Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Bond of Motherhood

     My daughter shared with me a couple of months ago about when they learned about reproduction in her high school biology class. She said when going over the female anatomy the teacher said, "Isn't it amazing to think that each and every one of us once grew inside a uterus?" One boy (probably just  being a smart aleck) said, "Not me, I was adopted!".  Oh my! But isn't God's creation amazing?! We all come from different backgrounds and have very different childhoods, but it is amazing to think that all of us grew inside a woman's body. God created mothers for us and each of us has/had one. 

      I don't know your history and your relationship with your biological mother. I hope it is a good one. But if not, I'm hopeful that God placed other important women in your life to mother you. There are so many types of mothers in this world. We have biological moms, adopted moms, stepmoms, foster moms, godmothers, mother-in-laws, grandmothers, aunts, and women who have mentored us and been spiritual mothers to us. We have rejoiced when God placed these special women in our lives and we have mourned at their passing. Motherhood of any kind is one of God's greatest gifts. 

     But motherhood is not easy. We also all know women who are stuck in the trenches of motherhood today.  I'm thinking of the new mother overwhelmed with her newborn. The mother with a house full of littles who finds it hard to believe that a day will come when they will all dress and bathe themselves (hang on mama, I promise that day is coming!). The mom trying to find the strength to power through the crazy schedule of homework, practices, and birthday parties. The mother to teenagers struggling to find the balance of independence, safety, and responsibility. The empty-nester mother trying to find her place and adapt to a new role. The mom struggling to make ends meet. The precious friend who would want nothing more in the world than to have a child and to experience motherhood. The mom who faced all of our worst fears and is now mourning the loss of a child. The mother balancing caring for her children and yet also caring for her own parents. The foster or adoptive mom who does not know if she has what it takes to heal this child's broken heart. The mother caring for a chronically ill or special needs child who feels like she has given all she has to give. We know these women. We are these women. We also know we could all use some encouragement. 

     With Mother's Day right around the corner, what if you prayed for God to lay on your heart the names of a few special women in your life you could honor and encourage? This could be your own mother, a friend, a mentor, whomever. You could donate a mama kit(s) (they are just $7 each) in honor of your special person. We'll give you a card that you can give them explaining your gift. Write them a personal note explaining why you choose them. I know this lady would be so honored that you thought of them and that you chose to help a mother in Uganda in their name. 

     Raising awareness and money for a non-profit is not an easy job. I live and breathe this stuff every day. I feel the weight of the need all of the time. I know that truly every gift brings hope to a woman in need. The tricky thing is getting you to understand and see that need too. When you see the photos and hear the stories they seem so far away and unknown to you. When I look at photos I see friends and people I have touched and hugged with my own arms. I see the tears in their eyes as they face the unknowns before them and remember the pain of the past. I hear their laughter and excitement as they talk with their friends.  I see the glimmer of hope in their eyes as they learn about pregnancy and birth and receive their mama kit. To me the need is real and pressing.

     I would venture to say that probably 98% of Mercy for Mamas donations come from women. Why is that? Is it because our mission focuses on women's needs? Maybe. But I also think it is because motherhood is a universal bond. Mamas all over the world face the same struggles of wanting the best for our children, worrying over them, and loving them unconditionally. As women, we cannot imagine what we could do if we faced childbirth without medical help or supplies. We hate the idea of women having to choose to feed their family or buy some gloves and a razor blade. Women should not be dying during birth simply because they did not have a $7 mama kit.  

     You can bring a smile and some encouragement into the life of a woman you see every day and you can also give hope and life to a mama in Uganda. It is such a beautiful picture of how we should do life every day. Loving God and loving others both near and far. 

     Make your donation by clicking the Paypal button below. After we receive your donation we'll email you a Mother's Day card you can print off and give to your special person. If you'd like a more generic card to give, just let us know that as well. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Honor Your Mother (or any mother you know!)

Below is something I (Melissa) wrote three years ago, but as I read it this morning with tears in my eyes, I realized how relevant is still is to us. I thought I would share it with you again.
"Nearly four years ago, a beautiful Ugandan woman gave birth to a baby girl.  What should have been a moment of joy, quickly turned into a moment of sorrow for this family as this brave, strong mother  lost her life.  I know this woman was beautiful, strong, and brave because I see a bit of her every day in my daughter.  I get the honor of parenting this woman's beloved child.
When moments like Mother's Day roll around I will always think of Mercy's mother.  There are so many things I wish I could tell her.  There are so many questions that I long to have answered.  I wish she could share the joy of Mercy's laugh, her fiery temper and her silly antics.  I want her to know that her baby girl is thriving.  I want her to know her baby girl is loved.
Our Sweet Mercy at Easter 2013
Not only do I think of Mercy and her first mother, but I also think of the thousands of other women every day that do not get the opportunity to parent their children.  I think of the thousands of children orphaned every year because their mothers die senseless deaths.  I want to honor these women and children.

I think of the many amazing mothers I encounter every day.  Working moms, stay-at-home moms, room moms, and homeschool moms.  There are moms facing illness, moms parenting alone, and moms overcoming abuse. There are adoptive moms, biological moms, and step-moms. There are women dreaming of motherhood, those just starting out, and those nearing the end.   There are so many special women for us to honor.
This year for Mother's Day I am asking you to honor the women in your life.  Honor your mother, the mother to your children, or any mom you see that is doing an amazing job.  But let's make our gifts count.  Let's use this as a great opportunity to help women on the other side of the world.   I can't think of a better way to honor these women then by telling them you decided to give hope to a mama in her name."

I wrote those words three years ago, but they still ring true today. I'd love for you to honor your mother (or any other special person in your life) by making a donation in their name. It's so easy to do! Just click on this donate button. Make a donation in any amount you like (you can even sign-up to make it a recurring gift each month!).  When we receive your donation, we'll email you a card you can print off and give to your loved one.

Mercy for Mamas is a registered non-profit. All donations are tax-deductible. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Giving Hope to Young Mothers

Mercy for Mamas partners with several crisis pregnancy centers throughout Uganda. Some of these centers are residential facilities. Others are drop-in community centers. The Comforter's Center is a drop-in facility outside a large slum in Kampala. This center does amazing work and has done so for many, many years. We've partnered with them now for five years and we supply about 300 mama kits to them each year. They sent me a couple of testimonies today to share with you.
 One young mother Hellen shared, "When I talked to my boyfriend he told me that the pregnancy was not his since we had just met few months. I became desperate and confused of what to do. In fact after he denied the pregnancy, I thought of having an abortion as life was so hard for me. But thank God, this did not happen. When I visited the center, I was counseled and encouraged to choose life for my baby. A few weeks to my expected date of delivery, I went back to the center and I was given a mama kit and most of all, they shared a prayer with me which gave me courage and strength to deliver well." Hellen now is a proud mother to a beautiful boy named Jeremy.

Meet Edivinah. Edvinah shared, "At that time, I and my boyfriend were going through a financial crisis and had no money to buy baby requirements and most of all the mama kit. I was worried how I was going to deliver without a mama kit. The financial situation we were going through caused worry and fear within me. I thought that I would not be able to deliver my baby. The counselor encouraged me through sharing the word of God with me and through several visits, I became very strong. I visited the center again and I was given a mama kit.  On 21st Jan 2016, I delivered a bouncing baby boy whom we named Andrew. I give glory to God and thank the center for the great support."

These young mothers faced great fear during their pregnancies They were scared and needed hope that they and their children would be okay. They found that hope through the work of The Comforter's Center. This center offers great spiritual counseling as well as classes on parenting, health and vocational skills. Many women from the slum come to this center because they know they will find kind people willing to help. They also come because they know they can get a mama kit. By providing the mama kits to this center, we help to show mercy and give access to better healthcare to these mothers.  Every $7 gift to Mercy for Mamas represents a beautiful young mother and child like the ones you see here.