© May 13, 2018 | Schulter Etyang
On, this Mother’s Day, I would like to pay special homage to mothers who have played a significant role in my life. At different stages of my life, I have been nourished, disciplined, blessed and supported by mothers. After the death of my father, my mother, Catherine Njeri Etyang’a and my sister, Evelyn Etyang Obanda, picked up the baton and raised 4 boys. It was tough. Sacrifices had to be made. But they did it with grace. They prayed, guided, counselled, fed, educated, clothed, financed and fought with us and for us. Thank you for all you do, mummy and sis. In the early days of ministry at Nakuru Christian Center, mothers, too many to mention, always prayed for and supported me.
Before I came to South Africa, Doris Wanjiru aka mama, a mother and friend helped me buy my first ticket. Thank you, Doris.
When I landed in South Africa, Pst. Mary Amondi Kirumbi, a mother who I hadn’t met before, opened her home to me. I lived with her family for a few months. Thank you, mama.
Dr. Marlene Van Wyk, my pastor at Joy Ministries, gave me the first opportunity to do ministry alongside her. She was the music director and I played the keys. She and I worked together for many years. She was a blessing to me. Behind her back, they used to call her my mom. Thank you, mom.
My mother-in-law, Alice Bowler, accepted me as a son – knowing full well I had nothing to offer her daughter. She gave her daughter to me. I thank her from the bottom of my heart.
I have seen how my wife Jenny takes care of her nieces and grandnieces and nephews – especially the energetic Atiya. She is always looking out for their best. She will be a good mother to our kids, one day.
I have been living in South Africa for the past 11 years and I have not missed seeing the role and influence that mothers have played in the making of this great nation. Recently, we celebrated the life of Winnie Madikizela – Mandela who was known as the mother of the nation. She was a fierce advocate for the freedom of black people. She stands alongside mothers – black and white – who were at the forefront of the liberation movement.
I have to confess, though, that I didn’t regard mothers as highly as I should have. I really didn’t. This is surprising since a mother and sister who later became a mother in her own right raised me. I would hear other people talk highly about how their mothers had influenced their lives. But, to me, all that was lost in translation.
It took the gospel to open my eyes to how Jesus valued women of all types – mothers, singles, wives, widows, young, old, barren, fruitful, etc. I saw how Jesus valued women and that transformed my heart. I saw how he defended, healed, appraised, and valued women throughout his ministry – even one who was caught in the act of adultery. Jesus defended and forgave her.
Mothers point us to Jesus
As I have grown in the gospel, I have discovered that what my mother and other mothers were doing was pointing me to Jesus and his work for me. They were grace, incognito. They were pointing us to the gospel. They prayed, mediated, supported, counselled, disciplined, guided and even gave up their lives for us. This is exactly what Jesus did and does for us right now in heaven. This is the gospel.
“Mothers are grace, incognito”
Gave up their lives? Oh, yes. Many mothers have had to “die” for the sake of their kids. Mothers lay aside their ambitions, careers, finances and even health for their kids. After the death of my father, my mother left for the UK. She went there to work so that she could provide for us. Her dreams “died” so that we could live our dreams. She gave up herself for us.
So, mummy, who you are and what you do points your children to the ultimate person – Jesus. You are a picture of Jesus. You reflect who he is.
Mummy, I am sure you have this nagging feeling that you haven’t been a good mother. Even if you know that you have not been a good mother, Jesus has used your imperfections for his glory. His power has worked best in your weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT). It hasn’t been easy. But it’s all been Jesus. Cheer up. Encourage yourself.
Mummy, we see Jesus in you and we hear the gospel from you, in spite of your imperfections.
Happy Mother’s Day
That’s what grace looks like