A Mother's Hope
Mother’s Day has come and gone again. The social media feeds are still filled with photos of mothers and accolades for all that mothers do – and rightly so.
We talk a lot about mothers when we discuss My Cup of Tea because the women working here are mothers. They represent children from eight months to over forty years old. Collectively their experiences encapsulate nearly every high and low a mother can experience. They know the joy of graduations, marriages, births, new jobs, sobriety, and healing. At the other end of the spectrum, they’ve lived through their children’s struggles with injury, addiction, arrest, imprisonment, and illness. Some have even survived the death of a child. For many, the well of despair has been dug so deep that it is hard to fathom that anything cleansing, refreshing, or revitalizing could come from it. And yet, they still hope.
My mother had the gift of hope too. Her life was a difficult one, but if she were living, she would say that her challenges paled in comparison to the ladies at My Cup of Tea. Mom was the middle child of five and grew up in our small town with limited opportunities. Money was tight in her home and throughout her entire life she labored just to make ends meet. She married young and became a mother at eighteen. Mom remarried when I was ten and became a survivor of physical and emotional abuse for the next twenty years. After finally escaping marriage to my stepfather, mom struggled with mental and physical illness for the rest of her life. She died at sixty-eight from complications of diabetes and heart disease.
Despite the hardships, what I remember most about my mother is that she was always hopeful. Mom had the innate ability to see a positive future for my sister and me, even when she couldn’t see one for herself. Mom was determined to encourage us with that hope, help us grasp the opportunities, and be around for as long as possible to see us thrive. It is that quality that I miss about my mother the most.
Perhaps the ability to instill hope is inherent in mothers. If it is naturally there inside all mothers, then it seems that the ability to tap into it and convincingly convey it is harder now. Many people are choosing recklessness and violence because they have lost hope. They can’t imagine a future where their lives are any better. Fundamental to the purpose of My Cup of Tea is providing tangible examples of the byproducts of hope – jobs, meals, safety, community, and knowledge about the Source of it all.
Christians believe that eternal hope comes from faith in Christ. We share and reinforce that message in daily, voluntary devotionals and Bible studies with the My Cup of Tea ladies. But even the most devout when confronted with tragedy and prolonged grief strain to see the Hope. So, we thank God for his mercy, for the everlasting hope in Christ, and for giving us mothers to help us see it.