Happy Mother's Day!
As we approach Mother's Day this year - I wanted to take a moment to celebrate a special mother who recently entered my life -- our House Mom, Beauty!
Months before the Grand Opening celebration of Life Okendewa, we were on the search for the perfect house mom. During my visit last December, Carol and I interviewed a number of women interested in the position. We had a particular type of woman in mind, but hadn't yet met her. We hoped to find someone who:
- Was loving, gracious, and kind. Someone who was gentle but commanded respect.
- A person who understood the work expected of her and not grumble and complain about the hard work it takes to raise 8 children at one time.
- Someone who was not distracted by the "extravagance" of the Life Okendewa house but took to heart the mission of Life Okendewa to love the abandoned and the orphaned as their own.
- And lastly - and almost just as important - someone who has experienced a similar burden to the orphan. Someone who had been ostracized from their own community and would understand the protection, love, and comfort needed to raise these children in love to adulthood.
We sat across a number of women, clearly excited about the potential to move into this big, blue, beautiful house. Not that I can blame them - I understand their desire completely. But unfortunately, we could tell their heart wasn't focused on our mission - our goal of raising up sons and daughters in a beloved life.
After our interviews, we sat down with Headman Stephen and told him none of these ladies were right - does he have anyone else in mind??
The next week we met Beauty.
There was an instant connection. She was gentle yet strong. She radiated with love and it was abundantly clear she could not wait to share that love with others. She had been abused, neglected, and ostracized for not being able to have children of her own. All she wanted in the whole world was to be a mother. We knew we had the right woman when she told us:
"I know these children are coming from painful backgrounds. They are hurt and vulnerable. It is my job to protect them and to love them. To help them heal from their pain."
At that very moment, we told Beauty we'd love to have her as our very first House Mom at Life Okendewa. It was an incredible day when we moved Beauty into her very own room - with a dresser, bed, and closet. She grinned ear to ear as she checked out her new space - one that she could call her own.
But the best part about this story is that Beauty's dream of one-day becoming a Mommy has finally come true. We are so thankful for the love she pours out each day and are so excited to watch her grow in her role of motherhood in the years to come.
Thank you, Beauty, and Happy Mother's Day!
****If you're interested in supporting Beauty and Life Okendewa - we are currently in need of monthly donors to support:****
- Beauty's small salary (about $35/month)
- Groceries ($300/month) - this includes all food, hygiene products, cleaning products, etc.
- Repairs, miscellaneous expenses, and savings for unexpected events (like going to the doctor, etc) ($50/month)
I am so grateful for all the mommy's in this world - that come in all forms, relationships, and roles. We know that motherhood doesn't fit in a box - and that there are many mother's out there not traditionally recognized on Mother's Day, like Beauty. To all the types of moms out there - sharing love, raising children, and making a difference in this world - from the bottom of my heart - Happy Mother's Day! We love you!