Learn your mother's story, feel her sorrows and set her free. Don't waste time and miss out an abundant life with each other because of unforgiveness.
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NASB)
I was laying down in bed upstairs as I recovered from major surgery. My children’s laughter reached the bedroom and woke me up. They were giggling of excitement as grandma once again came up with a new, creative way to play with them. I smiled and uttered a prayer of thanksgiving for my mom. Once again, this loving woman had dropped everything in her life and flown 6,000 miles to take care of me and my family in a time of need. Regardless of distance, time or cost, I know that as long as God gives her breath, I can always count on my mom.
As I ponder these things, my mind goes back in time and I remember our relationship as I grew up. As many middle class mothers of her day, mom had to work five days a week and sometimes on the weekends to help the family budget; therefore she was not very involved in our day-to-day activities. During the teenage years, as my parents’ relationship became stormy, we were all victims of the consequences of a broken marriage. Hormones and anger made my young mind shut down to any common sense; the hurt of seeing my parents growing apart blinded any attempt to understand her and so our relationship was very shaky. As we both struggled with our own crisis, we hurt each other deeply. As many mother-daughter situations I know, there was pain, misunderstandings and incompatibility in many areas for far too many years. Today, however, in spite of anything in the past, I can honestly say that mom is a best friend. I long to see her and spend time with her. I love to hear her voice when I dial her number. And even though our personalities are pretty different and we don’t always agree, our love and longing to be together grows deeper with each passing year.
Our secret? We set each other free.
We all grow old, but we have to choose to grow wiser. As a grown woman, I started to understand her longings, sorrows and disappointments. I often made myself put on her shoes and imagine how it would have felt, had I gone through some of the things she went through. When I turned 25, I became a Christian. For the first time I realized that no one is worthy of forgiveness; however that is exactly what Christ offers to anyone who will ask. I also came to realize that true love never withholds forgiveness and that we cannot expect to be forgiven if we don’t forgive others. This former Catholic school girl knew too well the words of the Lord’s prayer in Luke 11: “And forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.”
I know several mothers and daughters who are wasting time and missing out an abundant life with each other because of unforgiveness. I know daughters who dread the thought of being around their mother and mothers whose daughter can never measure up to their expectations. I know mothers who compete with their daughters and daughters who will never agree with their moms, even if they are absolutely right. What a trap! As we stand in a position of self-righteousness, holding on to 30 year-old grudges, we fail to realize that we are the ones held in bondage. Even if you have a mom who has a hardened heart and continually hurts you, do yourself a favor. Set mom free. Forgive her and pray for her. Learn her story and feel her sorrows. I’m sure she has many! Extend the same forgiveness that you so long to receive from those you hurt.
I cannot remember exactly when it started, but somewhere along life’s way, I started to choose to love my mom for who she is. I don’t try to change her and I don’t look back anymore. I look forward to the years we have ahead of us. There may not be many, but I am choosing, one step at a time, to fully, abundantly enjoy them.
Not sure what to give mom for mother’s Day this year? SET-HER-FREE! That may just be the gift she’s been secretly praying for, year after year.