Forgiving Mother

>> Sunday, May 8, 2011

I had come a long way on my journey to wholeness. Therefore, I felt ready to help others on their journey. When I had a chance to attend an Inner Healing workshop I thought it would be a good opportunity to watch how the speaker reached out to hurting people in the audience. I would listen and learn and soon be giving my own workshops.

The session was scheduled for an hour. I took a seat in the back of the room so I could observe not only the speaker, but the participants. She began by talking about the different kinds of hurts we can have. So far so good. I could do that.

She had us close our eyes. I thought the closing of the eyes was a little hokey, but I did it. She drew us deeper and deeper within ourselves, drawing mental pictures of the ropes that bound us … cutting into our flesh and causing bleeding.

I knew I could never lead a session like this. This kind of stuff just didn’t work. Then we were told to create in our minds the image of the person who had hurt us.

“Don’t open your eyes. But in your mind, I want you to turn around and see who has you bound.”

I knew it wouldn’t be my ex-husband or his mother. I had that covered. As I mentally turned around, imagine my surprise to see my mother standing there; holding the ends of some ropes in her hands … ropes that had me bound and bleeding.

This could not be. I had no problem with my mother. Or did I?

Images flooded my mind … the dam burst and the deluge began. Memory after memory of mother washed over me. The day she told me … when I was only 15 … that I was to marry the preacher’s son. I felt that jolt in my insides again. Married? But I had no choice. She was in charge. She was always stern and judgmental, telling me what I was doing wrong. Vivid memories. Painful ones. Telling me repeatedly I was a mistake. She never touched me … never told me she loved me. The memories just kept coming.

Somehow I got out of that room and found a spot away from the crowd. I felt beaten and bruised. My mother!

I hadn’t arrived at all. I was just beginning … again.

Every where I turned, something reminded me of mother and her unyielding position of control and judgment. I was afraid to open my mouth. It might be mother talking.

Recovering from my new insights took many months. Two steps forward and one step back … and then sliding all the way to the bottom to start over. The thought resounded in my head … my mother.

Forgiveness is a strange process. There are many definitions of forgiveness. The one I heard the most was, “Forgive and forget”. Yet, how could I just forget the first 30 years of my life?

I envisioned traveling back to Kansas to confront my mother. The more I thought about it the more I knew it just wouldn’t work. She was in her 70’s. She had no idea she needed forgiveness. I would have to do it another way.

As each memory swept through, I consciously chose to forgive. Some memories returned again and again. I still chose to forgive. Over the weeks and months, I made the choice to forgive repeatedly.

When my sister passed away, I traveled to Kansas to the funeral. I put an extra day in … a day to visit with my mother. We laughed together as we had some ice cream. I even spent the night at the home where she was living. We talked late into the night. For the first time in my life, I had an adult conversation with my mother … one where I felt equal.

I hugged and kissed her when it was time to leave. She had no idea the journey I had taken to be able to do that … and mean it. That was the last time I saw her. When she died, I had no guilt, no regrets. I had forgiven.

“Don't hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you've got it in you, get along with everybody. Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God. "I'll take care of it." Roman 12:17-19 (MSG)


opramum May 8, 2011 at 9:31 AM  

Wow, how powerful. I'm so happy you have found peace about that relationship. I love this translation of this passage, it explains how I've dealt with some hurts in a way that the world doesn't understand.

Joy Bach May 8, 2011 at 5:41 PM  

Yes, peace is a wonderful thing. There was no way to go back and fix anything, so I might as well let go. Thanks for your comments.

Marijo (Mary Jo) Phelps May 9, 2011 at 7:37 AM  

I experienced something similar - when getting training in Youth With a Mission our leaders asked us to pray and ask God what our area of greatest need was - I was flabbergasted when I thought the Holy Spirit said "forgive your mother". I told God I always thought I had a great relationship with mom and if this was him to please give me details. I wrote and wrote over a page of things that I needed to lay at the foot of the cross.... regarding mom! Amazing and cleansing and I forgave her - this little captive was once again set free by her Lord - this time in an area I had been blinded about also.

Joy Bach May 9, 2011 at 7:59 AM  

Good for you. Yes, it's amazing when we open ourselves to the searchlight just exactly what we find. Have a great day.

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