Tag Archives: anger

Reconciliation: A Mother/Daughter Story For God’s Glory

my mom and i

Mother’s Day was always an awkward ‘holiday’ for me since I was not raised by my Mother. For years I was bitter and angry allowing the circumstances of my life to determine my identity. I wallowed in self pity and brooded over my insecurities and the life I never had.  That was until I saw my Mother and myself the way God does…with grace and love. This is God’s story of reconciliation...

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It was a breezy Spring day in 2010 when my Mother and I sat on the swinging bench of my front porch–there were no more awkward silences.  Instead we were giving thanks and rejoicing in the Truth of God’s Word, “how nothing is too difficult for Him” how He IS a God of reconciliation and we knew it from the depths of our souls…

Just weeks before I was at a Mother of Preschoolers (MOPS) event listening to a young Mom’s testimony of how she struggled with insecurities of being a Mom since she was not raised by her Mom.  I knew this story all too well, it was mine too. I wasn’t expecting her similar testimony to confront a wound I had pretended didn’t exist, but there it was. I sank low in my chair, while my body trembled from my attempt to hold back tears stored up in my heart. That day I  let it ALL out and allowed God to heal a hurt.  I unclenched my hands that were holding onto the ashes of my past and gave them to my Abba, believing He would turn them to beauty.

I was in the beginning days of being a stay-at-home Momma, and now I can see that God was doing His work of sanctification to prepare me for this ministry of Motherhood.  The LORD showed me, He would heal what I would reveal…After surrendering to the conviction of the Holy Spirit I confessed to God my bitterness, anger, and my sin of un-forgiveness I still had toward my Mother.

My Mother. The woman who carried me in her womb for 9 months after being told she couldn’t have any more kids. The woman who named me Arcelia, rocked me, and cared for me until I was three, then she was gone.

The circumstances and reasons she left were irrelevant to my rejected heart, and I built a impenetrable wall around it.  Five years later Jesus Christ found her and with godly sorrow she turned back to reconcile what was lost, but it seemed too late.  I was eight years old and I had moved on, and considered her a stranger, someone I kept further than an arms distance.  When I did see her occasionally I took advantage of her guilt and shame by manipulating her to get my way.  Still she never stopped loving me and never stopped praying.

Two of the most influential items of my life...my Mom gave me: God's Word and a Prayer journal.

Two of the most influential items of my life…my Mom gave me: God’s Word and a Prayer journal.

When I was eleven she gave me a prayer journal with our pictures in it, encouraging me to write my thoughts to the God she now knew.  For my twelfth birthday she gave me my very own Bible, I hated it because I didn’t like pink and I didn’t believe. But still she loved and never gave up.

I remember hearing her sing songs about Jesus Christ and some days she would spontaneously say, ‘Thank you Jesus‘ and it made me cringe. When I finally asked her why she said that ‘all the time’ she would say, “I’m just so thankful He saved me and He let me to have time with you.” I made fun of her and her faith…she suffered much and yet she never stopped loving me and never stopped praying.

When I turned 20 I decided I would forgive her but it was on my own terms and in my own strength so it never lasted.  It wasn’t until Jesus Christ found me and I was born again in 2009 that this sad story took a turn for God’s glory!

Swinging on the bench that Spring 2010 I shared with my Mother a testimony of when I heard God speak to me.  How in 2008 I finally read the Bible she gave me, and how God sent a vessel of mercy and grace to pray for our family and disciple me–the nanny that prayed herself out of a job! God used this loving praying nanny to open our eyes, ears and heart to the unseen.

I told my Mom before Jesus Christ, I never had the confidence to be a Mother since I was never raised by her.  I believed the lies that I was a better Mother working outside the home and it was best to sacrifice time with them to invest in their future.  I ran away from my role as a Mother and numbed myself to the calling—and I put my work before my family.

After my encounter with God in 2009, He gave me a new heart and put a new spirit within me and “removed my heart of stone from my flesh and gave me a heart of flesh” and I was no longer afraid to be a Mother.  She listened as I recounted how in just 12 months God transformed my husband and I from the inside out and we began to closely follow Jesus wherever He would lead us…the first move was from Washington D.C. to Alabama.

I told her about my prayer to God that day at the MOPS event when I vowed to God if He ever gave me another chance I would cut loose the noose of un-forgiveness I had around my Mother.  I told Him I would forgive and love her the way only He could and how He responded to that prayer by having her call me the very next day! After years of rejection from me I realized why she rarely called other than Birthdays and holidays but this day was a different kind of phone call.  She heard I was born again, a woman of prayer and she asked ME to pray for HER! I told her I knew her current trial had a specific kingdom purpose, and she was to come and spend a week with me.  She came!

As I drove to the airport I was excited and hopeful and thankful because this would be the first time in my life I would be alone with her.  I finally understood why my Mother used to say, “Thank You Jesus.

It was a glorious week of healing and redemption by the power of God’s Holy Spirit! Now, the day before she was leaving we sat on the swinging bench sharing our hearts and tears allowing God’s Holy Spirit to guide us to healing.  I asked for her forgiveness for the years of bitterness and anger I had toward her, and she quickly told me she had already forgiven me.  I was thankful for the opportunity to tell my Mom God gave me a new song and no longer am I singing the ‘woe is me, my Mother left me’ song because love keeps no records of wrong.  I told her I would never again hold her sins above her head.

She shared with me her past concerns of my life: when she heard I was first pregnant she thought it would be difficult for me because I didn’t have her growing up to show me how to be a Mother–how would I do it? She was also concerned because I was very ambitious and career oriented and thought the children would get lost in my achievements (she was right).

Then with tears she told me the most recent concern she had about me being a stay-at-home Mother…she said she thought it would be impossible to turn a once Air Force Captain and Business Consultant to a full time Mother…would it be too much for me? After all, I used to make fun of stay-at-home moms. But nothing is impossible with God.

She said after spending a week of shadowing me in my new life in Christ she saw for herself the testimony, “If anyone is in Christ they are a new creation, the old has passed away, behold the new has come...” She saw that God’s power is made perfect in weakness and He is glorified!

We swung in the bench of my Alabama home as the wind blew the butterfly chimes that Spring of 2010 and we joyfully laughed and lifted our voices with thanksgiving, praising God for His lovingkindness and faithfulness!

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I used to lament over lost years with my Mother but by God’s grace, not anymore. I see even in our unfaithfulness God was still working, knitting our hearts together in love through her continual prayers and enduring love–it was all matter of time when I would awaken.

God healed our relationship! My relationship with her is so loving and we now communicate often and she even read this entry before I posted it.

"All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them.  And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation." 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

When I first told her I wanted to write about what God had done in our lives but was concerned about dishonoring her by bringing up the past she said, “Write it. Tell others. It’s not about me. It’s about God.”

She courageously and selflessly said she is secure in the grace and forgiveness of God and in the relationship  we have today.  She said “People need to hear what God has taught us to help those that may be in the same position right now.”

She’s right. People need to know how to reconcile relationships—it is through the power of Jesus Christ (John 15:5)!

God is not done with this story for His glory…In the near future my Mother is moving closer to my sisters and I so that she can spend more time with us and her grandchildren.

Do you see? If God can restore what the locusts have eaten, don’t you believe He can restore anything?

God is interested in reconciliation of relationships. God wants to be reconciled with everyone, and wants us to be reconciled to one another. Who do you need to be reconciled with today? Is it God or is it another? I have prayed for all who will read this…May the Holy Spirit guide you into all Truth and may you be set free!

A Blessed Mother - Page 001


A Stone Of Remembrance Never Collected…Until Now

“Then you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.” John 8:32

 

This is a letter {stone of remembrance} to my 16-year old self:

Hey you, beautiful young lady—yes I called you beautiful.  I see you. I see you hiding in the family pantry contemplating death.  I see the wounds you cover up with anger, jealousy, hatred fueled by insecurities and perfectionism.  I see your sadness and perpetual feeling of loss from a broken home, not having your mama to raise you. I see your tear stained pillow. I weep with you right now.

My heart groans for your sadness and hurt and how you numb yourself and put on masks trying to be all you can be for everyone. There are so many truths I want to share with you but I only have time for a few:

  • Stop comparing yourself to others. You know that one girl that you have compared yourself since sixth grade? You know who I’m talking about—you say, ‘she’s everything I am not.’ Stop comparing…you will find out later at graduation day she signs your yearbook saying how much she admires you! Run your own race sweetheart—one day you will learn to keep your eyes fixed on Someone else.
  • Stop letting your insecurities keep you from loving others. See yourself and others as God sees you; God has gifted each of us differently, celebrate the differences don’t envy others or wish yourself away—someday you will be free to enjoy the Butterflies!
  • Stop trying to please others and force friendships. Don’t you feel like you’re trying too hard? It only makes you feel rejected and lost when they don’t respond to your friendly smile or notes.  God wants you to have friendships too—one day you will learn ‘The Gift and Purpose of Friendship’!
  • Stop being distracted by the things of this world. Yes, it’s difficult to be a United States Marine Corps  ‘base kid’ in a school full of students with wealthy two parent homes. That is one of the reasons you end up throwing yourself into making money…and you do make over $100K before you turn 34 but one day you fall in love and follow Someone very special exchanging worldly rags for glorious riches!
  • Keep Writing! You have written journals and stories since you were eight years old—don’t stop I enjoy reading them and seeing how God has transformed and made a redeemed life beautiful—I call them stones of remembrances.
  • Don’t live in fear. I know the near fatal accident of your Daddy when you were five left you living in fear of losing someone you love.  I know how you keep a distance from people because you know they will someday leave but sweetie, just let go and love without fear because God will give you the grace to go through any loss.
  • It is not OK. You learn some hard lessons at an early age. You are trapped by lies and insecurities and allow the first boy that showed attention to you take sacredness from you.  He berates and hits you eliminating any confidence you have. My heart hurts to remember this. He has hurt you real bad and you are like a worn timid puppy thinking there is nothing better than this—he tells you that but don’t believe his lies. It will hurt to leave but you must, and you do. You will see God helps you, though you don’t see it that way…at first. You do end up marrying a wonderful man and learn the true purpose of marriage.
  • Forgive. There is a lot you are holding in your fragile heart poisoning your heart, darkening it, you must forgive. In time, and with Someone’s help, you will.
  • God is real and He still speaks! You have heard about God and it is evident all around you. You finished your catechism, made your first holy communion when you were eight but this moment you are unsure.  You don’t believe there is a God–though inside you wonder if you could be wrong, especially after meeting several ‘different’ teenagers that seem to radiate a Light. But, right now your heart is so hardened and you think if God does exist He really wouldn’t want a worn out sinful teen as yourself—you’ve already messed up in so many ways.  But God does want you.  He’s drawing you right now.  All those people He’s sent into your life telling you the greatness of Who He is—but  you run the other way.  You make fun of these Christians. But He’s still with you. He’s with you right now. In three years you begin to seek Him hesitantly and in your own terms.
  • Don’t just wear the cross around your neck bear your own.

The ultimate Truth is you can’t do anything of these things on your own.  In fact it’s not what you know but Who you know that will heal you.

You need a Savior, you need Jesus Christ. Bring your brokenness to Jesus Christ. Sweetie, I know you make fun of Jesus lovers right now but you become one in seventeen years, and it’s the best decision you ever make. You will learn apart from Jesus Christ you can do nothing.  You will learn to know God the Father and Jesus Christ IS eternal life.  You will learn God’s Spirit must come BEFORE you can produce eternal fruit. You only need to believe on the Lord Jesus, turn from your sins and turn to Him and you will be saved. You cannot earn this GIFT of salvation, it is grace.

I know you are still reeling from receiving that Scholarship from Horatio Alger Association.  I also know deep down inside you feel they made a mistake.  You feel unworthy.  Especially after they flew you to Washington D.C. and you met all of those beautiful intelligent students from across the States—I hear your words, ‘Surely, they made a mistake.’ But they did not. “The lot may be cast into the lap but EVERY DECISION IS FROM THE LORD.” This was another gift of grace from the One that created you.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom!” 2 Corinthians 3:17

But still you will spend many years trying to prove to others you deserved that scholarship.  Just like you will spend so many years trying to clean up and ‘be good’ to prove you deserve salvation—but the truth is, you don’t deserve the gift of salvation, none of us do.  We all deserve death, but Love came down—God incarnate, Jesus Christ came down and walked among us and died on the cross making the final sacrifice for the sins of everyone—the FINAL sacrifice. It is finished.

Aren’t you tired of trying? Draw near to God through Jesus Christ and you will taste and see the Lord is good and you will see how all this time God has been with you.  I know you want to do great things and before you were encouraged to make an ‘investment in America’s future’ but you will do even greater things…you will make an investment in God’s kingdom as you teach your children and sow God’s Word to those around you through your life of worship.

*One more thing…do you remember when your English teacher Mrs. Judi Conroy said, ‘Arcelia, you are beautiful, you are like an enclosed flower that is having a hard time growing but one day Someone would lift it and you will blossom.” Well, that Someone is Jesus Christ! You are free sweet one, your faith has healed you—now go and tell others!

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This letter was inspired by Emily P.Freeman’s invitation to write a letter to my teenage self, in celebration of the release of her new book, Graceful, for teenage girls.

What would you say to yourself, as a teenager? This was very revealing and encouraging for me to write. I encourage you to do the same–even if you don’t share it with anyone else 😉


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