Broken relationships were a common theme in my early life.
My dad was always a fun person to hang out with. He was the kind of guy who would pay the whole restaurant bill for his friends even when he couldn’t afford it. He’d just charge it all to his credit card. I think that’s why all his friends liked him so much.
But as a father, my dad often fell short of expectations.
He was never much good at being financially responsible. He gambled away my college savings, and threw himself into a ton of debt after multiple business start-up failures.
Then when no one would loan him money anymore because of his poor credit, he started opening up new credit card accounts under my mother’s name. Eventually, he ruined her credit as well.
After years and years of fighting, it came to the point where my mother decided to kick him out. Permanently.
So there we were. Just my mother, my brother, and me. And the only thing my mother had to her name was her broken English. We couldn’t borrow any more money because of her ruined credit.
I remember having to answer daily phone calls from aggressive debt collectors, rudely demanding we pay back their money or they’d sue. They stayed true to their word. Then when we got sued, I had to explain to my mom in Korean that they were threatening her with jail time if she didn’t show up to court.
But though we struggled through so much together, my mother continued to teach me so much.
The first time I got a glimpse of what Christ’s love looks like was because of her.
Even though I wasn’t the best son, my mother was always determined to care for us. Her daily actions were proof of just how much she loved her children.
Her withered hands and slouched back from spending every day working at the nail salon just to provide for us were a symbol of her commitment to her family despite her hardships.
She would leave at 7 every morning for work and come home by 8 PM every night, all while still managing to cook us breakfast and dinner. No sacrifice was too big for her when it came to us.
The reality was, my mother was struggling hard. She’d often go to the garage just to sit in her car and cry without us knowing. This was something I only discovered after seeing her once when peeking through the door.
Yet with all the burdens she carried, somehow I knew – my mother would never stop loving us.
It says a lot when someone who is hurting and struggling through so much still finds the will to keep fighting for those important to them. Though my mother and I didn’t often see eye to eye and found ourselves arguing frequently, she still fought for me each and every day.
Seeing this love in action was how I realized how much she loved Christ. It was because He did the exact same thing for us.
My mother showed me to fight hard for what matters most even if life gets really difficult. She was the one who inspired me to work hard to live a life for something greater than just for myself.
Because of her, I learned to be courageous during fearful times.
Because of her, I learned to always strive to do my best.
Because of her, I was pointed towards Christ’s everlasting love.
And now, whenever I see a single mother, all I see is a tremendous amount of courage.
I’m deeply inspired by what a mother is capable of when it comes to caring for her children.
To my mother and any other single mothers out there, I know there’s nothing I can say to make things easier for you, or take back the struggles you all have persevered through. But from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you.
My life has become so much more beautiful because of you.
Eugene K. Choi is a talent activation coach who helps individuals discover real breakthroughs in their lives by finding the zone where their passions and talents intersect. You can download his free guide, Four Steps to Instantly Jump Start Your Best Life Ever for practical methods to connect with your calling.