First, this is a prayer for those for whom Mother’s Day is not the easiest day. For those who never knew their birth mother, whose mother has passed, whose mother abandoned them either physically or emotionally, whose differences have caused a rift in the relationship—or for those who were almost mothers or are trying to be mothers or who wonder if they’ll ever be a mother one day because the clock is ticking.
This prayer is for all of you.
I was recently invited to review a book called Mended: Restoring the Hearts of Mothers and Daughters, written by mother-and-daughter team Helen McIntosh and Blythe Daniel. It appealed to me because my mother relationship has always been a bit complicated. In my growing-up years, my dad got most of the Mother’s Day sentiments because my mom wasn’t often there physically or emotionally. He had sole custody, and my mother’s mental illness led to sporadic visits, sporadic times in our lives, and sporadic moves out of our lives. It was not yet a time when people knew much about mental illness or how to treat it. So I grew up with confusion and a gap in my core from my mother coming in and out of my life at random.
I share all this to say that many of us have complicated histories with our mothers, and I think this book is for everyone who does. Basically, anyone who is a daughter or a mother would benefit from reading this book.
In my case, I have been blessed with a renewed relationship with my mother as an adult. She has been steady for a few years now, and we have a sweet relationship in which we live states away but talk on the phone fairly regularly. When I come home for a visit, I can stay with her in her apartment. And we drink coffee and relax. It strikes me sometimes, though, that I barely know anything about her or her greater family, and thus half my family of origin.
In some ways, I haven’t hoped for much more than what I have in this relationship: a peaceful, steady presence. And I have mostly accepted my mom’s limitations, though sometimes I wish things were a little different.
My biggest takeaway from Mended is to not be afraid to dream and pray bigger for this relationship. I think sometimes we’re afraid to ask for good things because we don’t want to open our hearts or get disappointed.
This can apply to other relationships as well. This is different from expectations and conditions placed upon a person, but a dream of a richness and fullness for a relationship.
“As a first step, we invite you to acknowledge that you want a different future. Don’t focus on how yet. Just tell God you want to make things better between you and you need His power to do so.
He has done that for our family and the generations represented in our family. And we know He can do that for you as you trust Him even with a small seed of faith. It’s not up to us to fix a person—only Jesus Christ can do that. But we can move toward restoring what’s been lost because He specializes in that for us and will give us what we need to do this well.
And we invite you to dream with us about what your relationship can be restored to and how this will impact your family and generations to come” (22–23).
All in all: “What is the new thing you would like to see God do in your relationship?” (34)
What’s cool about Mended is that not only does it give you practical tips on working through mother/daughter differences, listening, connecting, healing, and forgiving, the end of each chapter also includes tangible ways we can apply these ideas to our own lives in “Making It Personal.” And many are fun and crafty.
“We’d like you to either paint, scrapbook, or craft something that could show a phrase you want to adopt for yourself … What is the phrase you want to place as a mantle over your relationship? … Use this as an opportunity to tap into your creativity to make something that will be a reminder to you of what you are investing in and, each time you see it, will say to you, My investment is worth it” (34–35).
If your mother is still on this earth, what are your dreams for this relationship? What do you share in common? How are you similar? What do you want to learn about her? About your family? In what ways do you need to forgive her?
God’s Word says we can come to His throne with confidence. If this subject is difficult for you, He will help you through. (Honestly, writing this blog post has been emotional and hard for me, but I feel some of this is the enemy’s resistance to my moving forward in another level of relationship with my mom. Know that this resistance is not permanent, and God will give you—and me—the strength to walk out healing in this relationship, even if your mother has passed or boundaries have had to be placed.)
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
—Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)
For I am the Lord your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.
—Isaiah 41:13 (NIV)
For those with complicated mother/daughter relationships or pain in this area, I’m sending love and hugs to you today. I’m praying you feel God’s comfort this weekend. For those of you whose mother has passed or can’t be in your life (for true reasons of physical or mental safety), I’m praying that He brings you spiritual mothers to help fill that gap. And I’m praying that God reveals to you the beauty of being a daughter (or a son, for any guys reading this). Because you will always be His child. And I know from personal experience, He will let you know how special you are to Him at moments you are feeling abandoned, sad, or less worthy. And He is patient as you learn to trust in Him and His steadfast love.
Prayers and love to each of you!
Free Book! I’ll be giving away a copy of Mended. To enter, share this post and then let me know in the comments section where you shared it. All shares and comments must be received by midnight EST Sunday May 19, 2019. The giveaway will be on Monday May 20.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
—Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)