Sunday, January 20, 2013

Healing between mother & daughter

Growing up, I had a very rough relationship with my mom.  She was ill since I was very young & I was strong-willed, and was a potent mix to say the least.

When I was in college, she made a (directional) decision that I didn't agree with.  I regret how I handled a strong-willed "know it all" immature attitude.  My mom basically wrote me off because she was so hurt.  Was I right in my stance?  YES.  Did I handle it with love, mercy & compassion? NO.

I lost my mom.

But GOD...

Right after that, I went to school with YWAM.  I knew I was going to have a lot of airplane/sit on my rear time, so I bought a project.  I found my mom's favorite poem as a cross stitch to do as a prayer project.

When I am an old woman, I shall wear PURPLE with a red hat that doesn't go & doesn't suit Jenny Joseph (I did customize it a little to suit my mom)

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple  
with a red hat that doesn't go and doesn't suit me. 
And I shall spend my pension on new "favorite sweaters" 
and more shoes and say we have no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired 
and gobble up samples in shops, and press alarm bells, 
and run my stick along the public railing, 
and make up for the sanity of my youth. 
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain, 
and pick the flowers in other people's gardens, 
and learn to spit. 
You can wear terrible shirts, and grow more fat, 
and eat three pounds of sausage at a go, 
or fresh bread and pickles for a week, 
and hoard pens and pencils and notepaper, and things in boxes, 
but now we must have clothes that keep us dry, and pay our rent, 
and not swear in the street, and set a good example for the children. 
We will have friends to dinner, and read the paper, 
but maybe I ought to practice a little now, 
so people who know me are not too shocked and surprised 
when suddenly I am old and I start to wear purple.

So for plane hours, and "quiet times", I'd prayerfully stitch this poem together for her.

I had hard moments, because while on the mission field, I'd call my mom to "test the waters" - NOPE, she still wouldn't receive me. "What IS the point???" would be my thoughts; I'd want to burn the cross stitch feeling like I was doing it for nothing and God was NOT answering my prayers - but back to the cross stitch I'd go in prayer for her, me, healing, forgiveness, our relationship, & peace.

I knew if I dwelt on MY feelings, I'd be angry, hurt, and stay in a place of un-forgiveness. So I needed to be ACTIVE in working towards healing, and stay in a place of petitioning God for restoration.  It's impossible to stay angry when you're working towards, and praying for healing.  You look either one way or the other.

When I got home months later, I gave my mom a call. Without any explanation, venting, or angry blow-up, there was instant peace between us - the peace that passes all understanding.  I didn't have to agree with her to love & accept her.

I had the poem framed, and gave it to her as a Mother's Day gift.  From then to the day she suddenly died the following year, my mom & I had a beautiful time of healing & friendship between us.

Now this poem hangs in my home as a reminder that 
prayer works

And you NEVER know how long you have
with loved ones,
treat them like 
there is NO TOMORROW

It's too often that people settle for dysfunctional or estranged relationships. They just turn a blind eye, or write each other off, yet Matthew 5 is so clear:

23-24 “This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.

That's pretty serious!

I know it's easier to forget the person rather than deal with the rift, but forgetting about the issue breeds un-forgiveness under the surface - growing like a fungus in our hearts.
It is not possible to have good emotional health while harboring bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness. Unforgiveness is poison! - Joyce Meyer
Here's the other favorite piece on my wall...
The nature of love has within itself
The power to endure the immaturity, ignorance, 
and offense of people,
And still see them in the light of their destiny and purpose.
Love will always see the divine value that each person has.
And love will always value the intimacy it has with each person regardless of their immaturity.
Lee Rollins - The Treasure Within.

The biggest lesson I learned from my experience growing up is that people do the very best they can with the tools they have.  Often people don't have all the tools they need, so their response is not the best - but we need to view them with compassion.  Isn't that what we're asking for when we make mistakes?