Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Mother's Day has had mixed emotions for me for a long time. See, my mother left us on my 16th birthday. Yes, you read that right. ON my BIRTHDAY! And while we maintained the semblance of a relationship for the next 13 years, it was never what you might call healthy. My mother, along with other fun aspects of her personality, has the propensity of emotional abuse. It is the language that she speaks. She cannot help it. And while I am old enough now to realize that she must have suffered a great hurt at a young age to be so toxic herself, her abuse of my brother and I scarred us deeply. The end of that story is that 2 1/2 years ago, after trying to create a relationship that was safe for me and my children, I realized she was not able to live in a relationship with boundaries and could not be trusted with my kids hearts. I

However, the result of my relationship with her and her leaving us was one of pure disgust for Mother's Day. Every year, in May, when all the pink and purple cards and balloons and store-front announcements of special meals or free desserts would appear, I would roll my eyes and grit my teeth. There were times that I felt absolutely violent about Mother's Day. I vowed that I would not get married and I would certainly never have children whose lives I could damage so badly.

But God...and that is how all our story's turn, when God intercedes on our behalf...sent some amazing women into my life to be surrogate mothers to me. Mother's who, though I was not theirs and not their problem, stood in the gap and loved on me, taught me to love, showed me God's glory through love and generosity. These women came at different times and phases, some only for a season, but all have been a part of who I have become and I am truly grateful. Their love began softening my heart. Changing my view of motherhood and wife-hood. Thank you Dianne Massey, Karren Tedrow, Debbie Fung-A-Fat, Mary Hudgins, and others.

College was difficult at times. I had some more "but God..." experiences, where He brought me what I now call my "Iron Women", friends who love and refine me through our friendship. "As iron sharpens iron, so one (wo)man sharpens another." That was true of these friends. However, with only one exception, all of my best friends in high school and college have the most amazing relationships with their mothers. It was hard at times watching them love and get loved on by mothers when mine was incapable of loving me right. But it was also good and healthy for me to see. And of course, their moms loved on me too. They couldn't help it. As moms their love just flowed out around them like a wave and washed over anyone standing there. I was invited into homes and on trips. I was sent food and gifts. I was cooked for and loved on and shown God's adoptive love by these amazing women too. Thank you Pam Horn, Lynda Sandlin, Rhonda Warren, Denise Thompson and others.

And now, I am a mother. I have 4 precious sons who call me "Momma" and they are my delight. They are treasures from God, that show me more of Him every day. Their wonder at His creation teaches me awe of His might. Their free love and affection teach me delight at His love. Even their depravity shows me the depth of His grace and mercy. That He would call us out of our foolish pride into His salvation and sanctification. But moreover, that He would allow me, the broken, selfish, stubborn woman that I am bear these boys, cradle them, nurse them, watch them grow. That He would give me the honor of raising them to manhood, teaching them about Him, calling them to surrender their lives to Him, training them them up. Who am I? I don't deserve it. I'm a wounded, sinful woman who is in such great need of His grace that I dare not draw a breath without His strength. I have sinned against Him and against my children numerous times a day. But God...and there He goes again...

But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

And part of his immeasurable riches toward me is my four amazing boys: Judah, Gideon, Elijah and Levi. And I am His workmanship (he's still working on me) created in Christ Jesus for good works to them. And by His grace, I will walk in those good works, not of my own works or my own strength, but His, mothering these boys in the Grace, Glory, Greatness and Goodness of Jesus Christ!  

As usual, Christ is about the business of Redeeming. Redeeming me. Redeeming my past. Redeeming my family. 

This is a Happy Mother's Day!