As we close the month of May with our focus on Motherhood, I now want to pay tribute to another war hero who sacrificed her life so that I can live in freedom—my mother, Rahelamma (“Rachel”) C. Adai.
Born in the midst of what was probably just another humid, hot monsoon afternoon on May 28, 1948 in the jungle-like setting of Kerala, India, my mother resembles none of the war heroes you would probably imagine. At 4’10” and just under 100 pounds, she seemed like an unlikely recruit for any military operation some forty-something years ago, but she was chosen…and she enthusiastically accepted her post. My mother did not dress in army fatigues or camouflage. She did not have her face painted in disguise to blend like a chameleon into her circumstances. Nor did she fight in the type of war you are probably imagining.
But like the scriptures recommend, every day, she put on “the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (Ephesians 6: 11) Because she understood a spiritual truth that many of us often forget: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12) She long ago understood that our true battle is not the physical kind but the spiritual battles that continue to wage on whether we choose to acknowledge it or not.
So every day, like clockwork, for as long as I could remember, she faithfully starts her day with at least a half hour to a full hour of full-on preparation. Like a disciplined solider, she trains, exerts, and pushes her spiritual muscles as she prepares herself for the day ahead. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6: 13) Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; (Ephesians 6:14) And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (Ephesians 6:15) Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. (Ephesians 6:16)
She continues her regimen as she takes the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: (Ephesians 6: 17) While the shield of faith, the breastplate of righteousness, and the helmet of salvation protect her from attacks from the enemy, it is with the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God, where she wields her weapon of choice. Like a skilled ninja assasin, she is able to stealthily attack and defeat the devil and his foot soldiers. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. (Ephesians 6: 18) Being the mother she is, she always places herself in the front lines, using all of her spiritual strength to protect her children and loved ones from enemy fires.
Growing up, I’ve always thought of my mother as the epitome of the Proverbs 31 woman: meek, humble, industrious, and wise. Little did I know back then that in the early hours of the morning, before the sun cracked through the sky, she was also moonlighting as a solider of God.
So in honor of Memorial Day and our month’s focus on Motherhood, I now honor the woman who taught me, by example, that I have true liberty and freedom in Christ. I honor the woman who, because of her faithfulness, equipped me, so that I, too, may fight the good fight. I honor the amazing mother she has always been and the faithful solider of God she continues to be. I honor you, Rahelamma C. Adai, just as you have always honored Him.