我母親對她孩子結婚的唯一標準就是須嫁娶給一個基督徒。甚至在與我的準妻子見面之前，我的母親就批准了我們的婚姻，因為我的姐姐 (當時和我一起在美國) 向我母親證實，她未來的兒媳是一個敬虔的基督徒。
多年後的2007年，帶著四個孩子，在計算機領域享有穩定的職業生涯時，我領受上帝的呼召離開我的職場，準備進入全職服事。我的主要禱告之一是我能得到媽媽的祝福，但這似乎很難，因為以後我可能無法像以前那樣每個月給父母寄錢了。我全家第一次 (需要六張機票) 飛回台灣過年，並當面向她提出了這個想法。她回復我的第一句話是：“……那你以後就不用再寄錢回家了！”，她的第二句話是：“你為上帝工作，所以“老闆”永遠不會開除你！”，她的第三句話是：“你尊重我 (在決定之前徵求同意)，所以上帝會尊重你！”。後來，當我在神學院的歲月裡，遇到了非常困難的情況時，是我的母親不斷地鼓勵我要堅強走下去，不要因撒旦的謊言而落入灰心的陷阱。
A Mother Who Fears the Lord
Growing up in a Christian home, I was used to attending Sunday worship as a routine, but one Sunday when I was in the 7th grade, I asked my mother if I could skip the worship service as I had an important exam that week. Without any hesitation my mother answered, ” ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’ ” (Proverbs 9:10) From then on, I not only knew there would be no excuse to skip worship on Sundays, but I also knew moreover that, to my mother, God was more important than anyone or anything else.
Later on in my freshman year of college, I failed a Calculus course and needed to retake it in the summer. This resulted in an extra expense for my family, and I felt badly as money was already very tight. However, when at the end of the summer course I told my mother that I had received the top grade in the class, my mother said to me with a warm smile, “Wow, you’re the ‘comeback kid’ !”
The only criteria my mother had for her children regarding marriage was for them to marry a Christian. Before even meeting my wife-to-be in person, my mother approved of our marriage because my sister (who was in America with me at the time) confirmed to my mother that her future daughter-in-law was a faithful believer.
Years later, in 2007, with four children and enjoying a stable career in the computer field, I felt God’s calling for me to leave my profession to enter full time ministry. One of my main hopes was that I would receive my mother’s blessing, but this was hard to conceive of because now I probably wouldn’t be able to send money back to my parents every month as I had been doing. For the first time, I flew my whole family (requiring six airline tickets) back to Taiwan for Chinese New Year and presented the idea to her in person. Her very first words in response to me were: “…then you don’t need to send back money anymore!”, and her second sentence was: “You’ll be working for God so the “Boss” will never fire you!”, and her third sentence was: “You have honored me by coming to see me [before going ahead], so God will honor you!”. When I subsequently faced a very dire situation during my years in seminary, it was my mother who continuously encouraged me to stay strong and to not to fall into the trap of discouragement through Satan’s lies.
My mother only had a middle school education as she had discontinued her own studies in order to provide financially for her six younger siblings. Yet despite her lack of higher education, after I had gone into the ministry my mother would diligently read the sermon notes in the bulletin from our home church every week and then mailed the bulletins to me from Taiwan with key sentences underlined. She would also write in her own comments regarding which points I might find useful when preparing my sermons.
I’m sure it was hard for my mother that my family lived so far away in America, but she always reminded me that I would never need to “rush back” to see her because in any case we would meet in Heaven. I am so thankful to God that, in October 2020 during the pandemic in Taiwan, I was able to complete the required 15 days’ of quarantine in time to see my mother while she was still conscious and able to know that I was by her side before she completed her journey on earth.
“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30)
I am forever grateful that I had a mother who was “a woman who fear[ed] the Lord”!