No matter what word you use, Mom, Mother, Mommy, Ma
The word is pregnant with emotion.
For some, it brings back many warm feelings that include
good food, fun vacations, shared experiences, and times of sadness and joy mixed together.
But for many, it includes mostly hurt and pain, harsh words, loneliness, and
I suspect most of us fall into a middle ground. We have happy memories of our childhoods
mixed with painful ones as well. It takes time and discipline to remember the happy times.
For years, I had more of a Pollyanna approach to my childhood memories. When difficult memories came up, I would talk myself out of them and try to be philosophical about it. I would tell myself, “It could have been much worse. It wasn’t as bad as ___.” (Like the woman in this story who found reconciliation with her mom.)
Coming to terms with our childhood in realistic ways, not pretend, is important! Only GOD can help us be honest about this.
But in my 40’s I was in a car accident that resulted in chronic head and neck pain. Part of the process of working through that pain resulted in counseling. It was a “gift” I didn’t realize I needed. Despite the fact that I had parents who were basically good parents, they were flawed too…just as I was a flawed parent.
I had to come to terms with the pain I suffered as a result of some of their decisions that caused me pain because that pain was affecting me physically at that point! stop
Yes, I had had a car accident with resulting damage to my neck. But the damage was not as severe as the pain I was experiencing. The pain was coming from somewhere else! As I talked to my counselor and defended my parents in certain situations. One day she stopped.
“Your oldest daughter is the age you were when some of this happened. How would you feel if she were treated this way?” Immediately, I became livid! The appropriate anger I had been pushing down all those years, came up as I responded appropriately for the first time! Tears flowed as well. Somehow, seeing the treatment I had gone through as a bystander rather than as myself, gave me a better perspective.
Our Moms lived stressful lives…and so do we…at least at certain periods of our lives. We can’t focus on parenting all the time. Because of that, we will fail.
My parents were normal Christian parents who lived very stressful lives for all of my childhood. Frequently they were in jobs where they weren’t paid what they were promised (one year it was nothing despite the promise of a salary after 3 years of working in a country church that didn’t pay anything except provide housing and lots of food from farmers) or were often underpaid for the work they did. They trusted that everyone was as honest as they were! They were pioneers. Their children were not priorities.
By the time they came home, they were depleted. On top of that, my mother was depressed most of her life and antidepressants weren’t available like they are today. Working outside the home helped her. Counseling was not available like it is today and they didn’t have the money. Vacations were not affordable and were considered luxuries. Our vacations were spent getting degrees for my parents. They were a break for us in many ways, but not really vacations!
The blessings we had were that the Bible and what it had to say was elevated in our home…sort of. It wasn’t applied to relationships, reconciliation, anger management or those kinds of things. Which basically knocks out a good portion of the New Testament! There was a lot of yelling. No apologizing. A huge amount of resentment was carried around by all of us. For the most part, we learned that it just wasn’t wise to say what you thought, particularly if it was negative. Other than that, the Bible and its truth was elevated. (You see why I said sort-of.)
The boarding school I attended reinforced all the negative things I learned at home and didn’t build on much of the positive. I had to unlearn all of that when I married…a cheerful, positive, upbeat guy!
But I don’t want to end on a negative note. Here are the many positives I learned from growing up in my home, particularly from my mom.
- I learned a very strong work ethic (from both parents) you stick with what you promise to do because you are doing it for GOD not for money!
- I learned to love music…it permeated our home! My mom played the piano, violin and sang. (She was a music major in college.) She was down on herself because she didn’t keep up on the violin! We always had a piano in our home. I took some piano lessons here and there, but learned a lot on my own by playing from hymnbooks. The opportunity to calm myself down when I was sad or angry was great when playing the piano. My dad loved to sing and pretend to lead orchestras that played on records! They also sang duets for fun and occasionally in public.
- My mom sewed. She made most of her clothes as well as ours. I learned to sew from her as well as at the Singer store. I have loved sewing ever since!
- I learned to love GOD’s Word from my mom. Her mother was involved in Bible studies when my mom was very young, that involved memorizing the book they studied that year! She would quote them aloud to my mom (starting at age 4) as she was memorizing them. My mom remembered large portions of those books: Hebrews, Colossians, Ephesians for sure! I didn’t always have the love she did in the same way, but as time went on and I finally understood the point of the Bible (not a rule book!), it became much more alive to me and less preachy. I started to see how it hung together and how each part of it showed me different things about GOD. Then I came to love it more. But that was after I left home and after I attended Bible College. I had to get away from all the negativity of rules, etc. to see the full picture.
- I also learned about our family history from my mom...both sides of our family! My dad had little idea of his family history. But my mom kept up with his side of the family as well through my grandmother (his mom) and through lots of letter writing. I often wonder about different people I knew through her…either relatives or friends, and realize she is not around for me to ask. She was a great letter writer and kept up with loads of people all over the world!
So all that to say, Mom is a word pregnant with emotion and memories isn’t it? For most of us, it is quite a mix.
When I started out as a mom, I was going to do everything right. I was going to be the perfect Mom, unlike mine. I read books all the time. Many were helpful for sure. I also watched the way other women in my churches mothered and learned from them. I think I avoided some of the mistakes of my childhood. But I also made plenty of mistakes along the way!
There is no perfect Mom. If you are a mom, get that in your head right now. Your child doesn’t need a perfect Mom. Your child needs someone who will admit she fails when she does (I didn’t do that often enough!) and help them learn to do it early as well. It is also a time when you and your husband can teach them early to go to Jesus together to be forgiven for your failures…both yours and theirs. It is one of the best gifts you can give them for the years ahead…that they don’t have to be alone with their sin and guilt!There is no perfect Mom. Your child doesn't need a perfect Mom but one who admits she needs Jesus! Click To Tweet
And if you are a Mom who has totally blown it, you can still go to Jesus. He is in the business of forgiveness and reconciliation. That’s the whole reason He came to earth!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
All this is from God,
who through Christ reconciled us to himself
and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;
that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself,
not counting their trespasses against them,
and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ,
God making his appeal through us.
We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin,
so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.II Corinthians 5:17-21In him we have redemption through his blood,
the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
which he lavished upon us,
in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will,
according to his purpose,
which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time,
to unite all things in him,
things in heaven and things on earth.