Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Mother--This starts painful, but finish it, the ending is great

Beautiful Redemption

My relationship with my mother, though wonderful now,did not start out very good and was rocky for a very, very long time. When I was a child, she was clinically depressed. She slept for what seems like most of my child hood. We grew up in a house that was indescribably messy and often times filthy. My Mom has said that CPS probably would have taken us out of the home if they had ever come in and looked. She allowed a lot of really terrible things to happen to me and my brother. We were very angry as we grew up. I can say for myself, I wasn't even aware of what I was angry about. I just knew that I despised her. She was not one to hold us, hug us or anything until we were much older. As she tells it, she used to leave me in my crib with a bowl of cereal and sippy cup. I think my aversion to physical contact is tied to that. I read one time that babies and toddlers are developing nerve endings and if they don't get stimulated in certain ways the nerves relating to that stimulation don't develop properly. That would explain why sometimes being touched is painful to me and why I have a definite bubble. I have been known to react in a pretty unreasonable way to violation of the bubble. Needless to say, I think I was probably pretty justified in being angry. I started doing drugs, cutting myself and attempting suicide by the age of 13.

In her defense, she really did the very best she could with the equipment she had. She had been terribly abused and neglected as a child. The only way she knew to deal with the pain of her childhood was denial to the point of actually dividing herself into different people. The unfortunate side effect of her denial was that she could not see that her abuser and others were victimizing her children. Those years were dark to us all.

On the other hand, all of my childhood memories of her are not bad. I have some pretty distinct good memories. I remember one Christmas she made all this Barbie jewelry for me by stringing beads. This was not an easy feat b/c she is blind as a bat. I remember hunting for Easter Eggs. I remember her buying us an Atari. I remember her buying us doughnuts for breakfast on Friday mornings. There were these giant chocolate doughnuts as big as my head (as I remember it). I also remember her being told that my brother was a hopeless case and a sociopath (one without a conscience). They told her to just sign him over to the state b/c he would spend his whole life in prison. She refused to do that. Today we are all grateful b/c he is okay, and such would not be the case had she abandoned him. Believe me, it would have been easier. He was totally out of control. Burning things down, turning the car off while we drove down the highway, terrorizing the whole neighborhood. It took a lot for her to keep us together. We were both pretty horrible children at different times.

She also gave me some really great traits. She raised me to be very independent and to take care of myself. Now my independence has had to be tempered and still needs more tempering. Thankfully, God is busy working on that. But I am not someone who is easy to knock down; I am not a whiner, nor am I really needy. That is something she helped develop in me. I have seen my mother move a couch up a flight of stairs by herself. She kept clear of relationships when she realized that she was not capable of attracting healthy men. We may have grown up without father figures, but we also grew up without added abusers and pain inflicted from boyfriends and step dads coming and going.

Our family was incomprehensibly broken and devastated when we met Jesus. My mother was the first one to come to Jesus. After being in hospital after hospital, we finally came to one that had the insight that if they got my mother put back together then it would be easier to put me and my brother back together. After she got onto the path of healing, she would endure a few more years of dealing with us before we would come in. She prayed for us faithfully.

My mother told me in a recent conversation that her biggest fear used to be that I would just leave and never talk to her again. I have to say there was a time when I wanted nothing more than that. There was years even after I got saved that I felt so much hatred for her and wanted to just separate myself from her and my brother.
Thankfully, God did not allow that to happen. It has been a long, slow process, but God has done an amazing, miraculous work in our family.

My mother has lived with us for the last 5 years; for that I am grateful. There has been so much healing, restoration and redemption. We are so much closer than we used to be. I am not saying that things don't get a little ugly every once in a while. We scream sometimes, but there is less screaming and much more communication. We have learned to talk about things and be gracious to one another. We have learned to accept one another for who each of us is and where each of us happens to be.

God has redeemed so much of what my mother lost through my family. Before my husband and I were married, me and my two older children lived with my mother. She allowed me to be a stay at home mom and raise my children in a way that she was never able to do for me and my brother. There was even a point that she worked full time and went to school full time while I stayed home with the kids. God allowed her to give to her grandchildren what she was not able to give to us. She is also responsible, along with God, for allowing me to give birth to the first generation in our family of Christians. My children were born into a home what worshiped God rather than Satan (literally). She has been so so so good to us in the years since Jesus arrested her heart. There is nothing she would not do for me, my brother, my children and my husband. She would give her life for us; she would give her hands and feet if she thought it would make our lives better. God has healed her heart so much by watching my children grow up. She adores my husband and he adores her. She has been known to work 12 or even 14 hours a day to make money to help with bills are to have money for some one's birthday. She adores her grandchildren and they adore her. No one in our family could ever imagine her not living with us. And we really never intend on letting her move out. What an amazing blessing it is that my children only have to walk upstairs to hug their grandma. I cannot imagine not seeing my mother every day. I know that being close and seeing each other every day will make losing her so much harder. I know that the day will come the Jesus will call her home, so I have to treasure each moment we have. We lost a lot of moments early in live so we try to make up for that now. Man have we made some great memories. We have laughed together; we have cried together. My mother is my biggest fan. She is the loudest cheerleader I have. She supports everything I do and tells every one who will listen about the things I do and how proud of me she is. I was listening to a friend talk recently about losing her mother. She said she had no idea how hard it would be and there had not been tons of communication b/c her mother had had alzhiemers. That is when it hit me how blessed I have been with my relationship with my mother and how imaginably painful it will be when I had to lose her. I won't let the thought of that pain cause me to draw away from her though. I will continue to know her better and let God draw us closer. He will deal with the pain when and if that happens. I will NEVER run away and leave her now. She need not fear that. She is treasure to me. She is such an important part of our family. I love her with all my heart. She is amazing. I know that she does not have to make up for her past mistakes, but if we were comparing on a scale, the good so far outweighs the bad. She has made up for it all a million times over. As great as things are now, I know thatGod has only scratched the surface of what He wants to do.

Don't ever think that any person or any situation is beyond redemption. It is hard to describe so that you can understand, but our family was broken beyond any earthly hope of restoration. Think of us like a vase. Take the vase smash it, now roll over it with a bulldozer. Then take a tornado and blow on the dust that is left until is scatters to the four corners of the earth. There is more hope of you finding the pieces of that vase and putting it back together than there was hope for our family. The things we endured and the things that we did to each other cannot even be spoken of in most circles. But God is Good. He is able to do the impossible. He always has an amazing plan and it always involves turning what the enemy meant for our harm around for our good. We will be closer, stronger and filled with more love and dedication to one another than we ever would have been if we had "been normal".

I have news for you, too, mom; all that creativity, beauty and talent inside me came from you. So it is there in you. You just have to let God excavate it. My intelligence came from you too. You may have had your identity stolen from you so that it has been missing your whole life, but God is at work and He is bigger than any loss, and bigger than the enemy who stole who you are. He's giving it back to you. Keep fighting for your heart.

We have had some of the most amazing adventures. One of the funniest ones, I have to share. We have laughed and laughed over this. Anyone who went to the church I got saved in will find this extremely humorous b/c you have probably never heard this story. In the early years, I was on food stamps and medicaid with the children. My mom's money paid the bills and we ate on the food stamps. If I remember correctly our family of 4 survived on 288 dollars worth of food stamps and WIC. We ate meat, maybe one time a week. We lived on mac n cheese, ramen noodles, fish sticks, beans, and stuff like that; also it was always the off brands. The church was doing a food drive and we wanted to give to it. We cleaned the church on the weekends so we had a key to the church. We took half of our food stamps for the month and went shopping. We really thought about what we wanted to buy too. We went in with the mindset of "what do poor people never get to eat?" We bought real brands; we bought a bunch of meat; we had so much fun shopping for the poor people that we didn't even think about the fact that we weren't going to have much to eat for that month. We really didn't care. We were just so excited to give. We didn't want anyone to know what we had done,so we snuck in the church really late and put all the stuff in the box and put the meat in the freezer; we left a note in the box so they would know that there was also meat in the freezer. So Christmas Eve comes and we hear a knock on our door. They brought all the food to us. We were the poor people. Of course, we didn't tell them what we had done. We were actually pretty mad at God for a minute. "We gave that for the poor people." I guess we didn't see ourselves as the poor people. We were definitely pretty poor. After the initial irritation at God for giving our gift back to us, we were really grateful and we ate really, really good that month. Every year at Christmas we tell that story and laugh historically. We have come a long way. We do pretty well financially, now. We have that memory together, though. It's a great memory that makes us crack up every year even 14 or 15 years later. That is not only one. We have many many more. And we will makes many more.



  1. I think it was actually $188 in food stamps. I can't really remember now.

  2. I really enjoyed reading this, and the story about the food is hilarious! I can so see that happening. :)