She retreated to the refuge of her bedroom that afternoon. This didn’t happen often. Curious, I crept toward the shut door. Then I heard it. She was weeping. I was a young boy, probably about 9 or 10, so I don’t remember all that happened that day except us kids being particularly difficult. Putting the pieces together years later, I suppose that our apathy and absence of compassion for the well-being of our mother, displayed through our collective, persistent disobedience, triggered an eruption of grief and frustration. I heard her weeping.
She eventually came out of her room that day, by God’s grace, and she persevered. Her name is Danni Komatsu. I’m grateful to call this beautiful woman my mom. She is, along with other moms like her, worthy of public tribute.
My hero is a homemaker. Perhaps yours is, too. Here are some honorable qualities that come to mind as I consider my mom in her steadfast patience, sustaining faith, and sacrificial service.
Many of us kids were shamelessly lazy (*ahem* Rocky, Kenny, myself *ahem*). An endless number of times she kindly requested our completion of menial chores. We were parentally disciplined, but mom never yelled at us. I know she isn’t perfect, but, without hyperbole and with complete honesty, I cannot recall a single outburst of rage catapulted in our direction. Even at the pinnacle of her emotional boiling point, she went behind closed doors, choosing to pour her heart out before her Father rather than pour her wrath out against her children.
She raised, schooled, endured, and enjoyed seven kids—seven messy, loud, lazy, hungry, hyperactive, needy, expensive, unregenerate kids. She never gave up, never blew up, and never left us. Her gospel love wouldn’t give up. The grace that was gifted to her is the grace that gushed from her, soaking us in a shower of undeserved patience, endurance, and longsuffering.
My mom never gave me a lecture on the finer points of systematic theology or the intricacies of biblical exegesis. But she sang, and she prayed, and she hoped, and she trusted. She quoted Proverbs and she loved Jesus. I intuitively knew that this Jesus of Nazareth was the sustaining obsession of her existence, as she exemplified a rock-solid faith in the sufficiency of his saving person and work and consequently clung to him with reckless abandon.
Her sustaining faith birthed steadfast prayer. She prayed for us at bedtime. I saw her standing silhouetted at my door, night in and night out, in motherly care. On countless nights we fell asleep to the comforting sound of our mother’s prayers.
I recall her self-giving sacrifice. I see her hands and feet. Back then I didn’t think anything significant about them, calloused as they were from years of scrubbing, washing, vacuuming, bending, lifting, kneeling, cooking, weeding, and planting. She didn’t have the luxury of regular pedicures or manicures, but her hands and feet radiated with the virtuous beauty of self-sacrifice.
I hear the melodic, familiar chime of her bracelets at the crack of dawn as she lovingly prepares breakfast and I’m greeted with aromatic wafts of homemade cinnamon rolls, banana pancakes, breakfast fried rice (we’re Asian like that), and eggs in a nest.
I read her handwritten cards, etched in her unique cursive longhand. She’s the kind of mom who sends encouragement-filled notes to her single son on Valentines Day (and multiple other holidays), year in and year out, even when he’s well into his 20s.
I see her sacrifice displayed in lifestyle simplicity. It’s true that there’s no inherent nobility in material simplicity, and a man is not necessarily more spiritual because he drives a ’94 Corolla and his neighbor drives a ‘14 Charger SRT. But in her case, the intentional choice of birthing and raising a large, busting-at-the-seams family necessarily meant the sacrifice of a more comfortable lifestyle, even when many chose a life beyond their means or shirked motherhood altogether for self-serving gains.
Subtract that small Komatsu army to feed, and mom and dad could’ve had filet mignon or something fancy like that, stacks on stacks on stacks of it. I remember the simple life, which now I wouldn’t trade for anything—the cousin-bestowed hand-me-downs, the yard-grown produce, the ‘my-muffler-has-a-problem-that-everyone-needs-to-know-about’ Volkswagen van (succeeded by the rust-encrusted station wagon), the cloth diapers, the embarrassing Payless off-brand Shaq shoes, and the powdered milk—oh, the powdered milk, stacks on stacks on stacks.
My mom’s not materially flashy. She does enjoy jewelry and dressing up and looking pretty. But she has sacrificed a material opulence that many consider primary because some things are more important than having super nice clothes, or always-secure checking accounts, or regular spa visits. Motherhood necessarily involves personal sacrifice and self-giving service. My mom embraced that sacrifice with unceasing joy.
My hero is a homemaker.
Hats off to these real-life heroines. Hollywood boasts in the Avengers but heaven boasts in the mothers. The trend is to scoff at the alleged worth and dignity of the stay-at-home mom. But her Creator will vindicate her cause. Her lasting legacy transcends the scoffers. Brush that dirt off your shoulder, mommas. The enduring impact of all you God-entranced women, women like Danni Komatsu, will eternally invalidate the demeaning of the larger culture. Contra the claims of many in this culture, when I see women like my mother, I see irreplaceable jewels of dignity, value, intelligence, redemption, faith, preciousness, and eternal impact. She is, along with scores of Christ-loving mothers like her, a kingdom-building warrior and a disciple-making world changer.
God is to be praised for gifting us with these steadfast, immovable, faith-filled mothers. As we tribute their lives, we glorify God for saving them and establishing them as bastions of society, bulwarks of the family, and pillars of the church. I love you, mom, and all you other moms like her.
“A woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30b
Copyright © 2013 Van Michael Komatsu. All Rights Reserved.