Recognizing Your Mom as an Individual
I am probably the worst person in the world to offer mother-daughter relationship advice. In fact, I’m absolutely terrible at navigating my own dynamic. But over the years, I have learned a few things about this fickle female fraternity. I’d like to share with you some lessons I’ve learned, some tactics I’ve tried, and some prayers I’ve prayed.
It all began with love:
Whether you are joined at the hip or you keep at an arms length distance, your mother loves you. All of you. No matter where you go or how far she pushes you away, she loves you. She may not even realize it. She may never say or show it, but the love is there. You were created by a loving God. Whether or not she is able to translate and articulate that love does not mean it is not there. Embrace it for exactly what it is. No more and no less.
It demands grace:
I was a complete idiot in my 20’s. I ignored God. I was self centered, totally opinionated, bull headed and oblivious to apathy. My own existence was paramount. Probably not the most ideal years to be responsible for the growth of a tiny human. My mothers’ 20’s were just as tumultuous. But by the age of 26 she had 2 small children and had lost her husband to cancer. It was a scary time for her. Who would want her now with 2 kids in tow? How would she make a living? How would she care for her babies? When would she find time to mourn and process what just happened? Her circumstances lead to decisions. Some bad, some good. But I have come to realize that good or bad, she did the best she could with what she had at the time. That’s what all mothers do. We are all in the ‘learn as you go’ program. We all need grace. Criticizing another mothers’ progress, including you own, is as far away from grace as we can get.
It needs hope:
My mom and I have gotten into some nasty arguments. We are passionate and strong willed women. (I truly come by it honestly) I am not proud of where we came from but I am proud of how far we have come. We still have a long way to ‘healed’ but I am finally hopeful we will get there. For the longest time I sat in a place of complacency. I didn’t care. I was numb. That’s a dangerous place to be. Complacency steals our hope. It removes our options. It stunts our growth. One of my favorite pastors once told me, ‘The key to healthy reconciliation is to keep moving. Move closer or move apart. Just keep moving.’ (Thanks, PE)
It requires Jesus:
I used to get a knot in my stomach every time my phone would ring. I didn’t want to deal with her. I didn’t have the strength. I knew it would be more of the same. She’d open wounds, I’d throw blame and shut down. But then I started praying before I’d answer. I’d say ‘Jesus, stand between us.’ And I’d picture Him literally standing between us as we spoke. Slowly, things began to change. Both in me as well as her. And eventually, we were able to make it passed the past. We were able to start moving forward.
Becoming a mother is like nothing else in this life. It’s terrifying and beautiful all at the same time. You are given these tiny versions of yourself that you must raise and nurture. Everything good and bad about you is standing in front of you with a sippy cup and a saggy diaper demanding you make the correct decision. Sometimes we get it right and other times we don’t. Just know that the same struggles we have, our mothers had too. But with a little love, grace, hope and Jesus we can raise generations that will thrive.
Father God, we love you. We thank you for our mothers. We thank you for the gift of creation. We pray for open eyes and hearts, that we may see the ‘human’ in our moms and offer them the same grace and forgiveness we ask of You. We pray for blessing and continued healing in these relationships and we ask that you stand between us and show us how to love. Amen.