was crumbling around me and if I could just make it back home, I would be okay. But I didn’t know how I was going to make it.  Words were thrown like daggers and everything I thought I knew to be true about myself began crumbling. Her words helped me to hold on to hope. “Christi, I know you.”

To hear those words, was like someone breathing hope back into my soul. She would send me texts every morning to check on me. “How are you doing sweetheart” “I’m praying for you”. Her texts and the time I spent pouring through my Bible were my lifeline.

My mom would listen and talk to me for but long I needed. Whenever I called or texted, she was there. Because of the time difference, I once called her at four in the morning. She picked up. That period of about a month was the hardest thing I ever faced. I felt hurt so deep I would sit and weep. I didn’t know how long.  Time seemed to stand still. But my Mom’s support was exactly what God knew I needed.

At one point my mom said, “Do you want us to fly you home?” I know she and my dad would have, even if it took them a long time to pay off the ticket. Knowing she was accessible was what I needed. I needed someone to stand by me and she did, and just like it hurt me, it hurt her. She lost too. She lost a friendship, but she didn’t focus on that, she made sure I was okay.

For those of you who don’t know my mom, her world fell apart when she was Twenty-six years old. She was eight months pregnant with my older brother when she awoke to gunshots. She ran out of her bedroom to find her husband slumped  against the bed. He’d been shot. She rushed out to find help, and help carry him downstairs to find transportation to the hospital. A neighbor told her to go change, she did, and they took off without her. He died on the way to the hospital. There my mom was in a foreign country, eight months pregnant and now widowed. She had to leave the country within a week and was unable to return until thirty-five years later.

During those thirty-five years, she met my Dad, and raised six more children, while assisting my Dad, as he pastored a small church. After my siblings and I grew up, she started volunteering at a pregnancy center. She performs the ultrasounds on new mommas. She stands and fights for those yet to be born. She has never used her loss as an excuse, but always as a platform to help others who are wounded and hurting. Her loss has turned into life for my siblings and I as well and the countless babies now born because she helped support a new mom whose world seemed to be crumbling.

She is a remarkable, kind, compassionate and understanding woman. She is not perfect, and she would be the first person to admit that. But, she gives God and her family, and those who know her everything she’s got. Instead of being bitter from her losses, and there have been many, she decided to love more, give more and serve more.

I could never repay her for the time she has invested in me and the example she has been to me. But, I pray that I live my life in such a way that it reflects that I am her daughter and ultimately God’s child.

Mom, I love you so very much. Thank you for your love, support, your wisdom, your courage, your faithfulness, your service, your perseverance and most of all, your prayers. They mean the world to me and if I could even be a quarter of the person you are, I would have lived well.