The Meaning of a Mother: A student reflects on his mother’s influence in his life for Women’s History Month.

Writing about your mother is like writing a paper the night it is due: it’s pretty risky, sometimes rewarding and when it comes down to it, it’s necessary. March is women’s history month. While abundantly important, it is ultimately depressing that our world appreciates women and the contributions they have all individually brought to us so little that we need to set a month aside to remind us to. Then again, how could we ever show enough gratitude? From standout historical and current female leaders, to mothers and sisters and friends, it is overwhelmingly clear that women are some of the strongest, caring and impactful people in our world. 

While I am sure many people tend to think of their mother first in those groups, it’s for good reason– our mothers have to put up with us. An entire newspaper isn’t large enough for me to include everything my mother has accomplished, not even everything she has done for me.

From earning a doctorate in ministry to raising two children in a desert, my mother is easily the strongest person I know. Her courage to live in Kenya for 9 years (with two young children) closely after college to live out mission work makes even things like her endurance to be a woman pastor in a world that still boxes women who want to be in ministry into child care seem trivial. 

But if I’m being honest, strength isn’t what first comes to mind when I think of my mother. I think of rain. My mother has such an amazing understanding of beauty and has found so much of it everywhere we have lived, including the desert of Kenya. 

In the few and far between moments in Kenya that we would get rain, I would be found outside playing in the water and mud. In Kentucky, we would stand outside together in the rain. Because of her, I find peace and joy in the world around me; because of her I know how to love the people and world around me. The beauty in the world around me reflects the joy and peace my mother has taught me to recognize wherever I am. 

But my mother hasn’t just contributed to my life. She has held a variety of jobs spanning from being a missionary to a university library assistant. But ministry has always been where my mother’s vocation has been. She is currently the pastor at Englewood Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

This summer we’ll have lived in Indianapolis for five years, and my mother has certainly become an extraordinarily loving and wise pastor in our church community and neighborhood. If I had to sum up as much of my mother as I could in a few words, it would be these: rain, love, strength and pastoral. 

I find my mother to be quite a remarkable person, as I am sure most people would think of their own mother, but she is still just one example of a powerful and important woman. I know it might be difficult to think about things you can do for women’s history month. I encourage you to do three things. First, take some time to compile a list of women in your life who have either inspired you or been formative for who you are in some way. Second, put some words down about each of them just talking about how they have been important to you. Third, if you are able to reach out to any of the women in your list, do so. If not, then spend some time talking with a friend or family member about them. If you find that your list is rather small, I encourage you to spend some time with texts written by women.

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