Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mother's Day

Years ago when Mother's day would come around I hated going down the isles trying to find the perfect Mother's Day card. I actually dreaded it. My mom & I weren't close and it always seemed like the cards were very sentimental. I loved receiving gifts and spending time with my children, however, it is because of them I am a Mother. I am blessed to have three beautiful children.
My Mother passed away four years ago and how I wished I could turn back the time!
I was grateful that my grandmother  adopted us. But the sense of belonging was so deep that our relationship could never make up for it and I had wounds that left behind scars. I look back and wish how our relationship would have been restored much sooner but that isn't the case. I am thankful that we were able to restore and forgive each other before her passing.
I never believed I would miss her so much. I see other mother/daughter relationships and so desire to have a mother. All I can do is pray the my own daughter and I will have a bonding, lasting relationship. My hearts desire is to leave a legacy of not only Christ love but the importance of a relationship. It's hard to know what that even looks like when I have not had much of a model in my life.
My mother did sacrifice for us as she adopted my siblings and I.  She actually was my grandmother, who had 8 of her own biological children and took on the responsibility of 3 of her grandchildren. She loved us but she was so paralyzed with fear and anxiety which is how she ended up parenting. But I don't choose to focus on the negatives of our relationship but that of the positive.
If it weren't for her I would not have been able to finish high school since I had my son while in high school. For that I am so thankful.
If it weren't for her I would not have been raised in church, creating a foundation for my faith. For that I am so thankful.
When we went into ministry, I knew it was difficult for us not to mention our family as we had to leave behind everyone and everything we knew... We had been gone about 2.5 years when my mom & I started phone conversations. She wanted to start sending us support checks but I didn't want her to because she only lived off of social security and she was very sick and needed lots of medicine. She insisted and she shared something with me I had never known. She said she admired us for being obedient to the Lord, that she always wanted to be a missionary but 11 kids later it wasn't in her cards. For that she wanted to support us. I got off the phone and wept! I wept that I was admired by her, I had never been told that. I wept because she failed to see her own ministry that she truly didn't see her worth. I wept because I wanted to be like a little child and just be embraced in a mother's arms but wouldn't have the opportunity to do so.
When we received her first support check it was only $50.00 but it meant more to me than any amount of money because I knew it was a true sacrifice for her! I held onto that check for awhile because I truly didn't want her to sacrifice like that, but it blessed her for us to receive it and for that reason we used her money the best we could!
As our phone conversations escalated into monthly calls I started to expect those calls. Most times than not I would end up crying. I longed to have been told some of the things she told me over these phone calls. I never could respond back which is a regret I have. 
When I got the call that she had a stroke it was during the summer, during the busiest time at summer camp, we were working 14 hours a day. It is near impossible to leave much less the entire family since we all had different responsibilities. My heart was torn but in the end I knew I needed to go home.  I am so thankful for a camp family that steps up and covers 5 positions for a week so that we could go home! She was on life support and we didn't know how long we would have. We were on the road within an hour of the phone call to begin the 15 hour trip back home. We drove through the night and I begged that I would have a chance to express how I felt and to tell my mom I had forgiven her.
Nothing could prepare me for the moment I walked in the hospital room and she was still fighting. I barely could breath how was I going to express how I felt with the whole family standing around and she still fighting?  After mom was pulled from life support she continued to fight so we all agreed it would be best to bring her home so she could pass peacefully in her own home. Because of that we were all given private moments with her. I'm sure each of the siblings have their own story with her;  but when I had my moment and I expressed my feelings I looked at my mom and she had a tear streaming down her face. In the moment reconciliation was made.. peace was restored.. and grace was given.. and for that I am thankful.
So this Mother's Day I am thankful. I am thankful for my children and that I am a mother, but I also am thankful that my Mother did love me and that we had a few phone call conversations & a private  moment before she passed that I will always cherish in my heart!
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            Happy Mother Day Mom
I know you are celebrating. I know you are sitting at the feet of Jesus. I know you are not paralyzed with fear no more. I know you do not live with anxiety no more. I know that you are no longer in pain. I know you are holding my two children I never got to meet and loving them so. I know that in the end you persevered so you received the crown of life that was promised to you.. because you Loved God... I know he called you to be a mother, grandmother and great grandmother and for that.............            I am thankful!!!

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I copied and pasted the blog I wrote 4 years ago a few days after mom had passed.....

When I first got the call last Wednesday that my mom was not doing well, my first reaction was "here we go again" My mom has had like 9 lives and she has always been a fighter; in more ways then one!!
My mom and I's relationship has been estranged for so many years.  When Our family moved to Nebraska she tried to accept it by offering us financial support! It wasn't much but it was a HUGE blessing for us. It was her way of saying she approved of what we were doing. I had often wandered why? Much of my life it never seemed as if she approved of anything I did. In fact, Mom had a difficult time expressing emotions towards her children; often times then not it would come across in a negative manner.  She was so afraid of rejection and being hurt that she ended up hurting us to protect her own heart.
The last three phone conversations we had had left me pretty choked up.  She knew she wasn't doing well and in some way lost her will to live.  She had expressed to me the pain of being lonely.  She said it was more than she could bear, far worse then all the pain and suffering she had endured.  I, myself, have experienced the pain of loneliness and it is miserable.
I desperately pleaded with her to open up to me so that I could learn the person she truly was.  My whole life I sought out the attention and approval of my mother. I grew up expecting perfect relationships because of the "lack thereof" between my mom and I.  It wasn't until I went to counseling a couple of years ago that I realized I was repeating the same behaviors and habits of my own mom, in that I was parenting out of fear and anxiety. When  you parent out of fear and anxiety you use your own power, strength, energy and resources.  I remember the counselor saying that If I didn't change this Unrealistic fantasy of having the "perfect relationship" than I would be the one to RUIN the relationship. It was like a slap in the face.  All I ever wanted was for people to love me, accept me and like me for who I was, but I didn't even know who I was.  I can't believe how much like my mom I really was.  When I heard my mom say these words to me a few weeks ago... I was overcome with emotions. She never knew who she really was and never took the time to learn. Because of that she pushed us away and refused to allow us to see who she really was. 
During one of these conversations my mom revealed three things to me that I never knew...
ONE... She was afraid of rejection! (okay I knew this one, but to HEAR her say it was reality and actually felt extremely bad for my mother) I think we all are to some degree.  Hearing her say this was like a light bulb had went off... It put everything that she had done in perspective for me.  She herself was raised in an environment where dysfunction was fostered.  The very thing that she was afraid of was the very thing that happened to her time and time again.... In the past, Instead of trying to get closer to her I took on the victim role and justified my behaviors with excuses.  I struggled to feel accepted, & loved because I was never treated as an individual. Rarely was I told "I love YOU" and often times than not our conversations ended in screaming and yelling. I grew up believing that I caused her grieve and heartache!!
The SECOND thing that was revealed to me was this..... That I was LOVED!!! When my mom told me she really did LOVE me.. I broke down and wept.  I couldn't finish the conversation so I told my mom I was busy and had to go.... Hearing those words that I had LONGED for so many times as a child made me feel like a child in that very moment... Hearing my mom vulnerable, when it went against everything she believed.  She believed that in order to be strong you couldn't show your emotions... For many years I was like that.  I would never allow someone to see inside of me, to see my hurts, pains, sufferings as that would mean I was a weak person.. But I learned that a very strong person reveals his weaknesses.   It is in our weakness that Christ, himself is STRONG.....
The THIRD thing she told me in our conversations is that the reason she supported our decision to move away is because she had a deep desire and passion to be a missionary.  She was always afraid to take the risk and admired that fact that we choose to overcome the risks.  She admired the man of God Mike has become and couldn't think of any where else to spend her $50.00 dollars on!!
I so desperately wanted the opportunity to talk with my mom.  I thought I had TIME.. as she had proven time and time again that I should have.  Last May when we went home I really had hoped for the chance to talk with her in person but I ended up not having the courage to do it.
When I got the phone call last week, I knew I was up against TIME... She has suffered with so many different "ailments"..  IT was a COMPLETE shock to learn that she had a cerebral hemorrhage and they were life flighting her to a hospital with a neo surgeon.  As my sisters started calling me one by one and then the family pastor I knew it was bad.  When the family had gotten to the hospital the doctors had explained that the hemorrhage was so massive that a 45 year old in excellent health would never have survived it, and that they were unable to do surgery.  They had asked if they could keep her on a ventilator until we could get there. When my family told our mom that she needed to fight until we could get there she had a tear stream down her eye! That tear represented an unspoken love that built a bridge over the troubled waters.
We drove through the night; the 14.5 hour drive was very long and grueling.  We made it to the hospital around 1:00 in the afternoon the next day. Mom was in a coma but knew I was there as she twitched her eye after I spoke of each family member.
The next few days was emotionally draining as she once again fought for what SHE wanted.  For the first time in her life her selfishness paid off.  She had wanted to die in the peace and comfort of her home; not to mentioned lavish all the quality time her entire family was spending with her and together!
I had to say GOODBYE to a woman who has taught me so many things.
She taught me what it meant to have FAITH
She taught me what it meant to FORGIVE and to BE FORGIVEN
She taught me to rely on the strength of the LORD and to lay down my fears and anxieties so that I will KNOW who I am in Christ JESUS
She taught me that even though it was difficult for her to say the words that she SO DESPERATELY longed to hear in her lifetime she overcame and did it because she KNEW it would mean the WORLD to me
She taught me the meaning of SACRIFICE
She taught me the meaning of SERVICE
She taught me to stop looking at other people and wishing and wanting what they have.... Despite her feeling as if she failed in the missionary department; she may not have went overseas but she raised 11 kids, had 20 grandkids and 9 great grandchildren. She may not have went overseas but she had her own battle field to overcome.  She gave the food off her plate, she spent countless of hours serving in areas or child rearing, sewing, cooking etc. etc. Her door was always open to people she knew and people she didn't know.
She taught me to always say I LOVE YOU because you can not assume those you love KNOW you do
She taught me to accept the life I had because it has made me who I am today
 
 
Mom lived a life full of hardships, pain & suffering... But in the end she knew that one day she would stand before her Maker; and dance before the LORD as she heard him say
 


        "You have fought the good fight, You have finished the race, You have kept the faith"


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