There is much that could be said about motherhood as we approach Mother’s Day. From beautiful portraits of the realities of life as a stay at home mom to funny comics about parenting, the internet and blogosphere are filling up with Mom-related content by the minute.
Until last year, this holiday had always been a struggle for me. For the majority of my life, I didn’t feel much like celebrating on Mother’s Day. My mother brought more pain than joy into my life during her few years on this earth (you can watch my testimony here), and then she died suddenly just a few weeks before Mother’s Day five years ago.
As a result, Mother’s Day was an annual reminder that I lacked something. I had a void in my life and heart that only a mother could fill, and while I celebrated the other “mothers” and grandmothers in my life, I would lay low on Mother’s Day, hoping to just get through the holiday unscathed by the emotional battle waging in my heart.
And then I became a mom. Last year I had cause to celebrate Mother’s Day from the vantage point of Mother. I looked into my baby girl’s eyes, inhaled her sweet baby scent and thanked the Lord that I had been called to the sacred role of motherhood.
Even now while my Mother’s Day has been redeemed and I can look toward it with joy, I understand that this day is not a cause for celebration for some. Having been in the pit of emotional turmoil on Mother’s Day, I’m all too aware that this day can be a bitter reminder of the injustices of this life and the evil in this world.
Which brings me to my title: 35,000 moms. At this very moment, there are thousands of mothers around this world whose hearts are breaking, whose futures seem hopeless, whose empty homes are deafening whispers of their daily sorrow. I’m talking about the moms of sex trafficking victims.
Just a few weeks ago, I gathered with about 2,300 other women from around the state of Oklahoma for the annual BGCO Women’s Retreat. During our time together, we were given the opportunity to become acquainted with a ministry called One Brothel: China. As we skyped with “B,” a missions worker for this ministry, she educated us about the reality that there are more than 35,000 young women in her city who are sexually exploited and enslaved. Additionally, she informed us of her work among them, how God gave her a vision to rescue these young women through a bakery ministry.
She had me at cupcakes. As I heard her share about the red light districts, the pimps, and the challenges of reaching these women, I began to weep. I thought, they are someone’s daughters. My mother’s heart ached for the moms of these young girls who don’t get to hug their neck each night and tuck them in to bed, or greet them with a kiss and a smile as they wake each morning.
And for many of these young women, prostitution was their only choice. They left their rural homes for the urban promises of a brighter future for themselves and their families, and they found bondage and exploitation instead. As I think about my hopes for my daughter’s future, I wonder about the hearts of the 35,000 moms whose daughters’ futures haven’t turned out anything like they had hoped.
As I was challenged to pray and give toward this ministry, this is my challenge to you this Mother’s Day. While you are celebrating the lives of mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts and the multitude of other mothers in your lives, will you pray for the ministry of One Brothel: China? Will you give to help rescue these young women from spiritual and physical bondage? Will you pray for the 35,000 moms who don’t get to kiss their baby girls goodnight?
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,
who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets the prisoners free;
the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
(Psalm 146:5-7 ESV)
P.S. After we skyped with “B,” 2,350 women in Oklahoma took the challenge and gave over $20,100 to support One Brothel: China. These funds will keep the safe house and bakery open for a year. What can you do?