Where would I be without my mom?
She taught me to tie my shoes, slay my own dragons and dream big. She kissed me goodnight and tucked me in tight so the beds bugs wouldn’t bite. She taught me my letters and colors and numbers and words. She placed a band-aid over every scrape and cut. She baked Christmas sugar cookies with me and sewed all my Halloween costumes. She drew flowers and balloons and rainbows with me on napkins and receipts when I grew bored by errands and waiting rooms. She put every A+ school paper on the refrigerator, and kept every “work of art” made of crayons and finger paint. She encouraged my imagination when I would dream of traveling the world and living a life of adventure. She taught me how to wear make-up and how to own my sense of style. She showed up to every school play, and cried in the audience every time. She drove me across state lines to audition for acting school. She helped me pack and held back tears when it was time for me to leave home and begin a new chapter. She showed up to listen to sermons I preached, and told me they were great even when I knew better. She comforted and consoled me through the ups and downs of friendships and romances. She watched me try on a dozen wedding dresses until we found the “one”.
She taught me that compassion can be as simple as a smile and an attentive ear. She taught me that there’s always an opportunity to be generous and that small gifts make a huge impact. She taught me that strength is more than muscle; it’s the determination to love even in the tough times. From day one, she has loved me, protected me, believed in me, fought for me, and cheered me on.
An extraordinary woman made it her mission in life to nurture me. I am who I am because of my mother. Beyoncé says, “Girls run the world.” Well, I say, moms run the world. Women who birth babies and foster and adopt children create a greater legacy than any corporation or organization or institution. Women who may not have children of their own, but who advocate for and mentor and invest in children and youth are women who foster a brighter future for our world.
This week I want to honor our mothers and the power of a nurturing heart. This Mother’s Day, I want to invite you to not only give your mom a phone call, or take her out to brunch, or send her flowers. (Please do these things!). I also want to invite you to honor and support mothers that all too often are overlooked. I recently discovered in my desire to know more about the prevailing issues affecting my city that many women in NYC who are currently victims of human trafficking are also mothers.
Restore NYC, an outstanding non-profit located in Manhattan, has made it their mission to end sex-trafficking in NYC and works to restore the well-being and independence of foreign-national survivors. Seventy percent of the trafficking survivors Restore NYC serves are mothers. Like all mothers, they want the best life for their children. Since 2015, Restore supporters have honored and celebrated these women through the Give Back Mother’s Day campaign. They’ve donated. They’ve fundraised. Together, they’ve sponsored over 100 survivors in Restore NYC’s Economic Empowerment Program, making so many mothers’ dreams to care for their children a reality.
Well, I’m joining the cause this year, and want to personally invite you to do the same. This Mother’s Day, I want to invite you to spread the word by fundraising for the mothers who are currently being served through Restore NYC, or to donate to these mothers a financial gift that can ensure they can complete the Economic Empowerment Program, and discover a path of freedom and hope for their families.
You can learn more about the work of Restore NYC and read a survivor’s story by clicking here.
And to help spread the word, I have partnered with Restore NYC and created a one-week devotional in honor of these extraordinary mothers and survivors. You can download the devotional, “Women God Led to Triumph” by clicking here. I pray through this devotional you are encouraged by these heroic women in the Bible, and you are inspired in your faith and empowered to love greatly and live courageously.
Who runs the world? Moms. May we honor them, thank them, appreciate them, love them, support them and advocate for them. To all the moms out there- we honor you. To the mothers currently overcoming the trauma and oppression of human trafficking- we support you and are committed to your freedom. And to my mom, Kristel Evon Reyes- with all my heart, thank you. I love you, Ma.