Actor and martial artist Chuck Norris paid tribute to his mother for her 100th birthday this month and revealed how her faith transformed his life.
Norris wrote about his mother, Wilma Norris Knight, in an exclusive for WND.com, where he shared pivotal moments from her life.
Born into poverty in rural Wilson, Oklahoma, on May 4, 1921, Norris explained that his mother had a very difficult life. At 8 years of age, she became a ward of the state and lived in a children’s hospital where she suffered from a rare disease for two years. Once released, she returned home and looked after her family during the Great Depression, and picked cotton in fields.
At age 16, she married Norris’ father, who abandoned the family and left Wilma to raise her three boys alone.
"Mom has been an example of perseverance and faith her whole life," Norris wrote in the article. "She's also endured the deaths of her two husbands, a stepson, two grandchildren, and my younger brother Wieland in the Vietnam War. She's had cancer repeatedly and has gone through roughly 30 different surgeries for a host of issues — and yet she's still here to tell about it."
The actor then highlighted his mother's active prayer life.
"My mother has prayed for me all my life, through thick and thin," Norris explained. "When I was born, I almost died from complications. When nearly losing my soul to Hollywood a few decades ago, she was back home praying for my success and salvation. She even prayed for me to find a woman to change my life, and it worked.”
The "Walker, Texas Ranger” star also honored his wife in the article, saying he wouldn't be where he is today without the presence of both his mother and wife in his life.
“I equally celebrate my wife, Gena, during this Mother's Day week. Gena helps me run all my enterprises and is CEO of our new artesian bottled water company, CFORCE. But most of all she is the mother of our twins, the love of my life, and my best friend," he added. "I am overwhelmed with gratitude to God for these two incredible women's influence in my life."
Norris then quoted a Spanish proverb which says: "An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy."
"I love you, Mom! Happy 100th birthday! And Happy Mother's Day, Mom and Gena! I thank God for you both every day! And I thank you for helping God to make me all I can and should be," he concluded.
Knight appeared on Fox News several years ago in an interview with Mike Huckabee, where she talked about raising her sons in church.
"What were the secrets that you gave them as a mother?" Huckabee asked at the time. In her response, Knight said: "I kept them in church and Sunday school. I taught Sunday school, and we had our prayers all the time."
"Spiritual life was very important to me. Still is," she declared.