It’s Mother’s Day and I see so many pictures on Facebook of friends with their moms, living or passed on. I read so many wonderful stories of how these mothers inspired them and helped them be the individuals they are today. Sometimes, I feel envious.
My mother was a very lovely woman. When she was happy, she could be the most pleasant, fun-loving person one could ever meet. We could laugh until she teared up and could hardly breathe. Before there was karaoke, we could play long-playing records and sing The Carpenters’ or classic OPM songs together. She was fiercely loyal and protective when she chose to be.
But there was another side to my mother, a darker, sadder side. As the youngest child of six, I probably saw more of this sad side than anything else. My older siblings knew more happy moments between my parents (I remember expressing surprise at such memories from my oldest brother!). They knew the stronger, independent woman who could run her own business, keep a spotless household and be active in such groups as the Inner Wheel Club (now they are the Women in Rotary).
I remember bitterness, sadness and anger. She was a woman who carried much pain in her heart. Yet I was angry at her. She would often call me by my father’s name and said I was a carbon copy of him. That would have been good, if her bitterness was not a reaction to my father’s infidelity.
Oh, I was part of her pain, too. I was angry because she left me to be raised by a nanny. I blamed her for not protecting me from some things that happened to me as a child in our own home. I blamed her for “making” my father love another woman. Even though she tried to give me everything I wanted, I felt she failed to give me what I truly needed. I was a spoiled brat who never felt spoiled because I thought the world truly owed me for the “bad” hand I was dealt at birth.
It was not until it was close to the end of her life that God found me and softened my heart. I am thankful for the opportunity He gave me to care for her in her last days, and to finally say, “I love you,” because I was beginning to experience the love of Christ.
No, mothers are not perfect. Many therapy sessions around the world have pointed a finger to mothers. But here’s a truth I realized long after my mother died: she may have done (or failed to do) a lot of things, but the way I chose to respond was my own. She could never force me to sin—I chose that for myself.
I spent a lot of time being angry and bitter. I made many a foolish mistake by trying to escape my mother or avoid being like her, even after she died. How could I keep blaming her, even when she was no longer around?
God is merciful to me, a sinner. He gave me a Titus 2 “older woman” who trained me up not only in the Word of God, but trained me for life as well. From her I received the guidance and correction I desperately needed from my mother (and father). And, yes, she is also sinful and makes mistakes. I often responded sinfully to those as well. This is how she taught me about asking forgiveness and truly receiving it in repentance.
There are no perfect mothers. There are those godly ones, who have raised their children to love and fear God and obey His word. For us who didn’t have that growing up, they are not to envy, but to emulate. Even those of us who are single can be Titus 2 women to the younger ones God brings our way.
Lord I thank You that in the cross, there is forgiveness and new life. I thank You that because my sin is not caused by my past or by others, but by my own sinful heart, there is hope. To bring these things to the cross is a wonderful privilege. To be set free from the power of these sins is the power of the cross.
Thank You Father,that ALL of our circumstances in life are meant to point us toward You. And when we have turned to You, You can use even the most difficult, painful circumstances for our good and for You glory!