Mother’s Day is approaching.
Your children will send a card, maybe take you out to dinner, or serve breakfast in bed.
You treasure being a mom. You’re not perfect, but you love your babies, even if that baby is 6 foot tall.
But Mother’s Day is bittersweet because of your own relationship with your mother.
It’s complicated and there are no Hallmark cards that describe how you really feel.
What do you do with the hurt in your heart over a childhood marked with verbal abuse?
How do you celebrate a broken woman who made you feel ashamed, rather than loved?
Maybe she’s changed, and that makes it even more complicated. You know that you can’t change the past, but you are waiting for her to acknowledge all the pain inflicted on you.
May I encourage you today?
First, may I celebrate this upcoming day with you and share how powerful it is that you have changed the destiny for your own children? That took courage and hard work!
Though none of us are perfect moms, the fact that you are intentional in your parenting is a beautiful gift to the next generation(s).
But second, let’s look at the more complicated aspect of this holiday.
When we are growing up, and our hearts are affected, we may see a person as all bad. Or a situation as all bad.
But what if we begin to step back and see that person or that time through the eyes of an adult. It doesn’t make the bad go away, but allows us to see through a lens bigger than our own experiences.
Maybe we see the brokenness that brought her to that place.
Or maybe it allows us to celebrate any moments, any efforts, any attempts to change over the years.
Perhaps it helps us to see those moments where she wanted to be a good mom, but didn’t know how. Or to see those moments that were good, in spite of the bad.
And if she has changed, it allows us to close the door on the past and fully embrace and celebrate who she has become.
And if it is all bad, and there are those stories that are so painful that it makes my heart hurt, then it allows us to see her from God’s advantage, a lost sheep in need of a Savior.
No, there is no Hallmark card for that.
But if we begin to look back through the eyes of an adult, and the picture broadens and hurt lessens, so we that we can fully love this beautiful day, that’s a miracle.
What miracle does God want to drop into your heart on this Mother’s Day?
Being a mom (and a daughter) is both wonderful and sometimes hard. Here are a couple of great resources for you!
The Mom I Want to Be: Rising Above Your Past to Give Your Kids a Greater Future
This book has helped me heal from so many past hurts that I can’t help but wish I’d had it 20 years ago when I first became a mom. It offers so much wisdom and insight! I knew other women could use the help and healing, so I recommended to my Women’s Ministry leader that we offer a summer class to read the book and do the study. We had over 24 women signup and complete the study – 24 women who now cannot stop talking about the work God is doing in them through this book. Thanks to God, Suzanne Eller, and 24 women with open hearts, this has been a summer of healing, forgiveness, and growth as a mom. ~ Regina Marshall
Moms Together: A Facebook community of moms led by Suzie and several other “mom-mentors” with encouragement, support, giveaways, and friendship.
Suze, you wrote this just for me! It’s always hard to find a Mother’s Day card for my Mom. Since finishing your book study of “The Unburdened Heart”, I am beginning to view my Mom as someone with a broken past. A child of an alcoholic father. A wife that endured 28 years of verbal and emotional abuse from her husband. Unfortunately at this time, she is not able to love unconditionally. Things have to be on her terms or there will be guilt and condemnation to endure. (I no longer accept that way of living). Perhaps she has never felt unconditional love from anyone before.She is 74 yeas old and doesn’t know any other way to be. Since there is no acknowlegement from her about the pain she has inflicted upon me (and she refuses to discuss what I have done wrong in our relationship as well), I can accept the miracle of God helping me to mother my kids differently. It is like a healing balm in my heart to make a conscious effort to love my “babies” unconditionally, and to tell them so all the time. When I say goodbye to my Mom in person or on the phone, I tell her that I love her. This is not an emotional feeling, but an action that Jesus has commanded us to do. And that’s OK. That’s where I am now. I’m just holding God’s hand, and trust Him to keep walking FORWARD with Him. He’ll take care of the rest.
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! That’s seeing a miracle even as you accept “what is”. You aren’t limited by it. You aren’t letting it keep you bound. This comment made my heart leap with joy!
Thank you for writing The Unburdened Heart. Thank you for taking the time to study and reveal God’s message to me about the power and freedom that comes from forgiving. I plan to read this again and again and study God’s Word more in depth- thank you for reaching my heart with this powerful message!
My own mom past away in 1977. then my grandmother in 1997. I had no problems buying them cards. I had a step mom and cards were very difficulty to buy for her. On a good day, I was not her favorite person. Towards the end of her life, things were more mellow. Card buying was easier. Now I am living with my mother- in-law. Her vision is poor, she needs us here. On good days, I feel that we are okay and we have a relationship but I am not her daughter. To add I want her approval. I want her to love me. I want to be included in family pictures. I have been married to her son for 42 years and have yet to be in a picture with them as a family. Her husband passed away in June and we are here for the remainder of her life. I have been praying To God that he bridge the love I need with the love I receive. Maybe I will find a musical card, that she can hear. one with a Bridge on it. Then there are grown sons that do not seem to have the time of day for you. I do not if I will get a card. So perhaps no expectations is the best way to approach the holiday and be open to God’s love. I am not as bitter as this seems just hurt. Blessings…Diana
Suzie, very timely for me. I am an adult adoptee. I was found by my mother in 1992 but it took me 15 years to meet and start our reunion. It took another 6 years for me to really be okay with having her in my life and know that she is my mother. We recently celebrated an anniversary of my call to her 6 years ago letting her know I was “trying to figure it out.” That was a month ago. As far as I have come, Mother’s Day is still a biggie. I had a very close relationship with my adoptive mother. She died suddenly and unexpectedly in Feb 2009. So I find myself at 44 years old with a mother who is still quite new in my life and also grieving the loss of the woman who raised me. It is sometimes a confusing place to be.
I appreciate your words as it is possible for me to see the brokenness that led my natural mother to where she was 45 years ago as well as where she is now. I am able to see her life through an adult lens at this point compared to the hurt child who didn’t understand for so many years.
I was feeling a little anxious about the upcoming holiday when my mother emailed last night that she will traveling through my area on Saturday to bring friends to the train station. She asked if we were available for a visit. I plan to provide her with a flat of flowers she can plant at home. Being able to spend some time together this weekend will alleviate my feelings of conflict for May 12. It is difficult to feel happy about one person being in your life and immense sadness about missing another on the same day.
Thank you for sharing this today.
You have come a long way! Your relationship with her will grow just like the floweres you plan to give her and be every bit as beautiful!
Thank you for this. I struggle every year with which card to send … some so sweet and I WANT to send them but they really just aren’t very honest if I do! I love my Mother but … there is much hurt, that continues even as an adult. I know it’s just pain from her past spilling out and yet I long for the sweet relationships I’ve seen other women have with their Mother’s and Sisters, mutual respect laughter and love – but it just isn’t true in my life. So it can be very challenging to honor them! … it is helpful too though to know I am not alone! 😀 LOVE Chris’s post!!